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Hi Ken, I have a question about your formative years as a singer.

I read your quick Bio about the teachers with whom you studied. I did a little research into their methodologies and each one of them (I think) taught early bridging. 
How did you discover late bridging and that being the key to a gold standard voice? Was it just a matter of listening to the singers that inspired you and working out what they were doing eg... Lou Gramm/Dio/Paul Rogers and had an epiphany?


  • Ken TamplinKen Tamplin Administrator, Moderator Posts: 446
    edited February 2015
    Hi Streeter,

    That's actually a really good question and one I'll take pleasure in answering.

    Over the years I've taken from approximately two dozen or more highly acclaimed vocal coaches. (far more than the few listed in my "testimonial")

    It is true that many of them espouse early bridging.

    The great Belcanto coaches for male tenors don't focus on bridging hardly at all, but building a massive robust chest register. This is not to say that they don't focus on falsetto/reinforced falsetto/headvoice at all, but it is certainly not an emphasis.

    Early on in my singing career when I tried to apply early bridging I noticed "tearing" in my chest register.

    As time went on and as I continued to try to employ this concept, I noticed my chest voice getting weaker and weaker and certainly no where near some of my favorite vocalists such as Lou Gramm, Paul Rogers, David Coverdale and so on...

    I also noticed that in the secundo passiggio, that no one ever truly explains and demonstrates how to build this into a usable and robust area of the voice.

    So I began experimenting with all that I'd learned over the years from all the different vocal coaches I had taken from,  and applied and tested what worked and what didn't.

    I found that in the initial stages of bridge building that this must be done incredibly light (not airy but light...as in "volume/loudness" but still with a bright timbre).

    But I also learned that the chest register absolutely must be simultaneously strengthened in the process or it would begin to atrophy.

    As I started building the bridge, it is true that I started in a lower key or registration initially, and then gradually began the stretching process of bridging later and fusing together both chest and head voice.

    I know in my course my main emphasis is on late bridging because I know this to be the only true way to maintain a strong chest voice while building this fusion process.

    This is particularly true for heavy singing.

    When I tried to teach other singers and band members over the years to start with early bridging and then gradually increase bridging later, I found a laziness on the part of these musicians that never stretched this area of their voice. Overtime the same thing that happened to me started happening to them where they favored or pampered their chest voice and relied on early bridging.

    Since then I've made it a strong focus to emphasize later bridging in order to be able to maintain a full healthy spectrum of the voice.

    Now in fairness, for light pop and R&B singers who are not pushing the envelope of their chest register, they can hover and reside in this area of early bridging. This works for quite a while until your mid to late 30s when the voice starts to age and we lose elasticity and flexibility in the cords themselves. It's at this point they start to bridge even earlier in order to not "lose the range they had".

    Another travesty to early bridging is in the opera world.

    Unlike tenors' focus being on powerful chest resonance, the opposite is true for most Sopranos. Sopranos are taught early bridging because all the maestro cares about is the "money note"

    So he is more than happy to sacrifice at the alter, the mid and upper mid voice registration of the soprano in the name of the big finale note.

    This is downright criminal and virtually neutered the power in their chest register

    Nonetheless it is what it is.

    The sad truth is the soprano could have the best of both worlds and strengthen their mid and upper chest register as well as hit the money note. In most cases no one takes the time or even knows how to build a voice like this.

    There is a lot more to this discussion but I hope this at least helps answer your question.

  • johnjohn johnjohn Pro Posts: 99
    @ streeter: Great question!  And a very interesting, informative answer from Ken.  Since I spent a lifetime pulling chest in all the wrong ways, I still struggle with my secundo passagio to this day, especially in the G4/G#4 area, where in certain songs, I so often get caught between registers, so to speak. Whilst I am improving with this issue, I have to admit, I sometimes wonder if I'll ever get to a stage where I finally get a firm grip and gain consistency in this section of my range.


  • streeterstreeter Pro Posts: 679
    edited February 2015
    Cool. Thanks for the detailed answer.
    This should be mandatory reading for singers.
    I've found the better I get at the tongue exercise the better/stronger/smoother my bridging is. Maybe it's the other way around, the better I get at bridging the better I am at the tongue exericse. For me, the tongue exercise seems to be the key for the 'one voice'
  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,346


    I'm a big fan of the tongue exercise.  I feel like it helps me to focus on my tone, my bridging, and to find if I've got any trouble spots in my range.  It's one of those exercises that helps to evaluate, as well as "wake up" my voice.

    It's a way to get a good feel for where the primo and secundo passgi are and how each of them are behaving on any particular day.  Doing this very lightly makes it a very relaxing way to ensure the voice is going to know what to do when I ask it to.


  • johnjohn johnjohn Pro Posts: 99
    @ streeter and Bob: Yes, I also find the tongue exercise useful.  I like to feel, if all goes well, it's a barometer, of sorts into the shape my voice is in at a given moment, then at other times I've noticed - after thinking all is well, I get to the LA exercise, only to discover I have issues.  
    The opposite happens also, where I have issues with the tongue exercise, but not with the other exercises.  Ideally, of course, I much prefer it when all is consistent!


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