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Problems with head voice

Hello,

I've been studying the KTVA for almost 4 months now. First of all, I can notice significant improvement in my control of chest voice thanks to this program. My singing is much brighter, but not complete.

I've been trying to connect my chest voice with my head voice for a while now, but all that I can get is an airy sound. Yeah, JUST an airy sound without any voice sound. When I say total absence of voice, I mean, TOTAL, not out of tune. Even the "falsetto" doesn't work for me.
I would like to get some piece of advice of what should I do.

It is discouraging, because it leads me to make the silly assumption that I have NO head voice/falsetto. Is it possible? Have you ever faced that situation? Could it be nodules ( I don't notice any problem at my chest voice, rough , sore, nothing at all)?

I would be glad with any help!

Thank so much!

Comments

  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,464Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    Andre,

    Have you ever been able to access your head voice, or did you have it and lost it?

    Please post a sample (video preferred) so we can see/hear what's going on with your voice.

    All the Best!

    Bob
  • andrecastilhoandrecastilho Posts: 8Member
    Hey Bob,
    first of all, thank you for your quick response.
    Sorry for the delay, but I thought the forum actions would send me an alert by email, so I haven't check the forum out before.

    Well, frankly speaking, I don't know if I "had " my head voice before, because I play guitar, so I used to sing just for fun. That's the first time I'm actually investing my time to go to the next level. I might have accessed it before, but without a doubt it wasn't in a controlled way. By the way, as it may be your next question, I have never stressed too much my voice in concerts or that kind of things while trying to sing .

    I have just posted this video as you asked me in order to illustrate what I'm trying to explain. Even though I'm not a native english speaker, I've lived abroad for a while, so it has been quite easy to understand Ken Tamplin's videos:



    Thank you for your help!

    André
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,464Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    @andrecastilho

    Andre,
    You are not releasing into your head voice. Do me a favor, and please post, just like you did this video, one of you doing the same scale, but with the lip burbles. I want to hear you do that. Take the burbles even higher if you can.

    Thanks.

    Bob
  • andrecastilhoandrecastilho Posts: 8Member
    Hey Bob,

    thank you for your answer.
    In fact, I usually have more control while I'm doing the lip burbles, so I can take it higher (as I did in the video) than when I'm actually singing words.
    However, I can't do this without using my hands to help me.

    Here it is:



    I hope it helps !

    Thanks!

    André
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,464Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    OK. Thank you, André, for doing as I asked.

    You do have a head voice and you were able to access it fine on the lip burbles. You went through your Primo Passaggio into your mid voice around C#4, and around F#4 you went through your Secondo Passaggio, into your head voice. You went all the way up to about D5 in head voice before you started losing your notes.

    In your LAH scale, you seem to not know how to release from your chest voice into your head voice, so your throat just kind of closes and you aren't making any sound through your cords. That's probably because you don't know what to do. Your voice knows what to do when you are doing the lip burbles. It just goes on into head voice.

    Any time you are doing a lip burble, you can switch on that burble to "uh" or "Ah" and then switch right back to the burble. I would like for you to get up to about G4 on the burble, and then just move your hand and let your voice make the note instead of the burble sound. "Uh" is OK, because that's kind of the vowel we are already making when we do a burble. So just get up to F#4 or G4 and go:

    b-b-b-b-b-Uhhhhhhhh-b-b-b-b-b (where b-b-b-b-b is you burbling.) You should be able to discover what it feels like to sing those notes (that you have Proved that you CAN hit by burbling them). Do you see what I'm saying? You just burbled a good D5. That means you can sing a D5 in head voice, you just don't know how yet, but your voice knows how when you burble it.

    So I think you're going to have to relax some and let your throat remain open as you get to and through your secondo passaggio. Relax. It won't bite. Open up. Let the air flow and let your notes feel like they are riding on a cushion of air. It may feel funny, and it may even sound funny to you, because you aren't used to it. But it sounds OK to me, and I know you can do it. You have what it takes.

    Practice the lip burbles all you need to and know that from about F4 or F#4 on up, you are in head voice. Later, as you realize that you can free up your head voice, you will want to kind of stop doing that and instead start working on opening up your throat and STAYING in chest voice even higher, so that you can stretch your chest voice up to about D5. You will really have to work to relax enough to get to those notes in chest, but it's entirely possible if you just take it easy and work at it a little bit at a time.

