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Increasing range one semitone at a time

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aravindmadis
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Hi.  
I am able to "hit"(Since Rob hates the word "hit", you can also say reach)  A4 fairly consistently and easily.  But I am not in a position to hold this note steadily without breaking.  I would like to get the ability to hold this note, and gradually increase this to Bb4 and eventually B4.  

How should I approach this?  Should I do belting training?  I think I am in mixed resonance in these notes.  So if I develop the ability to hold until B4, will it automatically enable me to transition into these notes easier than I am doing now.  

For the style of singing that I want to sing, I would like to be able to sing as effortlessly as possible upto B4... 

I think people on this forum have commented on my voice sounding like a tenor.  IS this possible and realistic for me to have a goal like this?  

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Hi Aravind, I think it is totally realistic to have that as a goal, and I may add that, as I think we have similar voice types, you should set the bar a bit higher, let's say E5-F5 (on a few screams). In my experience, as a lazy arse self-taught singer under development, the hardest part is between G4 and Bb4. But of course, it depends on each song, and how you want to sing them. But you know the mantra: it takes time and smart training. Cheers

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Great advice above.  Belting an A4 (for example) or sitting on an A4 in a thicker fold configuration (a goal to have even if you plan to sing light) can be challenging.  I always refer to that chorus in Toto's Africa as a good example of having to sit on the notes. As you go through those lyrics, you have to not only sing the a stream of A4's, but deal with the pressure changes that occur as you move from throat shape to throat shape (vowels). 

You've got to challenge yourself and learn to gradually lean into your voice with diaphramatic support and balance.

It takes time.  A semitone gain of useable, consistent, full voice, singing range is a big achievement.

 

 

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Great advice above.  Belting an A4 (for example) or sitting on an A4 in a thicker fold configuration (a goal to have even if you plan to sing light) can be challenging.  I always refer to that chorus in Toto's Africa as a good example of having to sit on the notes. As you go through those lyrics, you have to not only sing the a stream of A4's, but deal with the pressure changes that occur as you move from throat shape to throat shape (vowels). 

You've got to challenge yourself and learn to gradually lean into your voice with diaphramatic support and balance.

It takes time.  A semitone gain of useable, consistent, full voice, singing range is a big achievement.

 

 

When you say thicker fold configuration, I am assuming that you are referring to belty sound.  How does one train for this?  Perhaps, I will make a recording later and post.  This is really something that bugs me and I want to solve :)

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It's going to depend on how you're doing the vowel. If it is really open vowel on an A4 it will be a lot of work. It depends on your fold closure, and if you tend to sing with thicker folds, it will be more fatiguing.

There is more than one way to sing a full sounding A4. With my voice type, before I knew how to bridge, I could rarely hit a full voiced A4 with pure chest with no singing knowledge at all. I did it with huge amounts of support, but it was very erratic and my favorite vowel was something between 'ah' and 'oh.' After I had brought head voice down and learned bridging some, I could sing it fairly easily but I would peak at A#4 when using distortion.

What seemed to help me the most, was swelling from a soft voice, to a loud voice and back. The process of doing that fixed whatever was occurring between A#4 and above. I kind of lean either way (chestier, headier) throughout the bridge.

It depends on how you want to sing it, I probably could have modified the vowel a bit of that really heavy voice that I used untrained and inched up there and I have occasionally sung this way, with loud shouty M1 vowels, but the closer to a shout you get on those high notes, the more fatiguing and 'effort' it will take. I might be able to use a bit more volume in this newer living situation, using louder vowels again.

But anyway, I would have hit a wall at some point getting a full sounding voice, without vocal knowledge. Which for the kind of singing I intended to do, was fine. Most all of the singers I was inspired by either used something like falsetto on their high notes, or generally did not sing above A4. There were a couple of guys that were more fancy. :P

But if you keep trying to inch upward you will eventually have to bridge, whether it is a bit later or earlier. Later will be chestier (and louder), earlier will be headier (and quieter). You should probably learn how to do both. 

