The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #47666   Message #712370
Posted By: Mark Clark
17-May-02 - 12:22 PM
Thread Name: Help: Problem with head voice
Subject: RE: Help: Problem with head voice
I'm always excited to see these threads about singing. I read them carefully and add the threads to my tracer so I can find them again. Still, most of the time I can't really figure out exactly what you're all talking about.

I have been told to use my diaphragm since I was a small boy in church choir but I've never figured out what it might feel like to use one's diaphragm or how to know whether I'm doing it or not. I think I can feel the difference between what you are calling the “head voice” and what you call the “chest voice” but I'm never sure. I also don't know exactly how that relates to falsetto singing except that it relates to head voice.

I'm sure I must use these techniques—although probably not correctly—because I can sing a fairly low country song or a fairly high bluegrass lead and I use different muscles to do each of those. I also can through in a falsetto note when necessary and can do Jimmie Rodgers style yodeling at need. I sing tenor in our Byzantine a cappella Church choir but the highest note I'm comfortable singing is F. I've hit G on occasion but it's touch and go. Fortunately, very little Byzantine music asks the tenor to sing higher than that.

Most of my singing, though, is bluegrass, country or blues and I usually try to adapt my singing to the way I think the song should sound rather than adapt the song to my voice. If I can't sing the song pretty close to “right,” I'd just as soon not sing. The odd thing is that when I'm singing bluegrass, I can sing much higher than I can in choir. Of course in bluegrass I'm trying to sing as high and powerfully as I can manage and in choir I'm trying to blend in with the group.

Still, the muscle control and thought process is entirely different between these forms of singing. I've found I can take in a great deal of air, tighten my abdominal muscles, relax my throat and generate some power when I need to and that seems to make higher notes easier to hit. It also seem to me that quite notes don't have much tone (timbre?) unless a lot of extra air is expended at the same time. Louder notes seem easier to sing with tone.

As for all the Italian words to describe the mechanics of singing, I'm probably not likely at this point to learn the jargon. I really need some way to translate the necessary muscle control parameters into the sensations I might feel when doing things correctly. For instance, I understand the physical concept of a standing wave and I believe I can tell when I am generating a standing wave through my vocal apparatus. Powerful singing is much easier if a standing wave can be produced.

My question really is whether there is any way for me to work on technique in an organized way or should I just “mess around” as I have always done and try to remember what works and what doesn't?

Does any of this make sense?

      - Mark