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Resonance: Here's One you may not have seen...

highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro Posts: 14,933

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  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro Posts: 14,933

    My opinion on that is that the Swedish-Italian method of classical singing is a big proponent of the NG Tongue position.  KTVA does not support the NG tongue position, because the NG position closes off the Open Throat.  Ken looks for us to keep the Vocal Tract as open as possible as much of the time as possible.

    This video is interesting in that regard, because it clearly proposes an Open Throat as essential in resonance, and then goes on to suggest that the NG is a good thing.  I've used the NG in the past, as has Ken, but now find the flat or concave tongue to be more useful in the Open Throat method.  Good point, John. 

    Also, there is the section in the video on the Jaw.  KTVA does advocate an open jaw, but not to the point that it begins to interfere with the larynx or introduce tension in the throat or jaw.  New students, early on, are encouraged to really, really open the jaw up.  Because they are not used to singing with an open jaw, this can bring on a little stretching feeling, that may feel awkward.  After opening up wide for a while, this becomes more natural and comfortable, and should not be overexaggerated.  You will find that a more open jaw does invite more resonance, especially when relaxed and open, and especially as the notes ascend.

    Notice also the point made about the raising of the soft palate (uvula) to reduce nasal sound and enrich the high notes.  That's why we want our uvula to go up when we get high, to prevent excessive nasality.

    There is much food for thought in this two-part video.  Mostly, what is resonanace and how does it really work?

     

    Bob

     

  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro Posts: 14,933

    Yes, John.  I've seen the information on other sites warning about pushing down the larynx with the tongue.

    I don't know why anyone would do that in the first place.  The larynx can be lowered or centered without doing it with the tongue.  The tongue and larynx CAN move in tandem, but they don't have to.  With the flattened tongue forward and touching the back of the front lower teeth, that can move the back of the tongue away from the back of the throat, which is one of the goals in Open Throat. 

    In the NG position, you can likewise move the back of the tongue forward, but the rise of the tongue to keep the "N" part of NG happening as much as possible as the default home position effectively keeps the tongue just off the roof of the juncture of the soft and hard palates.  This is popular among styles that rely upon NAY, NAY, NAY, and NG, NG, NG for tonal quality.  These configurations do not promote an unobstructed, open vocal tract.  They are more closely related to restricted or clamped-down techniques.

    As to what the NG does to your tone, do the NG and pinch off your nose and see what happens. 

    : ^ )

     

    Bob 

  • ragnarragnar Pro Posts: 410
    @highmtn @johnjohn

    I hear what you're saying Bob and definitely agree that the way NG is used in the speech-based courses promotes a terribly weak pinched sound.

    However, and I'm guessing you have more experience with this than I have, isn't the whole opera Bel Canto approach based solidly upon an open throat as well? When I hear top level tenors singing, they to me always have a wonderfully big and unrestricted timbre.
    So the question to me then becomes: what exactly is the goal of using NG in bel canto?
    Some of it may have to do with the language differences (I don't speak Italian), but it seems to be so much of a cornerstone that there must be more to it.

    Disclaimer: Now let mention that I've been experimenting quite a lot with this the last couple of months, with some success (how much still depends on whether I can keep improving it to the point I'm hoping), and I do have my own theory on this. But I think I will hold off on elaborating until you guys have had your ideas voiced.

    - Ragnar.
  • ragnarragnar Pro Posts: 410
    @johnjohn

    Very interesting. I personally always found the Ng position unhelpful because my whole tongue and related pharynx-areas would just tense up completely. Now after I've finally learned how to not strain, I'm finding it incredibly useful in finally developing some overtones to balance out my very chest-dominant voice. I'm still far from the finish, but it feels like the biggest missing piece of the puzzle.
    You mention David L. Jones - I love his writing, although it can be difficult to convert word theory to actual vocalization for me.

    Here are some excerpts from a recent facebook post of his:

    David L. Jones - July 13, 2014: On Lindquest’s ‘NG’ Tongue Position
    "I can remember my study with Allan Lindquest years ago quite well... ...One statement that he kept repeating to me over and over was, “Breathe in the ‘ng’ tongue position, and pronounce in the ‘ng’ tongue position...
    ...But what he meant by this statement should not be taken literally. The tongue should never be frozen in position because clear articulation would be impossible. The tongue must be free to move in vowel-consonant relationship. What Lindquest was truly saying was to “keep the arch in the middle of the tongue (as in the ‘ng’) so that the higher overtones can be realized in tonal production.” We all know that the tongue is not arched for every vowel, but this was just a general image to keep me from dropping the back of the tongue so extremely...

    ... So he gave me exercises that would move from ‘ng’ to vowels. For example, he would have me sing ‘ng-i, ng-e, ng-a, ng-o, ng-u’ on a 5-tone descending scale.