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When you say thicker fold configuration, I am assuming that you are referring to belty sound.  How does one train for this?  Perhaps, I will make a recording later and post.  This is really something that bugs me and I want to solve :)

No, just because you sing with thicker folds doesn't mean you are belting. You need to have dynamics when you sing. You need to be able to sing softly (yet connected) all the way to very loudly, and loudly to very softly. This is somethng that is best addressed with a vocal teacher.

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A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, our very own Bob started a thread of accomplishments. And he reported that he had increased his range by one note. And it was just as valid and noteworthy as someone soaring into the 5th octave or getting a whistle note.

And it did not always have to be about range. It could be any of the technical and non-technical things we encounter in singing.

So, celebrate one more solid, flexible and controllable note than you had before.

Take enough steps and when you look back, you have walked a mile.

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  • 1 month later...

Awesome thread, guys. I like it as I am currently working for the same objective.

My approach on chestier/beltier sounds higher and higher every time  is mostly: Do my exercises everyday, always feeling comfortable ( which doesn't mean easy or effortless... not at all, lol ) and embrace the sound my voice currently gives me. From there, week after week, it alone starts gaining strength and I am able to add a bit more, and then a bit more to the chesty sound.... it's like a tiiny bit of "chest" every week, or month. 
I picture it as the muscular groups involved just get better at it and more powerful, so as long as they are trained everyday they WILL get results.

As I read in the recent "E4 to A4 bridge" thread, it seems ( Or at least for what I understood ) that the optimal place to work on strength building for chesty sounds is headmixing and chestmixing on the G4-B4 area, and not "pulling chest", or Overdriving pure chestvoice up to G4 and A4, because of the way muscles function in that area of the voice at high intensities.


Also, never... never neglect falsetto training when trying to do chesty sounds in higher notes.  Yes the TA, chestvoice or whatever, is the base of high chest sounds, but falsetto will give the true power and bite/metal from A4 and up, and more so at C5 and up.


I've experienced it I think.... I control my chest activity very well, I'm able to keep my voice connected to chest very high, but as my falsetto is pretty weak ( I can't imitate a female opera singer with a volume higher than speaking loudly) it doesn't have that bite, or brightness. It sounds a bit muffled.
And also there was my reflux thing, which burned some stuff and affected my closure, haha

   
Having said that, I must say I am training the living hell out of A4 , hahah  A new song I'm working on with my band has sustained A's in the chorus. I don't want it to "chest" it too much, so it's a thin line I gotta walk.  Just for you to peek at the idea, lol:

https://app.box.com/s/a26m4vae8ojpqywyl3nb0jqdoecx9oho

 

 


If you'd like to listen actually what I mean by the descriptions I did, or wanna hear how my voice is sounding with my current training here it is, and if you want to know what am I doing specifically just send me a private message ( don't wanna talk too much about me here :blush: Don't wanna bore you, lmao ) :

 

 

 

 

 


Those are the "chestier" approaches. And this is the less chest intensive ( just jump to the second half in the first one ):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This last one is not as chest intensive... but is still very demanding, it is indeed kind of light in mass, but it is still connected to chest. I guess because its just high. { My highest note in falsetto or fullvoice is like a D5 or D#5 aprox }


I hope this helps you clarify some ideas, or start juggling with some ideas you might have had but not implemented.  Also, Im just starting in this singing training thing, I only have 2 years in this, but I think I know a lot of my voice to be able to help others in any way I can.  

As I said, if you got any questions or are curious in anything in particular just send me a private message, I-d be happy to help :D  { or be helped!! haha }

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I forgot to mention that, based on my present experience with my voice ( I always specify, because I will never think I'm fully correct in anything regarding singing, haha) , I think no "chestmix" training will be of use if one is not engaging the full chest musculature package correctly, or at least one is capable of doing so.  If one does not know how to do it, or has "fears" or "mental limitations" as VideoHere comments quite a bit, it's hard to get results in that regard.

