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  • Distinguishing Falsetto & Head Voice: Explained.

    Recently I have been annoyed at people confusing head voice and falsetto; this has provoked me into composing a short collection of sentences that fit together to form a singer's explaination of the differences between falsetto and head voice.

    First off: Vibrato. In falsetto there is no NATURAL vibrato - you can add vibrato, but it is something you have to force upon it. Compare this to the natural vibrato of head voice and you'll be able to spot a difference.

    The head voice goes along with the modal register (that's head/chest voice) it is sung with an open throat and lowered larynx (try yawning; your throt should stay there.) However, in contemporary music, singing with a head voice is a little 'out there' and could potentially make you sound like a knob. Now, falsetto is achieved by stretching the vocal folds and having only the ends vibrate - when singing falsetto there is no NATURAL vibrato and your throat is closed with your larynx right up there (this is why head voice is sometimes called open throat falsetto.) In this, it is possible to hit much higher notes in falsetto than in head voice.

    The tonal difference is very much noticeable in men, due to the dark, brown nature of the modal regsiter; but in women, however, the timbre is quite well... feminine anyway, so the difference is far more subtle. Women DO have falsetto, they can do it like a man can... but it's not as noticeable.

    Overal:

    * Head voice has a natural vibrato, falsetto doesn't.
    * Head voice has a darker, richer tone than falsetto.
    * Falsetto is sung with a close throat; head voice - open.
    * Women CAN sing falsetto, but the tonal difference between the two is very subtle.
    * Falstto can reach higher notes.

    (Written By LordBTY)

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    TomMx
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  • #2
    also, you should feel head tone in your sinuses (hence the name) falsetto is produced strictly with the vocal chords, no added resonance from any other body part
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    • #3
      also, you should feel head tone in your sinuses (hence the name) falsetto is produced strictly with the vocal chords, no added resonance from any other body part

      You're on the right track...
      The thread starter missed the most important part: the head voice resonance resides in head cavities and cartilage, mostly nasal, also facial bone matter, even teeth! Breath support, open throat,blend, resonance= head voice, anything less than that (or missing the last two ingridients), can be called falssetto.
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      • #4
        Is head voice like my Spongebob impersonationn, vs my falsedo is my Micheal Jackson impersonation?

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        • #5
          Falsetto, often translated as a "false voice," is a vocal technique that allows male singers to perform notes ordinarily out of their natural range. Essentially, falsetto pulls the male singer's voice out of the chest and into the head, which is traditionally what helps female sopranos hit their highest notes. Some male singers only use falsetto to reach a few high notes before returning to their natural chest and throat voices, but a few can actually sing entire songs in a controlled falsetto.

          The use of falsetto has been traced back to at least the Middle Ages, although early music theorists used the terms "head voice" and "falsetto" almost interchangeably. Both men and women working in the field of opera were trained to use falsetto, although it was more common to hear trained male countertenors use falsetto whenever female sopranos were either not available or else not permitted to perform. Male bass singers also used falsetto sparingly when asked to perform notes in the high tenor range.

          In modern music, the use of falsetto became very prominent during the 1950s, as a form of a capella music called "doo wop" became popular among the younger generation. Doo wop groups were almost entirely composed of a bass, baritone, lead tenor and first tenor, much like Southern gospel quartets of the time. The first tenor of a typical doo wop group often learned how to sing entirely in falsetto, which served as a melodic counterpoint to the lead tenor's straightforward delivery. While the first tenor would sing extremely high notes, the bass would counter with deep runs of his own.

          A song by the Tokens, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," featured a straight falsetto performance from beginning to end. Singer Frankie Valli spent most of his singing career using an unusually powerful falsetto, as witnessed in the song "Walk Like a Man." Other singers such as Roy Orbison would use falsetto in combination with an impressive natural chest voice. Modern rock vocalists like Axl Rose and Bono have also learned how to sing in falsetto, although their technique is noticeably different from their doo wop predecessors. Generating power and maintaining tone in falsetto is notoriously difficult, but trained rock vocalists often learn how to switch into a false voice just before hitting the highest notes of their songs.