    ...Some singers, especially those with a history of an extremely high larynx position, need another thought besides the ‘ng’, because their tongue-root is too high, toward the roof of the mouth...
    ... Later, after working on relaxing the tongue-root a little lower, work on the ‘ng’ especially when using the image of the ‘ng’ being produced with the middle of the tongue.

    My first work with a singer is on the laryngeal function and on the pharyngeal vowels. Without this work first, the singer cannot employ the ‘ng’ without closing the throat. Working on the ‘ng’ with a closed throat is counter-productive, and should be avoided until the larynx has been fully released.
    I remember a wonderful quote of Lindquest. He said, ‘We need a thread of ‘ng’, but NOT a rope!” The subtext to this statement is that we need to learn to vocalize in balance without taking a concept too far."
    End qoute

    Hopefully I copy-pasted that so it made sense.

    PS: One thing that annoys me is that I can't find any audio clips of him. Have either of you heard him sing? Maybe you have his CDs?
  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro Posts: 14,933
    edited August 2014

    @ragnar,

    @johnjohn,

    I have David Jone's CD set, I studied his method before I bought KTVA.  I understand and agree that a lot of classical singers employ the NG position.  Jones, as evidenced by the exercises above that alternate an NG between each vowel, are to train the tongue to always return to NG as HOME POSITION.  I did these exercises.  I don't do them anymore.

    Just listen to the voice of the vocalists on Jones's CD.  If you like that tone, and want to use it in contemporary singing, knock yourself out.  Compare that to Ken's voice.  End of story.

    The tone is so dark and rounded that ANY nasal quality added to it has GOT to be an improvement. 

    Have you ever done the NGONG, NGONG, NGONG exercises?  If not, you haven't had the full NG experience yet.  Sounds like Curly of the Three Stooges when he's taunting Moe and Larry.

    It's funny that Jones quotes Lindquest on ensuring a balance and not an over-use of the NG.  Yet Jones teaches NG as the Home Position.  And yes, Jones proposes that His technique is TRUE Open Throat singing.  I guess the mouth doesn't have to be open in Jones's Open Throat.

    Using the NG as home position is far from It's the LAH!!! AHH!!! as the home position.

    Pharyngeal is part of the full spectrum of the voice.  Country music needs some nasal tones to sound authentic.  Mask employs the sinuses and nose.  We will use N, M, and NG when they come around, but many times we will be de-emphasizing them, because they are consonants, and consonants present interruptions to the vocal tract.  Emphasizing them, as is taught by Jones and other respected coaches, is not what most here are aspiring for. 

    I think you may want to use the NG as a color when appropriate, but do you really want to use it as taught to be your dwelling-place, your Home Position?  I don't think so.

    Hey, I don't know it all, and I'm learning too.  I do know that Ken knows more than I do, and he's given me an earful or two on the NG, more than once.  I find this discussion very interesting.

    : ^ )

     

    Bob 

     

  • ragnarragnar Pro Posts: 410
    highmtn said:

    ... ...It's funny that Jones quotes Lindquest on ensuring a balance and not an over-use of the NG.  Yet Jones teaches NG as the Home Position.  And yes, Jones proposes that His technique is TRUE Open Throat singing.  I guess the mouth doesn't have to be open in Jones's Open Throat...

    ...and consonants present interruptions to the vocal tract.  Emphasizing them, as is taught by Jones and other respected coaches, is not what most here are aspiring for. 

    I think you may want to use the NG as a color when appropriate, but do you really want to use it as taught to be your dwelling-place, your Home Position?  I don't think so.

    Hey, I don't know it all, and I'm learning too.  I do know that Ken knows more than I do, and he's given me an earful or two on the NG, more than once.  I find this discussion very interesting. 

    Haha that's funny. I definitely agree with you that I wouldn't want Ng as my home position and I'm completely on board with Ken's principle of avoiding consonants.
    The way I'm working with it currently is by starting with a combination of lip rolls, normal humming and Ng-humming. Progressing then to something similar to the David Jones Ng-vowel exercise. BUT, then I go to the main goal of producing a brighter version of that sound on pure vowels, to avoid that overly dark sound. My whole aim is placement of sound, where I want to have an effortless free flowing voice when I'm not belting. I've noticed that basically all master tenors have this ability to go very soft when they want to.

    Now I think one distinction to be made is that I don't really expect the Ng to help me sing something like a Dio song or anything with real compression or distortion actually. I would imagine that hyper-glottal compression and the Ng are counter-indicative. I'm hoping it will help me learn more of a folk-rock vocal style. Think Tim Buckley or even Graham Nash, even though the latter is a bit of a helium-tenor. Or maybe just think of the "girly-man" voice, as you usually call it bob :)

    - Rag
  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro Posts: 14,933

    Personally, @ragnar, I prefer more of a Schwarzeneggerian-themed home position.

    ; ^ )

     

    I hear you.

