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Unread 03-29-2008, 04:17 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Adam B View Post
I hope this doesn't get taken the wrong way, but could you tell me what you think my range actually is? Like - above what note should I not try to sing in my chest? Also, there is no keyboard/piano that I have access to. But I do have access to several guitars. (Sigh) Maybe I just don't have what it takes to become a good singer. Maybe I should just concentrate on my guitar playing.
Most men, no matter how low they can sing, should begin using their head voice around E/F/F# above middle C (in case you don't know, middle C is the first fret on the B string of the guitar). By the time you're above G, you should probably be in total head voice. There is no clear cut "begin singing in head voice here" note. You should just do what feels natural. I will tell you that by the time you reach A, you will definitely be pulling up chest and straining a lot if you're not in head voice.

The problem with most people who want to increase their range is that they really have no idea what head voice is or how to use it. Most people think that everyone just has a set vocal range and there really isn't anything you can do to increase it. Consequently, they reach the top of their chest (anywhere from E to A), they strain, then crack, then flip into falsetto. It's very frustrating. Before I knew how to access head voice, I could sing to G or A with a ton of effort and strain. Now, I can sing up to C# above high C with relative ease. The thing is, once you get into head voice, it actually becomes much easier to sing higher. The challenge then becomes transitioning between head and chest.

Unfortunately, I probably can't explain how to access your head voice in an easy to understand manner over the internet. I tried a bunch of different exercises that were supposed to help, but I finally ended up figuring it out in a kind of strange way. I CAN give you a few tips though.

1. Are you holding your breath while you sing? It sounds like you are. Air should flow freely through your mouth and nose while you resonate notes. Don't force air out of your nose, but only let it flow freely like it would while you speak or hum. Compare your speaking and humming with your singing, the way air flows through your head and mouth should be the same for all three. If you ARE holding your breath, you're activating a bunch of muscles that don't need to be activated to sing. In fact, you're probably activating your swallowing reflex muscles, which brings me to...

2. Look in the mirror at your Adam's apple. Yawn, it will move down. Swallow, it will move up. Then, keep watching and act like you're going to sing a note. Before any sound comes out, does your Adam's apple move way up or down? If it does, it probably moves up. If this is the case, you're activating your swallowing muscles. This is going to create a strained sound in your vocals because you're flexing a bunch of muscles around your voice box that are unnecessary. Letting your air flow freely as described in step one and also letting your jaw drop loose (don't strain this, it shouldn't hurt) and free will help you.

3. Don't know if anyone mentioned this yet. Lay on your back and breath, you'll notice that your stomach moves up and down rather than your chest. This is how you should breath while you're singing. It may make you lightheaded at first.

4. Try not to strain or flex muscles in your face while you sing. You don't want to sound strained, so why look strained? You should maintain a calm face while you sing just like when you speak (singing is only sustained speech). This seems unimportant, but activating facial muscles can also activate muscles in your throat collaterally. You don't want to activate muscles in your throat to sing, you only want to activate your larynx and vocal chords.

5. You may notice that certain vowel sounds are harder to resonate and keep on pitch. This is especially true for the hard e (as in speak) and a (as in way). Look in the mirror and make these sounds. What happens to your tongue? It kind of curls up doesn't it? Most people will tell you to always keep your tongue down while singing, but what about these sounds? There's nothing you can do to keep your tongue down, because you HAVE to raise your tongue in order to make them. It frustrated me for a long time. This is where head resonance comes in. Make those sounds again, but this time, make them resonate really harshly in your sinuses if you can. In other words, make them really nasally sounding; but at the same time, let the air flow freely out of your nose (it may be a little uncomfortable at first or make you lightheaded). If you do it right, you should notice that the notes resonate a lot better, BUT they sound nasally. This is only the first step.

The reason these sounds are hard to resonate outside of head resonance is because your tongue comes up and there is very little room in your mouth either for the note to resonate or for the air to escape. This creates extra pressure, which forces your vocal chords further apart and causes you to go flat. Once you let some head resonance in and you let some air escape through your nose, you will alleviate the pressure and the note will ring more true. Once you understand this, you can begin to add in a bit of mouth resonance and make it sound good. It will come naturally if you do it right and once you get used to it, you won't even think about it anymore. This technique may also help you realize your head voice and help you reach new territory in your vocal range.

Hope these steps help some. I used to be an extremely terrible singer, worse than you. Now, I get compliments all the time about how much I've improved and I can sing higher and freer than any other male singer I know. Just be patient and diligent. Anyone can learn to sing.

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Unread 03-31-2008, 11:49 PM   #32
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Split due to off topicness.
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Unread 04-01-2008, 08:14 AM   #33
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I seem to have ignited quite the debate, eh?
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Unread 04-03-2008, 11:19 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam B View Post
I seem to have ignited quite the debate, eh?
Honestly, I stopped reading it after the initial debate started. Did you try any of the things I mentioned? Did they help?
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Unread 04-04-2008, 11:52 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Adam B View Post
I seem to have ignited quite the debate, eh?
I think that this debate, in one form or another, has been raging for many many years. You might have fanned it though.

I hope that you didn't take my arguments the wrong way. I definitely don't want you to get discouraged. To me it was more of a philosophical distinction about whether or not innate capacity for learning something comes into play. Because, in the end, there's no way to measure that so you can't tell ahead of time how good you can become.

You may have noticed that one of my first posts here (the first?) was agonizing over my own vocal abilities. I just didn't want you to think that I was talking down to you from some superior position (real or imagined).

So, definitely keep working on your vocals. There've been some great suggestions. I think that the air through the nose thing will be a first key step to improving your tone dramatically.
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Unread 04-14-2008, 12:54 PM   #36
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Unread 04-14-2008, 02:20 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiveminuteplan View Post
...above middle C (in case you don't know, middle C is the first fret on the B string of the guitar)...
Actually, middle C would be the third fret of the A string. The 'C' you are referring to would be the 3rd space in the treble clef. Sorry, pet peeve.
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Unread 04-14-2008, 02:38 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by snizzle View Post
Actually, middle C would be the third fret of the A string. The 'C' you are referring to would be the 3rd space in the treble clef. Sorry, pet peeve.
-shane
Middle C for a male vocalist is the 1st fret of the B string on the guitar. High C for a male vocalist is the octave above that. This is how everyone defines middle and high C for a male vocalist. The note you're talking about may be middle C for the guitar, but we're talking about vocals here. If the third fret of the A string was middle C and the octave of that was high C for a male vocalist, almost every man would be able to sing almost an octave above high C.
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Unread 04-15-2008, 08:32 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiveminuteplan View Post
Middle C for a male vocalist is the 1st fret of the B string on the guitar. High C for a male vocalist is the octave above that. This is how everyone defines middle and high C for a male vocalist. The note you're talking about may be middle C for the guitar, but we're talking about vocals here. If the third fret of the A string was middle C and the octave of that was high C for a male vocalist, almost every man would be able to sing almost an octave above high C.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_C
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