Home Vocal Health and Wellness

Mucus and unwanted rasp

bentkbentk Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 1,649
Hi all,

Anybody notice some issues now and then with 'unwanted' rasp as a result of mucus in the nasal areas/throat?
I especially notice it when sustaining long notes, and especially in chest. It doesn't hurt my ability to hit the notes, and sustain them, but it adds unwanted rasp to the sound. Now the sound isn't 'bad', but i rather not have the rasp.

Naturally, i have this issue to a varying degree. Sometimes notice barely anything or nothing at all, and other times the rasp really takes over the sound. When sustaining a long note, the rasp can creep back in after time, as if the vibrations cause this. I can also feel the mucus. It's less so with head voice.

Would love to hear some thoughts, insights, whatever :)

All the best,



  • WigsWigs Moderator, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 5,015
    I notice in my mid and lower range especially if I am not practicing regularly. It seems like vocal fry or something even though it's not at the very bottom of my range. It takes alot of concentration and air management to get the sound clean. For me it's mostly on the back side of my scales as mentioned in another post rebuilding the rocket ship, I must let go support or allow my cords to get loose or something.
  • DiegoDiego Moderator, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 1,154
    I think it's because of the mucus blocking a full open throat, and creating rasp because of the vibration and lack of space. I has happened to me, and it is really annoying, after a while of warming the voice up it usually goes away.
  • doc_ramadanidoc_ramadani Administrator, 2.0 PRO, Facility Management Posts: 3,978
    Hi @bentk,

    as sorry as I am, I do not believe that I can contribute anything meaningful to your question. I noticed myself the same issue that @Diego mentioned. But for me it is clear while this is happening to me: I am still smoking cigarettes. At the moment I am switching to vaporizing but did still not manage to leave my hands of the cigarettes totally.

    Do you suffer from any known allergies?

    Sorry, that I can not help you with a better answer.

  • bentkbentk Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 1,649
    edited August 2019
    Hey thanks for the replies so far everybody. It's not really that any mucus is 'blocking' my singing, it's just unwanted rasp from the mucus that 'rattles' in the throat or nasal cavities. I also notice that after warmups this can go away. Having some oregano oil (a few drops in a little bit of water) was a really good tip here on the forum, and it's my secret weapon if i really need it. It seems to really open up the cavities and remove some mucus. If you are interested in oregano oil, please do read the package etc. These oils are pretty, well, almost caustic, lol. Very concentrated, and shouldn't be ingested too much. I recommend (as the package says) to mix it with something like honey or water like me. It doesn't really mix with water, as it's an oil, but it's a little less 'burning' that way.

    So i do a good warmup before i sing, but after some down-time from singing (a half hour or hour or so) some mucus could have built up again, causing the rattle to come back. So it can be a bit of a struggle if you have to wait a while before singing again (due to set construction or whatever).

    @Diego it's good to hear that i am not the only one it happens to occasionally. Thanks for letting me know! Anything you do beside the warmup?

    @Wigs I think i recognise what you are saying, it might be the same thing i mentioned as 'rasp creeping back' into the sound, and in your case, on the way down of the scale. However, i don't know if this is a mucus thing for you.

    I also like to avoid eating foods or drink other beverages besides water just before warming up and singing. Sometimes it's not possible, but it's better in my experience.

    Please don't apologise @doc_ramadani , you don't need to. All these replies contribute to the topic. However, you really have to quit smoking! Better not even use e-cigarettes or 'vape' etc. There are very effective programs to stop smoking, as i am sure you know of as a doctor. However, it will of course be difficult to remove such a habit, so i wish you all the best with this struggle.

  • WigsWigs Moderator, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 5,015
    I forgot about the key word of mucus in your discussion so I think you're right that it's something different for me.😎
  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 1,421
    @bentk … How is your hydration level? I find when I keep my yap open too long, I start to dry out. This in turn can yield rasp. I tend to try to counter this with Aloe Vera juice when I feel it coming on, as it settles everything down quickly.
    I live in a pretty arid locale, so I actually have to be cognizant of this now.
  • bentkbentk Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 1,649

    Hey Phil, good to hear from you!
    I try to keep myself hydrated, but it's possible that it's still a factor. When i go to a rehearsal i usually drink pretty well before hand, and during the rehearsal itself. And coming to think of it, it's usually not that my throat is dry. When this rasp is prevalent, i usually feel the phlegm in my nasal cavities and throat. I just need to get rid of it, so i use the oregano oil or/and drink a lot of water. I will also take my eating more into account. Especially not eating too soon before warming up and singing.

    I tried the aloe vera juice before, and it's really nice stuff. It's just usually loaded with sugar. There are some that use sweetener though, which i am not a fan of. But even though it's sweet, it still soothes the throat it seems.

    And just to make it clear, i don't have this problem all the time, and to varying degrees. If a tiny amount of rasp creeps in now and then, i don't mind. It's barely noticeable then.