Look at all these Deathcore, or experimental metal singers that have huge voices in their high range. Why is that? Because they are fearless. Yes, a lot of them have vocal problems, or will have eventually.... but the power is there, the coordinations are there... technical refining and energy/effort optimization would keep their voices healthy ( some of them have that studied background, others are purely intuition singers )

Now, back more on topic, because I tend to derail quite a bit, as usual, haha. Increasing range seems to me just a thing of working on it, everyday. If you work with light mass, you just have to stretch your folds and practice the coordinations. Now if you want that range with power, it's a different issue.

You say you want to sing as effortlessly as possible up to B4. You would also like a chesty sound, for what I understand?  My current experience is that if I wanna sing with power in the G4-C5 range, I need to fully commit and use energy. Sometimes a good deal of energy, be it with my inhalation muscles, my abs a bit, mental energy to focus on the vocal coordination, and the attitude to picture the sound I want in my head.

I'm sure a trained person will have it a lot easier ( duh ), but I don't think it ever feels effortless to sing with power... I see it ( and hear it ) every day at the theatre, where I see and listen opera singers warming up and rehearsing constantly. 

I do know by experience that singing lightly while keeping good connection requires a very conversational effort, but it still is demanding concentration-wise for me at the present time, I'm sure people with stronger falsetto can do it fairly easily. 

Oh, god... I keep surprising myself rambling. lol . Umm... Aravind, do you want to sing from C5 and up also?

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  • 2 weeks later...

You say you want to sing as effortlessly as possible up to B4. You would also like a chesty sound, for what I understand?  My current experience is that if I wanna sing with power in the G4-C5 range, I need to fully commit and use energy. Sometimes a good deal of energy, be it with my inhalation muscles, my abs a bit, mental energy to focus on the vocal coordination, and the attitude to picture the sound I want in my head.
 

I want to sing light co-ordination upto as high as Bb4 or B4.  The heavy chesty voice with a belty tone is not something that will translate to all kinds of music.  I am looking for high and effortless style of singing.. I am finding that this is a lot more difficult to develop than mere powerful chesty voice in the E4-A4 area... I am talking about a kind of an effortless high mix resonance(if that makes sense).  It has an effortless quality without the volume of belting, but it is connected and sounds full.  You can say like Steve Perry.  Whether it is a function of a voice type I don't know, but I will keep trying ;) 

I want to sing diverse styles of music and yes, I do want to sing higher than C5.  I can sing upto F#5 or G5 now in a full "sounding" voice.  But in certain styles of singing, especially, oriental, you dont have much use for range beyond A4 frankly.. 

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Yes, but that heavy chest voice with a belty tone when thinned and carved down by the correct vowel (throat shape) can also put you there.  Just because you have a heavy chesty voice doesn't mean you are forever stuck in that mode any more than being light and effortless leaves you heady sounding. 

You can become skilled at both.....Thinning and reeling in the power or leaning and pumping things up....and you accomplish these adjustments and alternate within one line or one phrase...even one word!  

 

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Dan just directed me to this.  Here's a guy that can do both!  I had no idea he had this side to him.....  Learn something new every day.

 

Thanks Videohere.. Amazing videos.. I want to be a singer very much like him(Phew that is a tough goal to work towards).. The first song between 2:10 and 2:30 is the tone that I want to develop at the range.. It sounds just so beautiful and I can use this even in oriental singing.. 

The second song is something that sounds amazing, but obviously has a different technique.  I am beginning to understand how to get the tone for singing like. I do not understand technique like you guys, but I am able to get something similar with a compressed/twang tone upto B4.  Unless it involves really holding the B4 or Bb4, I am able to get a "one sounding" voice upto B4.  

The problem for me is the first example.  I feel it is a lot more difficult to learn to sing like that and you need to really learn how to sing each and every song for what it is.. But it is a very very effortless way to sing

To summarize, I can sing second song style with more consistency.  I am trying to develop consistency singing the style like the first song.  Some days it is there.  Some days  it is not there.. 

Fascinating examples.. Thank you

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Hi.  To start you going there...

1) maintain twang

2) tune the vowel on top, no later than G4, to align the 2nd Formant with the 3rd or 4th harmonic, depending on vowel.  This can be practiced softly, until you find the exact note.vowel combinations.