    All the Best!

    Bob
  • andrecastilhoandrecastilho Posts: 8Member
    Hello Bob!

    First of all, thank you so much for your detailed answer! It really encouraged me to keep going.

    I'll just rephrase some of your pieces of advice in order to make sure I understood is all correctly, ok?!

    First, when you mention that I reached notes like C4 or any other reference. Did you mean, I was playing this Chord (e.g. C) when I reached the "main" note ( Like Chord C, head note C3,C5,C4) OR any other note that composes the Chord ( For example C = [ C + E + G ])- So in the second option I might have not played C(Chord) when I reached C4. I don't have the technical words to explain this in english, but I hope I made myself clear. I just want to make sure I was able to identify on the video my first passagio and second passagio .

    Secondly, while I was burbling, the sound that I was "singing in head voice" was a falsetto. Am I right?

    Thirdly,I think I was able to release my head voice while trying your exercise ( b-b-b-b-b-uh-uh-uh-uh-b-b-b-b). However, is it ok if the sound/voice (singing "Uh") is hoarse/rusty? Or is it possible that the main reason of this issue was a nodule in my voice chord?

    And Finally, in my case that I have been struggling to release my head voice , the best way is to practice the chest voice and head voice/falsetto separately, and build the bridge after that. Did I get it correctly?
    I'm asking you that because in the video class about building the bridge, Ken Tamplin talks about stretching the chest voice as far as I can before releasing to the head voice. However, in my case it's better to build them separated and connected them afterwards. Right?!

    Sorry for being inquisitive, but it seems that I'm gonna find the technique after that =)

    All the best,
    André

  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,464Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    André,

    When you are singing the arpeggios, of 1, 3, 5, 8, 5, 3, 1 on a typical LAH scale (or burble scale) on the C scale, for example that would be C3, E3, G3, C4, G3, E3, C3.

    On that scale, you would not be up to your problem area where you are choking up and unable to sing. You are choking up around F4.

    So when you got to a scale that would take you to or above F4, you will have to go into head voice (Until you start stretching your chest voice).

    Because you are having trouble sorting this out, I DO think you need to figure out how to know how to get into head voice, so you can get past this block that is stopping you from making progress. THEN you need to get with the program and resume working on stretching your chest voice.

    So, for example, on a lip roll that starts at C4, you will roll on C4, E4, G4, C5, G4, E4, and C4. On that lip roll, the part that goes G4, C5, G4 will all be in head voice. You did that just fine in your burble video. If you sing it on a LAH, the same notes will be in head voice, just like they were with a burble. Because you just choke up and can't go any further, it would be better for you to go into head voice, just to get your headvoice kick-started. Learn that it's there and that you need to be able to use it. THEN go back and start working on extending your chest voice up higher, one note at a time. That process takes months at best, years in some cases. You will reach limits, and it goes very slowly, but it does slowly build your chest voice range.

    Yes, what you call "falsetto" is head voice. Falsetto is actually an airy form of head voice. Normal head voice is not as airy as falsetto, but for now, calling head voice falsetto at least serves to give you something to aim for.

    As to the "rusty" sound, it's probably more a matter of you not using this part of the voice enough. Keep working it, LIGHTLY, and see if some of the rust begins to clean up. Don't become fearful of nodes, unless you have been doing a lot of loud singing or screaming that may have caused you some damage. Most singers who worry that they have nodes actually don't have them. If that condition persists, then see a doctor.

    I think you should practice singing through the passagio or bridge and learn how to smooth the transition from one register to the other smoothly.

    Then, back to stretching chest voice.

    All the Best.

    Bob
  • andrecastilhoandrecastilho Posts: 8Member
    Bob,
    thank you again for your quick and detailed answer! Without a doubt it is insightful!
    Now I'm sure to fully understand my "path"

    As I see, now it is just a matter of time and practice to get to the level that I want.
    Do you recommend any other exercise or should I just stick with this one until I get full control of my voice range?

    Thank you again for your help!

