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symphonyofdream

Speaking voice is head voice?

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that's what a long time singer and graduate from a college told me. I don't see how it's not chest voice, what is it?

 

Also another guy with 30 years of vocal teaching told me that head voice and falsetto are the same thing? i thought they were different?

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You've been given the wrong information.

 

Speaking voice is chest voice.

 

Head voice and falsetto are different things. Falsetto is when you direct the airflow over the soft palate on your higher notes, and it provides the well known weak, breathy tone, that can't connect to the chest voice without a "break" in tone happening. That's because they are two radically different types of tone. Whereas head voice provides the same tone and intensity as chest voice, but it's just that the notes are higher up. Because they are higher up they'll sound thinner; just like the notes of a piano thin out as they rise higher. With head voice, the air flow is directed over the top of the soft palate in exactly the same way as falsetto (hence the academic confusion some people have when trying to understand the difference). As long as a singer goes into head voice only on the really high notes (for a male it's the A above middle C at least, and sometimes a bit higher), then when the air flow goes from under the soft palate to over the soft palate, you barely notice it (unlike with falsetto), and as a result there's no "break" in the tone whatsoever. Upon going into head voice, the note before you go into head voice and your first head voice note, should both feel equally as strong and intense, For beginners, the higher up you practice switching into head voice the better. Whilst a singer "can" use head voice a bit lower down, it's main advantage is that it makes those really high notes easy to sing. If you use too much support musculature in the throat as you sing towards the head voice area in chest voice, then it will be impossible for you to effectively go into head voice without a break in tone happening. When it's done properly, the high chest voice notes should feel free and easy and thinner than the low chest voice notes, and the relaxation and non use of all those throat muscles will aid you getting into head voice properly.

 

But remember, mastering head voice doesn't mean you're a good singer. There's many thousands of highly successful singers, who have carved out fabulously successful careers without ever singing in head voice. if you're a male and want to sing those strong high notes like a woman, then mastering head voice is an absolute necessity. And if you want to sing screaming rock type vocals, then a strong head voice is also a necessity.

 

Really good singing is primarily about how well a singer communicates the meaning and emotion of a song. There can be awful singers who have a huge range, and absolutely fantastic singers who manage perfectly well with an "effective" 2 to 2 1/2 octave range.

 

Good singing is NOT a sport. Good singing is the art of effective communication.

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Thanks alot for the response, that was very helpfull. I totally agree with what you about the ability to express an emotion is the most important function of a singer and i feel range is just a bonus but worseless without the prior ability. I liken it to a guitar player with tons of chops/ speed and technical raw technique. That is all great, but only if they have good phrasing, bending, timing, feel and so on. music is all about emotion not sport to me. And i do have alot of favorite singers with a limited range.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uw2hK9XHSg 1:12 is that all chest voice? that's how i always try to sing it that way and it's pretty up there for that.

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The high note just after 1.15 is an A sharp above middle C, and he's singing it in chest voice. The only way to sing "effectively" that high in chest, for 99.9% of males, is to let go of any excessive use of throat muscles. You don't do it by pushing hard, you do it by cutting back, and volume and tone will come later if you're doing it right. Of course there's always someone, somewhere, who seems to be able to break all of Mother Natures rules regarding singing, but they're the exceptions, not the rule. Just because they can manage, doesn't mean everybody can manage in the same way.

 

Keep in mind that all the stuff I write is my opinion, and others may have a different opinion.

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Yes, but you use the required muscles "gently", even though the sound is loud and gritty. Think of the sound as coming from your stomach, rather than your throat. Trying to use too much muscle tension and strength in the throat, will only cause the voice to strain. Practice at just letting go of the tension and strain. At first, your voice will sound weaker, because you're probably not used to singing with relaxed tension. But gradually, the tone and volume should slowly strengthen, and eventually you'll be able to sing those higher notes with more ease .... even with a bit of grit added. It's all about letting go of "unnecessary" strain and tension in the throat.

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Yes, but you use the required muscles "gently", even though the sound is loud and gritty. Think of the sound as coming from your stomach, rather than your throat. Trying to use too much muscle tension and strength in the throat, will only cause the voice to strain. Practice at just letting go of the tension and strain. At first, your voice will sound weaker, because you're probably not used to singing with relaxed tension. But gradually, the tone and volume should slowly strengthen, and eventually you'll be able to sing those higher notes with more ease .... even with a bit of grit added. It's all about letting go of "unnecessary" strain and tension in the throat.

 

that makes sense, thanks

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Hey Symphonyofdream,

 

The first thing to say (like I've said before on the forum) is that there is (unfortunately) no universally agreed terminology in singing, especially when it comes to terms such as head voice and chest voice, which are thrown around as if they are going out of fashion! They mean different things to different people, so make sure you ask and check what the person means by the term - if they give you a wooly answer, or simply don't really know, then there's your answer right there about whether to take that person's advice!