          Falsetto and head voice are similar, but they are also different in many ways. The reason the two are often confused is because you can sing head voice very softly so that it sounds very much like falsetto.

          What is Falsetto?

          Notice the word "falsetto" contains the word "false!" That's exactly what it is - a false impression of the female voice. This occurs when a man who is naturally a baritone or bass attempts to imitate a female's voice. The sound is usually higher pitched than the singer's normal singing voice. The falsetto tone produced has a head voice type quality, but is not head voice.

          Falsetto is the lightest form of vocal production that the human voice can make. It has limited strength, tones, and dynamics. Oftentimes when singing falsetto, your voice may break, jump, or have an airy sound because the vocal cords are not completely closed.

          What is Head Voice?

          Head voice is singing in which the upper range of the voice is used. It's a natural high pitch that flows evenly and completely. It's called head voice or "head register" because the singer actually feels the vibrations of the sung notes in their head. When singing in head voice, the vocal cords are closed and the voice tone is pure. The singer is able to choose any dynamic level he wants while singing.

          Unlike falsetto, head voice gives a connected sound and creates a smoother harmony.

          Tips to Develop Head Voice

          If you want to have a smooth tone and develop a head voice singing talent, you can practice closing the gap with breathing techniques on every note. Just the right air pressure balance is needed to bring notes through smoothly. Try singing notes without straining your facial muscles and without trying to force your voice into something it's not.

          As you can see, falsetto and head voice are totally different though they can sometimes sound similar. Practice with voice exercises to enjoy a smoother flow and tone while singing. You’ll be surprised at how great your voice can sound!
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          • #6

            * Falstto can reach higher notes.

            (Written By LordBTY)

            ----

            TomMx




            Not True.

            If you have the correct training, you can go higher in Full voice because the vocal cords zip up. Falsetto is created without the vocal cords touching, but in Full Voice once you get to the maximum pitch of your stretched vocal cords, you can get them to actually adduct and the space between becomes shorter and it literally zips up just like a zipper on a pair of pants, and the more control you gain over it, the higher in pitch you can go.
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            <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>agedhorse</strong>

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            • #7
              i agree with CONSUME.

              headvoice goes higher than falsetto, ...but at a certain point, it's referred to as whistle voice. whistle voice is an extension of headvoice. think mariah carey (men can do this too, it's just a coordination you have to learn).

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              • #8
                Modern rock vocalists like Axl Rose and Bono have also learned how to sing in falsetto, although their technique is noticeably different from their doo wop predecessors.
                Well, Axl does use falsetto sometimes, pretty much in the same way as Brian Johnson. But Bono???? I'm not really sure, it seems to me has a very nice headvoice, much like Sting. Are you sure that Bono really use falsetto, and on which songs?

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                • #9
                  Well, Axl does use falsetto sometimes, pretty much in the same way as Brian Johnson. But Bono???? I'm not really sure, it seems to me has a very nice headvoice, much like Sting. Are you sure that Bono really use falsetto, and on which songs?


                  Which songs is Sting singing in head voice? Thinking about songs like You Still Touch Me and Roxanne, those sound like a modified falsetto.

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                  • #10
                    See? That's what I mean; people analize it too much, and it becomes something that it's not.
                    And the folds do not "zip up". They still open and close, but on less surface ,as one goes higher in pitch.
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                    • #11
                      Well, Axl does use falsetto sometimes, pretty much in the same way as Brian Johnson. But Bono???? I'm not really sure, it seems to me has a very nice headvoice, much like Sting. Are you sure that Bono really use falsetto, and on which songs?


                      I dunno. You may be right but I doubt he never uses falsetto and I really think in this genre it does not really matter :thu:.
                      Generating power and maintaining tone in falsetto is notoriously difficult, but these trained rock vocalists often learn how to switch into a false voice just before hitting the highest notes of their songs.
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                      • #12
                        Well, Axl does use falsetto sometimes, pretty much in the same way as Brian Johnson. But Bono???? I'm not really sure, it seems to me has a very nice headvoice, much like Sting. Are you sure that Bono really use falsetto, and on which songs?



