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mchlclark
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After studying the four pillars of singing,  I was watching Nirvana unplugged, and noticed that for over 90 percent of Kurt Cobains performance, his embouchure was almost completely closed. Yet he still manages to perform, and produce a sound that is entertaining, and to my ears quite good. Even during his distortion, which he is most known for, he doesn't seem to be straining much at all, and his embouchure is still just open. So I guess my question is... is it really necessary to always use a full horizontal, or vertical Embouchure? Or as with the vowel modification, should the embouchure also be experimented with?

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Embouchure is important to me for this reason.

 

As a begginer it makes singing easier. High notes are easier to perform. But if i am ever able to sing b4 or c5 with whatever embouchure i want, ill do just that. I also dont like openness but it does have its benefits.

So i say use it until you dont need it

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The better you get the less you need to "work" with your embouchure. However, depending on the tone and intensity you want to use you still need to use it, especially in the very high range.

In my opinion the absolute main job of the "bite", which is the main part of the emouchure shape is to keep the soft palate under control. The soft palate will be your main enemy if you go for metallic singing (which is basically everything except for female classical singing and countertenor singing).

The problem is that there is a big natural urge to lift the soft palate when going for the high range or for very loud volumes. But lifting the soft palate removes the twang from your voice (because twang is produced by the back of the tongue being close to the soft palate). When it lifts too much you have to use lots and lots of air pressure to get the full fold closure and counter the loss of twang.

The "bite" tenses the hard palate, which is kind of a "trick" to keep the soft palate down. The rule is: The further back you place your tongue (the higher your F1), the more you have to bite. When your tongue is placed very backward you need to show most teeth (horizontal bite), when your tongue is placed forward (lower F1, early bridging position), you need less bite.

When you get better with your singing you can learn to keep the palate down with the muscles in the back of your mouth which will enable you to not use the bite in the low and middle range. In the high range you will probably still need it. Also, getting better with your support will allow you to sing with less twang and a higher palate, which also means less bite needed.

You can train to keep the palate low without using the embouchure by singing vowels with your mouth completely relaxed in a very monotonous voice (singing "like a robot"). Go through all vowels with that, especially the OO vowel has a big tendency for a lifted soft palate, which is also the reason why OO is hard to be sung with a metallic voice.

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After studying the four pillars of singing,  I was watching Nirvana unplugged, and noticed that for over 90 percent of Kurt Cobains performance, his embouchure was almost completely closed. Yet he still manages to perform, and produce a sound that is entertaining, and to my ears quite good. Even during his distortion, which he is most known for, he doesn't seem to be straining much at all, and his embouchure is still just open. So I guess my question is... is it really necessary to always use a full horizontal, or vertical Embouchure? Or as with the vowel modification, should the embouchure also be experimented with?

Welcome to the TMV World forum and it is also great to have you as a client of "The Four Pillars of Singing".

I now realize you are the fella that sent me an email on Google about your new training space you are practicing in... thats great!

These guys have a lot of experience and many of them also have "4Pillars" so they now the "talk-track" and can help you. It is good that you came here to get some feedback. 

How long have you had "4Pillars"? I just want an idea as to what level of content you have currently... what version?

Review the information in the book regarding the benefits of a horizontal embouchure and understand that "horizontal embouchure , "throat shaping vowels", "narrowing the vocal tract" are all ideas that are related to the same thing...  placing the embouchure in a more compressed position, helps the body to do the following:

- Lowers the acoustic mass immediately. It helps stop the pushing and constricting.... so that your acoustics can get back into alignment.

- It amplifies the voice more... being able to "bounce" the sound waves off the forward hard palette (Benny's point...), also amplifies the sound and makes you louder. The hard palette resonation also has the benefit of more sound color from the hard palette with is helpful for sounding more belty or mouthy on high notes, instead of more heady.

- ... forward resonant positions like this are further enhanced with "Edging" vowels... forward resonant vowels we discuss in the TVS Acoustic Mode method for sorting our the vowels... therefore,... = Horizontal embouchure = better Edging.

- Lifting the upper lip to expose the canines or "bite" is MISSION CRITICAL... on 90% of anything you are going to sing. If you don't get into the habit of doing this, ... all kinds of problems will get in your way... a bucket of problems potentially spill out all over the floor... see the book for a list of what they are... ( All this stuff is explained, listed, bulleted, tabled, video'd, demonstrated in "4Pillars"... )

- With a good horizontal embouchure in place... work on "throat shaping" the vowels... tuning to your singing vowels with minimum lower jaw movement and more shaping the vowels intrinsically (inside...), with the tongue and the vocal tract. It is more efficient, makes articulation of the lyrics in the head voice more stable and easier.

and it goes on and on.... 

When I say "horizontal embouchure", make sure that you are not too strict with this horizontal position. I am NOT SUGGESTING THAT YOU "LOCK DOWN" YOUR EMBOUCHURE into positions that are not reasonable or impossible for singing a particular set of lyrics! It is only a "general" orientation...

Some lyrics and pieces of music benefit greatly for it, others only a little bit. There still is a place for a more vertical position in singing for sure... but when they are compared to each other, leaning more towards a horizontal or compressed/hard palette/edging friendly position and leaning away form an open/splatty/sloppy vertical position is preferred.

Welcome... 

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Thank you for your reply Robert. And yes you are thinking of the right person. 

I have finished the lectures and am reading the book for 2nd time. My training is only the foundation building routine, and sometimes sirens after the onsets. 

I fully understand your instructions regarding the Embouchure, and am following them properly. 

My question was something that without your instructions I never would have thought of! Now when I listen to, or watch musicians sing, I have a whole new understanding of what singers are doing and how! I found it interesting the way Kurt Cobain technically sang unplugged. Nearly closed Embouchure, and contrary to rumor, distortion with no visible strain.