 

Other thing which I read often is that falsetto is some kind of weak, breathy tone - sure, it can be, but I suggest you type in "James Bowman" into Youtube, and you'll find a use of falsetto in early classical music which is far from breathy, and certainly not weak! Mr Bowman had a career filling opera houses and concert halls around the world with ease!

 

Just a few thoughts!

 

Good luck,

 

Andrew

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Andrew, I just viewed a clip of James Bowman singing live, "Ode For Queen Anne".

 

I hate to disappoint you, but there's no way whatsoever that he's singing in falsetto. He's also not using head voice.

 

With falsetto, the outgoing airflow is directed OVER the top of the soft palate. The airflow of James is going UNDER the soft palate. He's singing in D and most of the highest notes hover around A above middle C. The song he's singing has a 1 octave range from A below middle C to A above middle C. He's singing in chest voice (which simply means the outgoing airflow goes "under" the soft palate) *BUT* it's a very centered type of chest voice, where he's cutting out as many lower frequencies as possible, and emphasizing the higher frequencies (by "frequencies" I'm not referring to notes). Some people refer to similar techniques as the "mask". It's simply a bridging technique that enables you to more easily sing the notes, in preparation for the higher head voice notes (if you want to go that far up in pitch). This bridging type technique, produces the type of tone that James displays. There's variations on the technique, that produce slightly different tones. James uses this technique throughout the song, from his lowest notes to his highest notes. I haven't had time to listen to any other clips from him, but I'd be pretty sure that when he sings the "really" high notes, about high C and above, that he'd go into a really nice, strong, centered head voice. After all he's a counter tenor, and that's what counter tenors do.

 

Often male singers will use this technique to bridge their first break area (around D to E above middle C) up to around A to B above middle C. It makes it much easier to sing in this range, and the voice sounds strong and clear. Then by the time you reach the high A or B notes the voice seamlessly goes into head voice, if you want it to, when the airflow is then directed "over" the soft palate. The note you sing before you go into head voice should sound "exactly" like the note you use after you go into head voice: There's no loss of sound intensity or volume.

 

Whereas falsetto is different. Falsetto is always weak and breathy. If it's not weak and breathy, then it's not "falsetto" ... it's something else, or a combination of different things.. With falsetto, the air must go OVER the soft palate. A partial falsetto is possible, where some air is directed over the soft palate, and some air under. This can result is a slightly stronger sounding falsetto .... but it's not a proper "full" falsetto.

 

I think there's literally thousands of different ways people can sing. Different things suit different people. What works for one person may not work for another person, because of anatomical variations. The main thing is that the singer doesn't strain.

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Falsetto is where the vocal folds are stretched, and do not touch. The air flow barely moves the edges of the cords, which is why it is light and airy sounding. In Head voice - just like in Chest - the vocal cords are touching and adducting to varying degrees depending upon the pitch and volume.

 

 

Chest Voice and Head voice have to do with Resonance Placement.

 

Put one head on your chest 2" below your throat. Place the other hand on top of your head.

 

Start singing your lowest note and slowly slide up to your highest note.

 

You will feel the resonant vibrations move up out of your chest and into the top of your head as these cavities in your head take on more of a role as resonant chambers.

 

 

While falsetto is light and breathy, Reinforced Falsetto is NOT - Listen to Judas Priest's "Screaming for Vengeance" for an example.

 

In Reinforced Falsetto, the vocal cords are drawn in closer and strengthened for added support and more air pressure is added.

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When I talk, I use both head and chest voice, depending what sound I want in my voice and tone while speaking, you know?

 

I know some people who ONLY speak in their head voice. It sounds a little weird.

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When I talk, I use both head and chest voice, depending what sound I want in my voice and tone while speaking, you know?


I know some people who ONLY speak in their head voice. It sounds a little weird.

Agreed. Some people talk in chest and head, and someone also talk in falsetto. While most of us also use falsetto a few times, i.e on "GETTA F*CK OUTTA HERE!!!!!" I speak mainly in chest, but use headvoice, especially when I'm excited.

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Every one is different. Some poeple speak in the chest voice and others speak in their head voice. Ideally, you should speak in your mix voice. An excellent read on finding your speaking voice is "Change Your Voice, Change Your Life":

 

http://www.amazon.com/Change-Your-Voice-Finding-Natural/dp/0879804416/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1328476967&sr=8-1

 

A good exercise to find your natural pitch is to agree with "Mmm-mmm" as naturally as possible to a simple question like:

 

Are you having a great day?

Do you like pizza?

It's gorgeous outside, isn't it?

 

Etc...

 

My book "Voice Yourself in the Classroom" focuses on that topic but is directed to teachers. All the concepts can be transposed to other vocal disciplines that involve speaking. It's going to be published in the next couple of months. Email me at voiceyourselfintheclassroom@gmail.com if you're interested. Good luck!

 

Val

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