Posts Tagged ‘Vocal Technique’

What Are Head Voice and Chest Voice? The Singing Voice Explained

Friday, January 29th, 2010

By Andy Follin

It’s possibly the most common question for those studying voice. But it’s also the least answered. Or, to put it better, the worst answered.

The problem with head and chest

The reason is that the answers that most vocal coaches and singing teachers give seem innately wrong. No matter how hard people try to explain it, you really can’t convince anyone that the voice moves from the chest to the head, because you can always feel just where it is – in the throat!

The terms ‘head voice’ and ‘chest voice’ have some merit in that they can describe the location of some of the sensations you feel (muscle effort, for example) when singing higher and lower, but that merit is outweighed by the confusion caused when singers start to imagine that the sound-producing mechanism changes location.

Head and chest resonance

Head and chest ‘resonance’ can cause similar problems. It’s an acoustic principle that there can be no resonance before the sound source so – given that the chest is below the larynx – there can be no chest resonance. Chest vibration, maybe, but not resonance.

Similarly, the only way the voice can resonate in the head (as opposed to the mouth) is if the soft palate (velum) is opened to allow sound into the nasal turbinates. But this would give an excessively nasal sound – which is undesirable at best.

What’s head, and what’s chest?

Anyone struggling for an answer to this question will come up against a number of answers, even among those singing teachers who still insist on using the terms head and chest. Some say there are only two ‘registers’, some three (head, chest, mixed) and some four (add falsetto to the list).

The problem is that they can’t even agree amongst themelves! Are all high notes ‘head’? Are all loud notes ‘Chest’? So what’s loud and high singing? And what do they call very quiet low singing?

There’s no consensus – because there’s no scientific fact to back up any of their opinions. It’s like asking them to describe ‘blue’ (do you mean royal blue, or French blue, or cyan etc..)

So what’s really happening?

All of this needless confusion can be avoided through a better understanding of the voice.

The vocal folds (vocal cords) are complex and able to vibrate in a number of ways, but whatever you call a sound – Head, Chest, Mixed, Apple, Banana – it can be precisely defined in terms of how the vocal folds are vibrating.

The great advantage of Estill Voice Training™ over more traditional singing methods is that it replaces the vague and inexact concepts of Head voice and Chest voice with a precise understanding of the Vocal Folds and how they are vibrating in different parts of the range.

As a Certified Master Teacher of EVT, Andy Follin can explain how to control and allow the voice to move easily throughout your entire range – with or without a change in sound, and without introducing any confusing terminology!

Andy Follin is a Certified Master Teacher of Estill Voice Training, based in the North West of England. As the only CMT in the area, Andy is uniquely placed to help both speakers and singers who wish to understand and control their voice.

His website Vocal Skills, has an FAQ section that tries to answer some of the most common questions about the voice.
It contains a useful article on head voice and chest voice. Check it out to get the Vocal Skills you want and need. Take your voice and your career seriously.

Tips and Techniques To Learn To Sing Like A Pro

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

by Skyler Jett

Some people still believe that a singing voice is only something that you are born with. While this is true for some lucky people, not everyone was born with the most beautiful singing voice in the world. Because of this, practice, patience and education is needed in order to achieve the level of singing that you have always wanted.

It’s time to stop making everyone’s ears hurt and you can’t afford to replace any more broken glass so follow these key steps and you will surely be a memorable singer before you know it. Remember, you may not become the perfect singer over night so do not give up. You have to keep trying and hang in there and eventually everything will just click and fall into place.

Relax.

Many people find themselves tensing up when they start to sing. This is typically from nerves. While this is a natural reaction, it is not one that is going to help your singing voice. If there is too much tension in your body, your vocal tone will be destroyed. Keep your shoulders back in the correct position and allow the muscles in your neck to relax.

Push The Stomach Out.

Even though it may feel a little odd at first, it is important to push your stomach out when you inhale. When you do this, you allow more air into your lungs. When it is time to exhale, make sure that you are slowly pulling your stomach in by making use of your diaphragm muscles. All of this will help keep your tone under control.

Do Not Fear The High Notes.

The high notes seems to be what people have the most trouble with which means people tend to find themselves afraid of even trying to hit the high notes. Do not let that fear control you. If you want to sing and you want to sing well, you have to learn how to hit the high notes with grace and style.

When you find that you are not hitting the note high enough, try raising your arms slightly and give a small hint of a smile. These actions will help to casually raise your note. For the extremely high notes, close your eyes and turn your face up slightly, really feeling the note.

For those that hit the notes a little too high, move your arms down a little lower than where they are. You might also want to open your mouth just a bit wider by dropping the lower jaw.

Find Your Own Voice. While you may want to be able to sing like Mariah, not everyone can. Instead of trying to match your voice and tone to someone else’s, find your own, especially if you want to make a career out of singing. Music producers want new fresh sounds. You also want to make sure that you are enjoying yourself every step of the way. Otherwise, you will never make it to the level of singing that you want to be at.

About the Author

Skyler Jett is a prolific singer, songwriter and producer, who has worked with many top musicians, such as Stevie Wonder, Celine Dion and Aretha Franklin. He shares his singing tips and techniques, including how to throat sing. You can find more of his tips to learn to sing like a professional singer at http://howtosing.org.