                        Bono uses falsetto in a fair bit of Bullet the Blue Sky. Brian Johnson uses head voice for most of his "singing."

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                        • #13
                          See? That's what I mean; people analize it too much, and it becomes something that it's not.
                          And the folds do not "zip up". They still open and close, but on less surface ,as one goes higher in pitch.


                          So, you are going to Argue against a video that they zip up?
                          I've seen it on videotape.
                          Time for you to go back to school on how the vocal cords work.They Zip UP.
                          Vocal Instructor Thomas Appell discovered it back in the 80's. Most of the major vocal Instructors now realize that when the vocal cords adduct, once they reach the area commonly called the Passaggio or "break", at that point they begin to zip up to enable the vocalist to singer higher in Full Voice rather than Falsetto. That is why it takes some extra training to normally get through the Passaggio, because you are having to learn to coordinate the muscles to sort of "switch gears".


                          Seth Riggs
                          Roger Love
                          Bret Manning
                          Jaime Vendera
                          Tony Harnell


                          Recognize any of these names?
                          They ALL Teach that the Vocal Cords ZIP UP. So, you are willing to state that all of these instructors are WRONG, and YOU know more than a handful of the Top Vocal Instructors in the world?


                          BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!
                          I Love That.

                          oke:
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                          <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>agedhorse</strong>

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                          • #14
                            I just realised I have NO idea what head voice is and how to do it, and yet I somehow think it’s all I know HOW to do though. Isn’t that odd? Lol.

                            I can do falsetto and back into “normal” voice fairly easily if I’m relaxed…but is my “normal” voice head voice? I don’t even think I know how to do chest voice or any other type of voice. Ugh!

                            I do agree with those statements though, as far as I understand them. When I do falsetto I can’t really do vibrato at the same time. If ever I try, it just sounds very strange and wrong. And I can’t do it in the same way I do it in my “normal” voice.

                            I only ever really do falsetto if I’m singing say, a Dido song or Sarah McLaughlin. You know what I mean? They use falsetto on those ultra-light notes in between the “normal” voiced notes, if that makes any sense.
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                            • #15
                              I just realised I have NO idea what head voice is and how to do it, and yet I somehow think it’s all I know HOW to do though. Isn’t that odd? Lol.

                              I can do falsetto and back into “normal” voice fairly easily if I’m relaxed…but is my “normal” voice head voice? I don’t even think I know how to do chest voice or any other type of voice. Ugh!

                              I do agree with those statements though, as far as I understand them. When I do falsetto I can’t really do vibrato at the same time. If ever I try, it just sounds very strange and wrong. And I can’t do it in the same way I do it in my “normal” voice.

                              I only ever really do falsetto if I’m singing say, a Dido song or Sarah McLaughlin. You know what I mean? They use falsetto on those ultra-light notes in between the “normal” voiced notes, if that makes any sense.


                              Falsetto is when the vocal cords are fiarly loose, but do not touch. You are pushing quite a bit of air past them and the edges of the folds vibrate. It gives you a light, airy, almost feminine kind of sound in men (Think Barry Gibb of the BeeGee's). Reinforced Vibrato is when the folds are a bit closer together - sort of like partway between falsetto and full voice. (Think "Judas Priest" screams.)
                              Chest Voice and Head Voice are terms that have to do with where your resonation is taking place.

                              Chest voice - means your chest is acting as the main resonator.
                              Head voice - means your head (mouth and sinus cavities) are acting as the main resonation chamber.
                              "Mixed" voice - means both head and chest voice are used fairly equally.

                              If you put one hand on your chest, and put the other on the top of your head and sing an EEE scale, as you go up in pitch you will feel the vibrations in your body move up from out of your chest (say 2" below your throat) up to the top of your head.
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                              <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>agedhorse</strong>

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