Being a Singer

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Elements of good vocal technique

At the start of this book we mentioned the vocal wish-list we get from attendees at our regular introductory seminars. These are attributes of the voice we all want: here's a reminder of the list:

 

Here's the list again:

  1. Power-not breathy
  2. Range
  3. Expressivity
  4. Clear words
  5. Not run out of breath
  6. No breaks or weak areas
  7. Individuality/Uniqueness
  8. Attractive, rich tone
  9. Mobility/Ease of singing
  10. Accurate pitch

 

We have spoken at length about 'The Singing Voice' and by now you will have developed an understanding of the elements and processes involved in the production of the Singing Voice through correct vocal function.

All of the items on the wish-list begin to be addressed once vocal function is close to correct. If there is still tension or distortion in your throat, non-resonant or non-normalised vowels, or lack of cord-closure, the delicate sensations by which the voice is controlled will be masked by the much more powerful sensations of throat closure,or breath depletion. With the throat relaxed, it is as if the 'control panel' for the voice becomes clear to us, and we begin to be able to utilise many new devices for creating the exact stylisation we need.

Among the controls an advanced singer uses are:

  • Control of breath pressure - controls loudness and 'drive'
  • Control of cord closure - controls intensity from breathy to bold
  • Control of the vowel in the throat - controls weight or 'colour'
  • Control of the vowel in the mouth - controls brightness or 'cut'

If we look at a list of attributes of the Singing Voice, we can see how a good singing voice fundamentally answers many of the wishes. For some of the wishes, good vocal function is the enabling factor that allows the singer to gain advanced skills.

  Wish List  Benefits of learning to produce Full Singing Voice 
1

Power-not breathy

Is inherently powerful
2

Range

Is expressed over the full vocal range
3

Expressivity

 The full voice is a powerful natural means of expression of emotional content between humans.
4

Clear words

 The easing of throat and mouth tension means that words can be clearly produced without distortion
5

Not run out of breath

Uses breath efficiently
6

No breaks or weak areas

 The bridge areas become the best sounding parts of the range

7

Individuality/Uniqueness

 The sound of the naturally produced voice is as unique to each individual as their face.
8

Attractive, rich tone

 Full voice is by definition attractive and rich
9

Mobility/Ease of singing

 The easing of throat tension and the understanding of the 'controls' of the voice allow melodic flexibility with ease
10 Accurate pitch  The full voice can only be produced when the ear is sensitised and all systems are fully functioning... pitch therefore becomes naturally accurate.