    Maybe, if i have down-time during singing or rehearsals, i should just do some lip burbles now and then to keep the throat clear.

    Thanks for all the input!
  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 1,421
    Good stuff!
    One thing about Aloe juice, is that is helps to recover from reflux flare-ups :+
  • samw2019samw2019 2.0 PRO Posts: 285
    Hi, good to be training, I'm trying to stop/heavy cut down smoking myself, it's more difficult than I thought, so it probably accounts for my own rasp which I think I get at certain points on scales.

    But before getting the course after trying to sing heavy rock I got almost husky after practicing even speaking and I found the scales in the technique really cleaned me up so hopefully your training could remove rasp even if that's when it comes out doing certain notes at the difficult points.

    I'm learning the Volume 1 myself so don't know too much to offer anyone else advice, and I smoke like I say, but it immediately started cleaning up my voice after starting, first with the youtube scales and then 10-fold with the training proper. Difficult for me to say for more difficult exercises people are doing in the later volumes especially. But mucus is probably easier to clean up, this oregano oil sounds interesting for emergencies I think. Anyway I was outright cracking and voice breaking before I started which is gone now! All the best
  • DogMeatDogMeat 2.0 PRO Posts: 437
    I experience the exact same thing that @bentk described. Extra rasp, and for me it's limiting the head voice a bit. I don't eat anything before singing, and for example today i had my intermitting fasting going on and hadn't eaten in 16 hours or so. Had plenty of water so i was hydrated. Taking a day off cleans it properly, but need to experiment with those quick hacks.
  • Klaus_TKlaus_T Moderator, 2.0 PRO Posts: 2,287
    have you ever tried using a neti pot? i use it for seasonal allergy relief, I'd imagine it might help with your issue there too...
  • bentkbentk Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 1,649
    What helps me the best so far is drinking plenty (the whole day, not just during singing) and warming up. Sometimes i already start doing some lip rolls well before i start my workout, which may help. I get the feeling that it kind of loosens up the mucus, but don't quote me on that. It's not the only exercise that helps, but it's low volume and easy going.

    Of course, i can't be 100% sure of everything as every day is different, but drinking enough seems to be a vital component (obviously). Enough may be different for everyone, but i tend to drink plenty, especially when i know i am going to sing on that given day.

    Drinking warm water with lemon, or using the aforementioned oregano oil are things i rather not depend on. So there is more reason to warm up well and drink plenty --> if that doesn't work, i can use something else.
  • DogMeatDogMeat 2.0 PRO Posts: 437
    Now that i think of it, this also starts happening to me if i practice & sing intensively for few days in a row. Time to rest i think.
  • doc_ramadanidoc_ramadani Administrator, 2.0 PRO, Facility Management Posts: 3,978
    Hi mates,

    like Ben I drink a LOT of room-temperature water. Normally I drink 1.5 Liter water during my Volume 3 exercises (the Audio exercises with Ken) which take me 2 hours 15 minutes. I have a special bottle for that. Sonja and I call it the LAH-AH-bottle. :smile:

  • DogMeatDogMeat 2.0 PRO Posts: 437
    That is a lot of water @doc_ramadani . I think i'll try to increase the amount.
  • bentkbentk Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 1,649
    @DogMeat The rasp i am talking about in this topic is not something that gets worse because of over-working the voice. It really is because of mucus, rattling about and distorting the sound.

    @doc_ramadani I don't drink quite that much of water during my exercises, but i can drink several glasses for sure. For me, it's important to stay hydrated the whole day. I just make sure my throat is 'lubricated' during my exercises and singing, AND being well hydrated before i started working out.

    As far as my knowledge goes, drinking more than 2L of water in a day is a good thing. Sure, you'll have an extra toilet break or two.
  • doc_ramadanidoc_ramadani Administrator, 2.0 PRO, Facility Management Posts: 3,978
    Sure, you'll have an extra toilet break or two.

    Have you installed a Webcam in my house? :joy:
  • kylevox1987kylevox1987 2.0 PRO Posts: 39
    I'm with you on the unwanted rasp. I seem to be getting it lately, more so on the second gig on the weekend. It's as though the first gig has loosened a lot of sinus mucus then the next gig it's more in the way than usual! I can sing through a gig, but it's a pest and certain areas of my voice suffer for it!
  • SandyeSandye Member Posts: 1
    Bentk, sorry to hear about this. Vocal rest can do a lot of good indeed. Also, use vocal techniques that help you not press too much air through your vocal cords. I also had the same problem and I consulted a laryngologist. He advised me to have guai-aid tablets, which were very effective. It helped to clear off the mucus and unwanted rasp.
  • bentkbentk Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 1,649
    Interesting! This whole rasp thing is actually becoming less of an issue, especially on a warmed-up voice. It's still there at times, but generally it has improved.
Sign In or Register to comment.