I hope this is helpful.

 

Hi Steven.. Thanks.. I do not understand what you mean by "aligning the 2nd format with 3rd or 4th harmonic".. Can you please elaborate and make it simpler for me to understand? 

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Aravindmadis ...

every vowel has 2 prominent resonance locations that are different vowel-to-vowel.  The areas of the peaks in the spectrum are the Formants. Singing the note softly, adjust your Mouth opening shape (jaw drop, smile or lip purse) until you find the one that you like the most.  You can do the same experiment by slightly modifying the vowel to a closely related, but more resonant one.

I hope this is helpful.

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   This is one of the things that I personally do not like about scientific voice research and "Published" papers. Most of what you find will show you a graph or spectrum analysis and show what they mean by tuning formants ............ Without mentioning what in the vocal tract is changing to tune those formants.

   The Vocal tract is a Tube that is flexable, the tongue can be maneuvered and the shape changed. Larynx can be raised or lowered, changing the length of the tube and the lips can be pursed or retracted also changing length of the tube.

   This is where I cannot find the proper information on what determins what.......... BUT length of tube (Vocal tract) is responcible for one formant, Width of tube responcible for another, Top of tongue in relation to the Hard and soft Palate another, Width and position of the Mouth opening another.

   It is easier to say modify the vowel than to go through all the steps of ........ Drop your larynx .........expand or contract your pharynx, Raise or lower your tongue, pull it forward or backward and Purse your lips or Show your teeth.  BUT when you are tuning formants you are adjusting these things even if only a little. It does not take much to bring you into or out of alignment.

   Vowels change all of these things without you thinking about it .............. BUT, When you find a VOWEL that has that certain ring to it if you change to another vowel and try to keep that ring, you are matching a formant to a harmonic.......... Which one? I cannot tell you .............. I can not find THAT kind of information.

  I almost forgot........... How wide.......narrow ....opened .......or close your mouth is ......is another formant.

 

 No Offence entended toward Steven ........Your Posts are always Helpful and provide clarity to any of our questions.

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M,

Don't feel bad...I still cannot grasp the whole formant thing from a technical standpoint,  so I just defer to vowel mods and throat shaping, larynx height adjustments.

But formant tuning, if you are a d.i.y.'er takes a LOT of trial and error because it all depends on your particular voice.  I have found when you hit it right, you simply can just tell....I know that's not much help..but that's what it works for me...

You can almost call it a "feel" you get in the voice.  When they are "off" you feel like the voice is blocked or partially blocked.

The other thing is you can actually sing with poorly aligned formants and still sound "okay."  But when the formants are really

right, you'll hear and feel a big difference, it's a feeling of accuracy, like the resonance is correctly channeled.

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    I finally found something close to what I was looking for. Provided by Our own Steven Frasier for another topic on this forum.

 Just an example of how adjusting tongue position changes the relations and placements of formant energy.

 

VowelsVocalTract.jpg

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Hi,all.

The most accessible way to move the formants is to change the vowel you imagine.    Your tongue will move very well to the practiced locations, and the formant alignment can happen when you least expect it.  As was said, it is very personal to each individual voice.

I got involved with formant tuning experiments in my own voice about 8 years ago, via contact with (Retired) Professor of Voice Lloyd Hanson, formerly of West Texas and later The University of Northern Arizona (Flagstaf) .   He was a student of Berton Coffin while at the University of Colorado doing his Doctorate. 

Coffin was a Physicist - cum - singer.   He applied the source-filter theory ( Gunnar Fant, 1960) pedagogically to the implications for the  singing voice in the studio. 

Coffin's students learned that vowels could be well-chosen, or poorly chosen, when it comes to resonance.  The basics, you already know.... sing the well-tuned vowel, and you get more sound..   His successor at that UofC was Barbara Doscher, who carried the core concepts to the next level.

Later, Prof Ingo Titze (U of Iowa) refined the source-filter theory to include feed-back that indicated that the well-aligned vowel was also more easily sung, if the harmonics were just slightly below the formants, what is now called the non-linear source filter theory.

