Singing Better

Vocal Quality and Registers

 

There are of course, many other websites on singing and vocal production which have much valuable information.  But......


My goal in this Topic, is to deal with an area that is seldom clearly dealt with - the relationship of vocal registers to tone quality.  This area can dramatically and quickly improve your singing quality. 


DIRECT APPROACH vs. INDIRECT APPROACHES

I find Understanding the Registers in a Direct Approach is very helpful.   Most voice teachers use a variety of  Indirect Approaches to get after the register problems  They use a great deal of imagery such as “sing thru the top of your head”, or “Imagine the sound going across the whole room”, or “Only let warm air come out your mouth”, etc.  If these indirect approaches work, that’s fine but I find that frequently they simply don’t accomplish the task and waste a lot of time.  Thus, i prefer a more direct approach in tone quality by working directly on register control


VOCAL REGISTERS

There are basically two vocal registers - the Modal (Regular) and the Falsetto register.  Actually there are two other registers but they are essentially unusable for singing.  They are the Vocal Fry and the Whistle register.  If you are interested in these latter two registers, Google “Vocal Registers” in Wikipedia as we will primarily deal with the Modal and Falsetto registers.


VOCAL REGISTER ANATOMY

There are small muscles in the voice box that make the change between the Modal (Regular) Register and the Falsetto Register.  Usually the falsetto register is thought of as the extreme high register only in male singers but women also have it too.  (We’ll discuss this on the next page).  I don’t find that getting into an anatomical understanding of the voice box is that helpful.  Rather the goal is to feel the muscular changes between the modal and the falsetto registers in the voice box.  I call these muscles the “falsetto register change muscles


These “falsetto register change muscles” have more uses than just producing the high register.  These muscles need to be properly adjusted for best singing in the modal register also. 


A COMMON VOCAL PROBLEM

In untrained singers there is a tendency to hold these muscles, stationary or almost stationary - not changing them thru the range of ascending and descending pitches.  This clamping tends to give a strident, heavy quality to their tone, particularly as they reach higher notes.  Instead there should be a gradual change in these muscles as the pitch changes  - that is, unless you are trying to yodel - as yodeling is abruptly changing between the modal and falsetto register.  These muscles should also gradually change as we change dynamics from loud to soft.


To isolate and understand these muscles, it is extremely valuable to gain control of the falsetto and the passaggio  The passaggio is the technical term for the break area between the modal and falsetto registers. 

                                    I would love to hear from you. 

                          I appreciate any comments or suggestions.

                                   tednorton@roadrunner.com