    Bob


  • What is Resonance and How it is Achieved (Singing)

    At 06:56 in the video,

    "There can be serious problems if the larynx does the natural thing and rises up with the high notes"

    So basically,  there is no need for the larynx to raise on the high notes. It is
    mainly a bad habit borne out of fear of the high note, tension, and falsely thinking that raising the larynx will somehow help to achieve it.

    In actuality, there is physiologically no reason to raise the larynx on the high notes -- keep it in a neutral or slightly raised/lowered position, but never overtly raised. 

    Is that the idea?
  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro Posts: 14,933
    edited August 2014

    @Raul,

    YES.  It is mainly a bad habit borne out of fear of the high note, tension, and falsely thinking that raising the larynx will somehow help to achieve it.  Probably more so, it is done unconsciously out of habit.  Ken has busted me from having a high larynx when I was certain that I knew what I was doing. Who knew?  You really have to pay attention and stop doing it if it's happening unbeknownst to YOU.

    When we sing with a raised larynx, the overall resonant tone is higher, because the vocal tract is made shorter.  When we sing higher notes via more cord tension, a lot of things are happening in that smaller space with the raised larynx.  Jamming-together is the easiest way to describe the feeling. The cords come apart and so we try to force them together, and try to force out a note.  Bad things happen when we do this, including blowing out our cords from forcing and scraping them against one another with too much pressure and too much muscular force.

    In some tunes, you can sing lower note verses or phrases with a higher larynx, and then drop the larynx to a neutral, centered position to go for the high notes in the chorus, and maintain safe vocal delivery.  You have to know what you're doing, and be able to make those changes on the fly, in order to avoid getting caught on the high part with a high larynx.  Then, to save face, you are likely to just try to force the notes out and you'll get into trouble.

    We have a tendency to allow the larynx to rise as the notes rise in pitch.  We have to learn that that is not healthy and change that tendency.  As a training help, you can tell yourself, "to go higher, I must go lower" just as a reminder to exercise control over your larynx while singing.  You don't want to overdo it.  You want to use that to help stabilize your laryngeal position.  As a default, you are safer to have a larynx that is a little too low than to allow it to rise uncontrollably.  You don't want to "force" an unnaturally low larynx. 

    Bob

  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro Posts: 14,933

    @johnjohn,

    I was actually training using the David Jones method prior to getting KTVA. 

    I give everything I try to do the best effort I can, but I was sounding like an Opera guy, and that just isn't the direction I want to go.

    I think David's method is useful for that sound.  It's a covered, rounded sound, appropriate for more classical genres. 

    That's where we can go astray when we reason that this expert or that knows a lot, so shouldn't their methods all apply to modern contemporary music.  Well, yes, except nobody at your gigs wants to hear you sing and sound like an opera singer, at least not beyond a novelty or a joke.  They want to hear you sound like the genre that you've been following.

    That's why there is a disconnect between Ken and other classically-oriented teachers that may indeed include Bel Canto in their own teachings.  Ken was going for modern sounds from the beginning, and found that many of the tenets of Bel Canto applied perfectly.  He also discarded all of the parts of that technique that were not applicable to the modern sounds of pop, rock, R and B, Blues, Country Music, etc... and to that he added things he learned from many other vocal instructors.  You may know that Ken actually studied with Opera instructors in Italy for a couple of years, so it's not like he is unaware of the techniques that are taught.  He was just ultimately headed in a different direction from these classically-oriented styles, while still retaining what was universally-applicable from these classical styles within the context of modern contemporary music.

    We are fortunate that Ken has cut to the chase for us, so we don't have to go through the 30 years of discovery that he did.

    : ^ )

     

    Bob

  • highmtn said:

    @ragnar,

    @johnjohn,

    I have David Jone's CD set, I studied his method before I bought KTVA.  I understand and agree that a lot of classical singers employ the NG position.  Jones, as evidenced by the exercises above that alternate an NG between each vowel, are to train the tongue to always return to NG as HOME POSITION.  I did these exercises.  I don't do them anymore.

     
    I have heard that one of the main purposes of the "NG" exercise is to help you sing higher without breaking. and get the feeling of head resonance..

    Does Ken's "Tongue Exercise"  serve the same purpose and basically replaces the "NG"  exercise?

  • ragnarragnar Pro Posts: 410
    @Raul

    I think various vocal programs claim various things about the Ng sound, with again very varying expertise behind the claims. For me it doesn't really do that much of pure head resonance emphasis, since it for me mainly directs the vibrations to the mask (upper teeth, nose and up towards the forehead).
    For me to really focus on head resonance, I need a more open throat and something like the EE vowel or UU. That's what Ken focuses on too in his "Building Head Voice" videos.
    What Ng does is focus on the "ping" of the voice. In opera they call it "Squillo" and or "Imposto" (Bob, maybe you can clarify if they are the same or similar things, or maybe I've misunderstood @highmtn).
    Squillo/Imposto refers to the trumpet-like ability of a voice to carry through a big room (like a theater).
    It can help to sing higher though yes since it promotes a mixed voice sound, which is how we want to sing our middle section F4-D5 notes, give or take a couple of notes on each end.