The skinny of it is that there is a 'best' vowel to sing on every note, for every word, and that varies for each voice.  Its discovered by the singer.

What I did in my own singing, beginning about 8 years ago, is to sing into software that showed me my resonances (the formants) and gave me objective feed-back to the good (or, many times, bad) alignments of harmonics with those resonances.  Literally, 6 months of 1 hour a day singing into a mic, and looking at the screen.

Somewhere along the way... it clicked.  I learned how to hear the effects of the resonance that I was seeing on the screen.

Offer to you all:  If you want a copy of the Windows software that I use for the spectrum training I did... I have a fee-free copy that I can send you, if you want to do what I did beginning  8 years ago.  You may not be the geek that I am, but you may enjoy seeing how small (yes, really small) changes in the vowel will make big differences in the sound and ease of the voice.

Let me know via private mail, and I will send it to you, and tell you how to crank it up.

I hope this is helpful.

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   Thanks Steven, I just read another snippet that mentioned Berton Coffin. In it was mentioned what he called a Vowel Mirror. Basically a pitch generator .... Keyboard or Tuner with a speaker that you aim towards your mouth while mimicking the pitch and vowel shapes (with a closed glottis). When you found the correct (or close ) vowel shape ( vocal tract) the resonance in your mouth would increase.  Simple but it seems useful.

  Of course your Idea of the computer software and microphone would look more natural to others who happen to be passing by. :)

 

 

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Once again, another awesome boost from Steven. Mucho appreciado. To me, even though other others have said vowel purity is a misnomer, I still think what I would call pure vowel is a maximum tuning. And I think it is what Debra Lynn talked about with her Bel Canto Buzz.

And yes, source filter is real, not just because it can be described mathematically. An acoustic guitar is a source filter. Some chords and notes are going to sound "apparently" louder than others because they involve the resonant frequencies of the wood used. It is only not a filter in the case of a solid body electric guitar being played through an amp and effects chain.

Mics do something similar, in reverse. Mics act like filters, base on their response curve which will not be mathematically or practically flat from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Which can be used to benefit a recording. A mic that gets more "air" sound is great for acoustic guitars. One that is warmer or looses high partials is great for vocals. The "warmer" mic keeps vocals from sounding harsh, before you add any eq.

I would also say that the source filter effect of a human voice is based somewhat on structure and is why each singer sounds different.

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Once again, another awesome boost from Steven. Mucho appreciado. To me, even though other others have said vowel purity is a misnomer, I still think what I would call pure vowel is a maximum tuning. And I think it is what Debra Lynn talked about with her Bel Canto Buzz.

And yes, source filter is real, not just because it can be described mathematically. An acoustic guitar is a source filter. Some chords and notes are going to sound "apparently" louder than others because they involve the resonant frequencies of the wood used. It is only not a filter in the case of a solid body electric guitar being played through an amp and effects chain.

Mics do something similar, in reverse. Mics act like filters, base on their response curve which will not be mathematically or practically flat from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Which can be used to benefit a recording. A mic that gets more "air" sound is great for acoustic guitars. One that is warmer or looses high partials is great for vocals. The "warmer" mic keeps vocals from sounding harsh, before you add any eq.

I would also say that the source filter effect of a human voice is based somewhat on structure and is why each singer sounds different.

The source filter theory is not very useful when it comes to acoustic instruments, since they are not source -> filter systems (like an analog synthesizer would be). What the vowels and body of a guitar actually do is that they boost the efficiency of a system. That means the sound from the vocal cords or acoustic guitar is transformed into air vibrations much more easily. This is why acoustic is much louder on ALL the notes (and frequencies) you play on it than an electric (but also the strings stop vibrating quicker).

Believe me, putting a blanket in front of your mouth won't improve your singing, that's much closer to an actual "source -> filter". It's really about the interaction and efficiency. I believe the source filter theory was later modified to take into account how acoustic instruments actually function (in which case my criticism is not relevant), but I think the name could use some tweaking...

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