    All the best,
    André
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,464Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    André,

    You will find the lip burbles and tongue exercises, when done lightly, will help you to transition into head voice and back to chest easily. Get good at practicing going up and down and into head voice and back to chest in these exercises, and learn what it feels like to shift into head and back to chest. Then, lightly try to do it on the Lah. If you get stuck again, like you were in your first video, then do the b-b-b-b-b-b-uhhhhhhhhh-b-b-b-b exercise and get yourself able to make sound on an AH vowel when you are in head voice.

    Once you can establish that you Can sing ah vowels in head voice as well as chest voice, try some of the other Lah exercises, just to give yourself a starting point. Then, get with the program and start stretching your chest voice up to higher notes, and trying to avoid the inability to make sound at or above an F4. It may take you a while to be able to do an F4 and then an F#4 in chest voice, but if you start out gently and be persistent, you will be on your way.

    Bob
  • andrecastilhoandrecastilho Posts: 8Member
    Bob,
    thank you so much! I got your point. Now it's time to work my vocal muscles in order to strengthen them. That's what makes them able to "open" new areas of my throat and allow the sound to pass. Am I right? I realize this, because at this point I can sing higher notes in Uh vowel, but when I switch it to Lah (like b-b-b-b-b-uh-uh-uh-uh-ah-ah-ah-ah-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-b-b-b-b) the sound is still missing( in AH part) and I go back to the starting point. Is it ok and just a matter of time to strengthen my muscles and "open" them to make space to LAH sounds, right?!

    Thanks
    André
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,464Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    André,

    Give it a try to go "b-b-b-b-b-b-awwwwwww-b-b-b-b-b , using the first modification of Aw or "o" as in loft. It may be that because of how high it is that you are having trouble with a pure "ah".

    You do need to "allow" the sound to pass. If you have stricture in your throat, you will choke on the note. Try to relax more as you go up in pitch.

    AH is an important vowel, and you want to become as relaxed as you can be with it.

    Bob
  • andrecastilhoandrecastilho Posts: 8Member
    Bob,
    sorry if I didn't understand properly. But, If I can sing higher Uhh ("enclosed) sounds than Ahh ("open") sounds, it doesn't indicate a weakness in the muscles of my throat?! so I have to strengthen them with time... I mean, it is all about vowel modification of all vowel. So it doesn't have anything to do with how strong my muscles of the throat are in order to make some room for "open" vowels like Ah?

    I don't know if I made myself clear .

    Thanks
    André
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,464Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    @andrecastilho,

    André,

    We want the AH to be as OPEN and BRIGHT as possible when we start down low in pitch. But as we begin to get higher (could be around E4, F4, F#4, G4) we have to "Close" some of that "Open-ness". The sound gets smaller, so we do have to "enclose" it just slightly. This is a very slight amount of "closure" while STILL remaining very open. It's hard to express in a way that I know you will understand. When I say "close" I don't mean to "SHUT" it. I mean that it slightly gets a little smaller, but is still very open. It's a combination of Open and closed, degrees of Open-ness...

    So as you modify, as the pitch goes higher, the upper back portion of the throat (back of the mouth, behind the uvula) becomes a little deeper and more narrow. It goes from AH to Aw, as in loft. Then Aw closes a little bit down to oo. Then oo closes a little bit more down to OOh. Each time it closes a little more it is a very small amount of closure, and the difference in the sound is so small that it is very hard to hear clearly, but it helps the higher notes to ring out better.

    So it's not as much about how strong your throat muscles are, it's about making the right shape for the sound to ring better.

    You know how you can hold your hands together in a certain shape and blow air in them and make a "hoot" sound? That's kind of what you do with vowel modifications, only instead of using your hands to make the hoot, you use the muscles in the back of your throat to re-shape that area to form a "pocket" that resonates better on those notes.

    I hope this helps you to understand.

    All the Best.

    Bob
  • andrecastilhoandrecastilho Posts: 8Member
    Bob,

    thank you so much for explaining me again and putting it in another words.
    Now I understand that I just have to practice until I figure out a way to make the Ah sound as "enclosed" and Oh sound. I'll keep trying until I find the right place and shape of these vowel modifications. Because At first I supposed it was just a matter of time and the strength of my muscles would work it out. I I thought I was doing it correctly, but I'll watch again the Ken Tamplin's video class.

    Thanks a lot!!

    All the best,
    André
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