    But yeah. There are a lot of variations of these exercises that I've seen:

    • There's the regular hum which is the most basic form of it, but also my favorite.
    • Then the Ng, which is basically like a hum but with more of an emphasis on the mask placement and so can be a helpful learning tool if you haven't found the placement in your own voice.
    • Also we have Ken's tongue exercise, which emphasis an open throat more than the regular hum and maybe slightly less mask if you haven't found these mask vibrations beforehand.
    • Other tongue exercises are just to stick it out to various degrees while humming.
    I find all 4 of exercises useful to play around with. The combination of it being a fairly small sound and the direction of mask resonance helps me get into mixed voice much more effectively than previously (where I had to go full throttle just to do it). 
    It's absolutely key to avoid ending up with a squeezed SS/SLS sound though, so there are tons of other things like breath management and support to focus on.

    Also let me stress that I'm not a virtuoso singer by any means, so take my "theories" with a grain of salt and please everyone do correct me if you think I'm off base.

    - Rag
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited September 2014
    @ragnar,

    Thanks for response,

    Perhaps you can comment and give your opinion on this  video. Hope it is okay to link to it in this forum.

    "Singing Tips - Connecting Head and Chest Voice."

    Sorry - can't post that here

    The video says that  "Ahh" tends to give preference to the mouth resonator and tends to break into falsetto,
    so the "NG" is used to help  go higher.

    For me, I break at Eb4 with the "Ahh" sound. When I try the "NG', I can go higher, to around F#4.

    The "NG" feels lighter and  I get  a "shedding the weight" feeling  as I go above my break at Eb4.

    I also get the similar feelings as you described, "
    vibrations to the mask (upper teeth, nose and up towards the forehead)." as I do the "NG" between Eb4 and F#4.

    And I thought they were head voice sensations..
    . Although you say those sensations are not true  head resonance? .

    Right now, I am just trying to conquer the few notes at the Eb4 -- G4 passagio... I know a lot of Ken's baritone studdents go very high but i would be happy just to have command of the G4... That Eb4 -- G4 is really tough for a  baritone like me.

  • ragnarragnar Pro Posts: 410
    edited September 2014
    I saw the thumbnail of the video before it was removed by moderation, which was Brett Manning. By default I never like anything that comes from a SS teacher. Especially if it's Manning himself since he can barely sing and therefore I can't trust anything he says, as harsh as that might sound.

    It looks like you don't have the KTVA program yourself @Raul ?
  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro Posts: 14,933

    A variation on how much you raise the uvula will give you a variable valve on how much of the sound can be directed into the nasopharynx for Mask and how much is directed at the back of the throat.  As we raise the uvula, we create more space in the back of the throat, for resonance in that area.  Simultaneously this begins to close the valve that directs the air into the nasal cavities, the sinuses, etc. 

    This is a more OPEN and resonant means of controlling this flow, as opposed to the NG method, which restricts the air from the mouth and directs more into the nose and face.

    The AH with the NG would be AHNG?   or NGAH?

    Like I say, I did these exercises long ago, they are not what KTVA teaches. I very quickly got all the good out of those methods I could get and hit a dead-end.  I gave those methods up because I found something better that has taken me much farther than I got with the classical sound, and is still moving me along on my journey.  KTVA can't help you if you run into problems or a dead end with other methods.  This is where the "Please leave other methods at the door and give your full attention to KTVA comes in."  That is asked on day one in lesson one.  You are free to pick and choose to do what you want.  You're just not following instructions or properly implementing  KTVA when you do so, and in that respect, you're on your own. 

    Thanks.

     

    Bob

  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro Posts: 14,933

    @Raul,

    Regarding the sensations in the mask not being "true resonance"...

    Yes, you will feel something during the Tongue Exercise, and it's good to isolate those feelings.  You can feel those vibrations in your teeth, your hard palate, the cartilage in your nose, your sinuses, and many singers WILL refer to that as "resonance".  To me it "Feels Like" resonance, and if it makes you feel good, you can still think of it as resonance, but it is more properly referred to as "sympathetic vibration".

    When you get that "hoot" in head voice, THAT is resonance.  It's the column of air from your cords to the top of your throat hitting a resonant frequency that increases the amplitude of the sound.  So there are resonances that you can get in the vocal tract, and that is what you are using to help you with the notes when you do vowel modifications properly.

    So you want both, but they are called two different things because they are two different things.  One is a feeling of vibration, and one is an actual rise in volume at a specific frequency.

     

    Bob

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