 

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I fully understand your instructions regarding the Embouchure, and am following them properly. 

Great!  Having read the book and watched the videos has really helped you to totally grasp what I was saying... You know the TVS "talk-track" and that is really helpful for both of us as I try to help you. It has expanded your understanding of how the singing voice works hasn't it?  lol...

I'm working on proofing and editing new videos / content today coincidentally... new stuff coming...  a LOT of new stuff in just a few weeks.

:moomin:

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Thank you all for your answers. I am satisfied, and understand all your help. My question has been answered. I will train with the Horizontal Embouchure, as I have a small mouth, and had a small problem with my left jaw hinge. A vertical Embouchure is not impossible, but the Horizontal works best for me. And when I get stronger, and have a good Embouchure, and vowel modifcation habits, i will experiment for different sounds. 

Thanks again

Michael 

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Benny's got a great answer. Keep in mind though the soft palate can be raised various amounts. Instead of open and closed, there will be percent and 100 percent open. For each singer the amount they might prefer for it to be raised or lowered might vary per physiology, preference, and even section of the song, what they're singing, and what they're saying. We had a singer here who had a singer who had a strong nasality for awhile, Aravind (I don't see if he made transition to new forum?), and lifting the soft palate was useful.

I'd say as an ultimate goal, you should be able to directly control it as independently of any other components as is possible for a desired sound, if technical control of your voice is your goal. I think of most of the voice like that (pharynx shape, larynx height, etc). I guess the way I use my voice right now is probably closest to an amateur Estill from what I've read methodologies in that eventually each part of the voice l becomes more adjustable and most tricks (vowels, facial expressions) to sing a note are removed. Instead different components tend to be adjusted according expression (what works emotionally, what works mechanically), rather than static magical solution. I didn't have Estill training, but I found a lot of the components through self exploration of my body and singing, so that's why people whoa re formally trained would have a more advanced control. 

But for a beginner that kind of approach is information overload. Trying to put all of those pieces together to shape sound/resonance/placement is almost impossible. It's basically like having a beginner juggler and throwing 15 objects at them. You're already trying to figure out how to sing pitch, time, respiratory stuff, getting vowels under control, etc, you throw that many balls a juggler, they're gonna start dropping balls and even crashing. Stuff might land on their feet, and it might even hurt.

They wouldn't have awareness of muscle memory to work with. Anyway, even if you could think of 15 detailed concepts at the same time, it'd be a very mechanical approach to singing. In reality, even for a trained singer to put more focus on one, the others by default kind of have to go into some kind of sub conscious auto pilot mode. In order to do that you need to be able to get singing ASAP. Getting some of the motions of singing down, muscle memory, pitching, respiration, getting stuff going. At some point, if you get conscious control of various aspects of the voice more individually, you can start to train maneuvers and allowing them to be called into a performance or adjusting certain positions if if a note is unreachable or sounds atrocious or whatever.

Even CVT, with it's kind of magical vowel approach in singing, while it's a nifty way of training voice, for a lot of beginners it's kind of overload. If you can kind of bite, smile, go for it. Get a position that might tackle more than one thing at at time. It can kind of jump start you. When the voices get more coordinated, you'll be able to juggle more, and say an advanced juggler can have a lot more things coordinated separately without having to think about each one very specifically.

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Keep in mind though the soft palate can be raised various amounts.

Yes, exactly, if you keep it too low you will also sound nasal because it opens the velar port. But for a beginner its usually desirable to put the tongue in a very forward position, keep the soft palate low, the hard palate a bit tensed and the mouth open (which is pretty much exactly what the TVS vertical embouchure does). It is even okay to sound a bit nasal as a beginner, definitely better than lifting the palate too much.

Advanced singers can sing with a higher palate and more backward tongue. This is more effortful though. You can also easily sing in falsetto with a high palate (like countertenors do), but this is usually not desired by contemporary singers.

A danger of the bite can be that you put your larynx too high and constrict it. Because of this it is very important for starters too keep a good vertical opening in the mouth (in the area of two fingers wide). You can also slightly press the tongue against the lower front teeth which helps to keep the larynx lower.

There is also a connection to the acoustic modes. Backward resonant vowels have a higher palate, forward resonant vowels have a lower palate.

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Lots of good info in this thread! Mchlclark nice to meet you in the forum. Its so nice to see singers with such a desire to learn their craft. Benny and everyone have posted such solid advice. My 2cents regarding Kurt Cobains vocals relating to your own is this. Always practice proper technique (embouchure, tongue positions etc) this gives you such a solid and efficient vocal apparatus. And, when you are singing songs this gives you a fantastic starting position to sing from. That being said don't be afraid to stray a bit to make the emotion of the vocal come alive or even modify some of these positions. The goal is to have the muscle memory and vocal strength built up (like an athlete) that you have a strong and flexible voice. So, when you are singing songs in a "Kurt" fashion you have the ability to get into that mode but you also have the benefits of a well structured vocal mechanism to sing many types of songs where as if all you did was very closed mouth type singing that would probably limit the types of songs your voice could handle. And then of course if that is the only type of singing you want to do, a strong and flexible voice is still the best path to vocal longevity. :4:

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  • 2 weeks later...

thank you !

 

I understand better now

If you have ever known someone who plays a wind instrument, like a clarinet or oboe, they learn to hold their lips a certain way to allow the reed to vibrate. This position of opening is called embouchre. But here, it is applied to the channel in the body to allow usable tone and volume to come forth.

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OK. I will train with video training and I hope to understand 
regularity force. I do not know anything about this method. 
it is a position of the mouth. but even when a method as this is not trivial . 
very new to me. I never heard of that. thank you for your explanation
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