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GUEST,Val What Makes a Folk Voice? (167* d) RE: What Makes a Folk Voice? 18 Nov 08

From: VirginiaTam
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 12:13 PM

"You can turn vibrato off and on like a tap? Somebody teach me how.
Vibrato for me is uncontrollable trembling."

I'm no voice coach, so take any advice with a BIG grain of salt...

Remember that all the control of your voice involves muscles - tensioning the vocal chords, pushing air through them from your lungs (diaphragm and/or ribcage muscles), shaping your mouth & throat, etc. So what causes "uncontrolled trembling" in certain muscles? (I'm assuming this only happens when you're singing and is not due to a neurological condition).

Try this experiment: put your palms together in front of your chest then PRESS hard - as hard as you can. Do your arms start trembling? It's a normal reaction to muscles that are overly stressed but can't move.

OK, how do you apply this lesson to singing? If your voice quivers, it might be because some muscles are excessively tensed and working against each other. Try relaxing as much as possible - thinking about every muscle in your face, neck, throat, and chest (good posture is necessary so you can relax with your head balanced on your spine). Now, when relaxed, try to sing a note. Don't worry about tone, or which note, or projection - just get a constant sound. Do you still have the uncontrollable quivering? If so, can you feel what muscles are twitching? Can you focus your attention on them and "will" them to relax? If you don't have the quiver, try tightening up various muscles in your neck or chest one-at-a-time (or as close to that as you can manage) until you find the quiver again - then you'll know what part of your body you need to focus on relaxing to avoid the quiver during performance.

Once you have the issue identified, you can practice increasing volume, changing tone, singing on pitch, etc while keeping in mind how to prevent the quiver (it'll take practice to get your body out of its current habit patterns).

As for turning vibrator or tremelo "on & off", most people control vibrato with the throat muscles that control pitch from the vocal chords, but you can also use the back of the tongue or the overall mouth shape to change the tone somewhat. Tremelo (variation in volume, not pitch) is controlled mainly by the diaphragm.

As I said - singing is an athletic activity that requires use of various muscle groups. One really big key to better results is to work on conditioning those muscles for strength and endurance, to use the muscles you need in an efficient manner, and to relax the parts of your body that are not being used so they don't interfere with the parts that are working. (Yeah, I know... that's a straight line for some snarky comments - fire away!)

Then again, I could be full of BS. Play around with some ideas & see if they work for you, and feel free to ignore my idiocy if it doesn't work.


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