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Why do older voices sometimes quaver?

JennieG 30 Apr 15 - 05:11 PM
GUEST,# 30 Apr 15 - 05:44 PM
Deckman 30 Apr 15 - 06:05 PM
Steve Gardham 30 Apr 15 - 06:08 PM
Don Firth 30 Apr 15 - 06:13 PM
Don Firth 30 Apr 15 - 06:29 PM
GUEST 30 Apr 15 - 07:08 PM
Deckman 30 Apr 15 - 07:22 PM
GUEST,.Gargoyle 30 Apr 15 - 07:54 PM
Don Firth 30 Apr 15 - 08:14 PM
Sandra in Sydney 01 May 15 - 02:14 AM
GUEST,Desi C 01 May 15 - 03:57 AM
Jim Carroll 01 May 15 - 04:47 AM
artbrooks 01 May 15 - 09:57 AM
JennieG 01 May 15 - 05:40 PM
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Subject: Why do older voices sometimes quaver?
From: JennieG
Date: 30 Apr 15 - 05:11 PM

While waiting in line yesterday I was listening to an older lady talking, and her speaking voice was quite quavery - not an uncommon thing in older people. It set me thinking......why does this happen in some voices as we age? What causes it? More importantly, if you notice your own voice beginning to shake when talking or singing (no, I'm not), is it possible to reverse that?


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Subject: RE: Why do older voices sometimes quaver?
From: GUEST,#
Date: 30 Apr 15 - 05:44 PM

JennieG, I think it comes down to muscle control and breathing. Just a guess.


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Subject: RE: Why do older voices sometimes quaver?
From: Deckman
Date: 30 Apr 15 - 06:05 PM

Actually, I think it's because we simply have outlived our usefullness and we should all be put away! bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: Why do older voices sometimes quaver?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Apr 15 - 06:08 PM

Yes, we do tend to get rather crotchety and have a minimum of tolerance.


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Subject: RE: Why do older voices sometimes quaver?
From: Don Firth
Date: 30 Apr 15 - 06:13 PM

There may be a number of causes, but a major one is weakness in the diaphragm, the large dome-shaped muscle under the lungs.

Most people (non-singers, non-actors) tend to breathe shallowly. Good "diaphragmatic breathing" feels like you're breathing with your abdomen. The diaphragm moves down when you inhale, pushing your abdominal organs downward and outward, back up and in when you exhale. [Watch the abdomen of a sleeping dog. They good use diaphragmatic breathing naturally.]

Voice students hear a lot about the diaphragm from their voice teachers, who give them exercises to strengthen and control that particular muscle. That's the key to that all-important issue of "breath control" for singers of any genre, opera, pop, OR folk.

Breath control is also important for actors, particularly stage actors (you want your lines to be heard beyond the third row without sounding like you're shouting).

Russian bass Mark Reisen's voice was still strong and without a quaver at the age of ninety.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Why do older voices sometimes quaver?
From: Don Firth
Date: 30 Apr 15 - 06:29 PM

Mark Reizen sings an aria from Tchaikovsky's opera Eugene Onegin at age 90.

I should sound so good!!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Why do older voices sometimes quaver?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Apr 15 - 07:08 PM

Quite often, it is a result of Spasmodic Dysphonia


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Subject: RE: Why do older voices sometimes quaver?
From: Deckman
Date: 30 Apr 15 - 07:22 PM

I still think it's because we've lived TOO LONG!


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Subject: RE: Why do older voices sometimes quaver?
From: GUEST,.Gargoyle
Date: 30 Apr 15 - 07:54 PM

CRAP ! ! !

You are suggesting that the "Tremello" I refined for forty years (pretending to be Irish) and coaxed out of an accordinion AND through my larynax...would have settled down, naturally, with age.

Blessed be....that ministering has settled into a true tone.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


.ministering of whisky has produced a most unnatural sound


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Subject: RE: Why do older voices sometimes quaver?
From: Don Firth
Date: 30 Apr 15 - 08:14 PM

Garg, "quaver" and "vibrato" are two different things. They may sound similar at times, but they have different causes.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Why do older voices sometimes quaver?
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 01 May 15 - 02:14 AM

some years back I heard 2 nonagenarians on the radio.

One was a retired actor, but her voice was still true even tho she apologised a few times for forgetting something. One thing she had not forgotten was breathing & voice control.

The other was a man with a very quavery voice.

As I'm a very shallow breather, I expect to get to the quavery stage in later years - unless my physio manages to hammer diaphragmatic breathing into me! I really try to breathe deeply & slowly ...


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Subject: RE: Why do older voices sometimes quaver?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 01 May 15 - 03:57 AM

Basically the voice is muscle, and as with all muscles they get weak with ageing. Vocal exercises can help a lot and can keep the voice strong for quite a long time if used regularly. You can find plenty of such methods free on line, try You Tube and such sites


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Subject: RE: Why do older voices sometimes quaver?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 May 15 - 04:47 AM

"Vocal exercises can help a lot and can keep the voice strong for quite a long time if used regularly"
Totally agree.
I stopped singing regularly about thirty years ago (to do something else) and have now, over the last few years begun to resurrect m repertoire.
My voice hadn't become particularly quavery, but it had lost much of its strength, so I embarked on the voice exercises I had learned in the sixties - didn't take too long to get it back - not to where it was. but certainly usable in a session.
I also found that my range had reduced and I had lost a couple of my best songs (Flying Cloud and Sheffield Apprentice - both extremely rangy) - can sing them with no problem now.
The exercises we used were - 4 vowel-like sounds to produce a clear flow of air and several short singing exercises - a piece of Gilbert and Sullivan (speed and articulation), 2 pieces of Wagner (long and short intervals and range) and a piece of mouth music, same as Wagner but more fun, and breath control)
Singing a selected piece in one breath (n my case, a verse and chorus of Rocky Road to Dublin) is not only a good way of controlling breath expulsion, but it is a fair indication of the actual condition of your voice.
There are others, but I suppose you could work out some of your own.
In all, the whole lot takes about twenty minutes to run through and once you have them mastered, they can be used only when you need them, unless you sing a great deal, then they should become a regular practice - daily even.
A short routine of relaxation exercises works wonders too
The secret is to find your 'natural' voice and learn to control it and take it where you need to.
Not as arduous as it sounds and, for me, it really has helped me get aback to singing.
Good luck
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why do older voices sometimes quaver?
From: artbrooks
Date: 01 May 15 - 09:57 AM

Herself has been diagnosed as having an 'essential tremor'. It is treatable, but not curable. More here: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000762.htm


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Subject: RE: Why do older voices sometimes quaver?
From: JennieG
Date: 01 May 15 - 05:40 PM

Never heard of that one, Art......getting older is not for sissies, is it?


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