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Mixed Voice

freedomfreedom Enrolled Posts: 30
edited April 2012 in Off Topic
I have been doing KTVA for sometime now, went throughout stage 3 for about 4 or 5 weeks. Took a break and started just singing songs, while trying to incorporate Ken's methods and KTVA has helped me tremendously.. But I simply cannot seem to get this 'mixed' voice. I have gotten to where I can sing up to A4 in my chest voice, powerfully and I'm extremely happy for that, but There is defintely a change between my chest and head voice. Any suggestions or hints on how I can truly get into the mixed sound, because I'm pretty much just belting in straight chest, which sounds good, but is limiting me on higher range. 

Answers

  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro Posts: 14,885
    edited April 2012

    freedom,

    Have you paid close attention to the explanation of the voice being like a three stage rocket/elevator? One of the keys to losing the obvious change between head and chest is to start paring down the weight, note-by-note.  When you do this, it makes the passagio transform from a brick wall into a sliding, selectable bridge that actually becomes hard for even the singer to detect. While it is commendable to be able to carry the weight up to a higher note, it is more practical and also more undetectable when you shed a little weight with each half-step as you go up the scale.

    If you carry full chest weight all the way up until you must bridge, it WILL be noticeable, and sound quite different from one note to the next.  If you learn each note as an individual note and experiment with the different weights and vowel modifications, tones, resonance, etc, you should be able to find a mixed sound on those several notes on either side of your passagio.

    I visualize the area on my cords where the vibration is taking place as getting smaller and smaller as I go up the chromatic scale.  I visualize the weight as taking up space.   When I try to take through a lot of weight/baggage through the small opening in my cords on a higher note (approaching, but not yet at the passagio) there is less and less room!  Leave some of that hefty baggage behind (the stages of the rocket, at the different floors on the elevator) and your smaller airstream, your less weighty sound can more easily pass through the cords. The more weight you try to cram through your cords as this opening becomes smaller and smaller, the more likely you are to have a smashup and splat your voice.

    After becoming accustomed to tapering down the weight as you ascend, you can more selectively carry weight up a little farther, or a little less far. 

    So I believe that a mixed sound has to do with being able to add more weight or less weight to the chest, as well as similar adjustments to the head voice sound when you are working with it.  Like the rocket explanation on chest voice, there are variables in head voice that can make it darker or brighter, until you get to the point where it really is ONE VOICE with a number of variable tones at any given portion of your range.

    I may not be giving an accurate description according to some, but this seems to be what I am finding as I work through the same issues.

    Mixed Voice would be a great topic for one of Ken's future webinars.  He would certainly be able to set us straight on this topic.  :^)

    Bob

  • KokonuhtKokonuht Member, Enrolled Posts: 658
    Hey Bob, in order to shed the weight, we have to do vowel mods am I right? That's how we shed the weight right? Just asking for confirmation... Somehow I can't think back on this o_o".

    Anyway, what Bob said is pretty much true! Though another part is that, the mixed voice is basically just a mixture of chest voice and head voice. Now that you have built a strong chest voice, you're gonna need a strong head voice to mix it together. This means that you have to build your head voice and make it strong ;). However, I repeat, you HAVE to build the chest voice FIRST. THEN only start working on Head voice. 

    Even if you take a 3 day off your chest workouts and try to do them all in head, you HAVE to remember to go back to workout your chest voice.

    So, basically now you need to build a strong head voice to mix it with your chest voice. You're gonna need to stretch the head voice all the way down below the passagio if possible. 

    *NOTE*  Remember to only do this ONLY if you have built a strong chest voice.

    Also, when starting to learn to mix the chest and head, your throat will have a sensation of choking/regurgitating. To counter this effect, you have to maintain an open throat by visualizing drinking air / drinking water.

    The previous webinar talked a lot about head voice and a lil bout mix. It should benefit you greatly! Find it here!


    Cheers!
    Rayhan


  • Ken TamplinKen Tamplin Administrator, Moderator Posts: 434

    Bob you sound like me giving advice.

    You are spot on the money.

    My question to Freedom is, you mentioned you have been doing volume 3 and how much it has helped you chest register.

    But if you haven't strengthened the passagio through the process of volumes 1 and 2 (you didn't mention that you did that), did you go straight to volume 3?

    Most all of my students that have taken the time to build the passagio through volumes 1 and 2 actually almost feel as though they don't even know where they connect anymore because they have built the passage way over 4-7 notes.

    If you went straight to 3, it's good that the chest voice is built up, but you now must come back and work very lightly and brightly singing through the passagio (keeping the same velocity tnhrough the scale...not louder or softer when you connect, keeping the whole spectrum of the scale at the same volume.  If you hear the yodle (speed bump I call it) you must back off the sound until you don't hear that. You MUST keep the back of the throat open. It will want to close down. Resist this urge. You will gradually notice the connection literally turn the whole of your voice into one long note. Over time you will be able to decide how much chest "weight" you want top bring up into the sound.

    Please refer to what Bob shed about pulling chest. It's a fun sound. I use it all the time, but I am also VERY careful about the way I do it.

    It is critical to learn how to shed the weight first, and then add desired weight as you can handle should you like that kind of sound.

    -KT

  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro Posts: 14,885

    Rayhan,

    You are correct that we must do the vowel modifications.  Those are always at roughly the same notes in the scale.  Each of us has our own place where these happen, depending on our range.  The shedding of weight, on the other hand needs to start long before it gets too crowded for the weight to get through.  So the beginning of the weight shedding needs to precede the modifications, and continue as the various mods proceed.  

    The truth about the modifications, once you really get the hang of it, is that they too should be gradual, as in shades of mods.  In other words, it's not just AH, AW, Uh, Oooh.  It's those and every shade between each mod, note-by-note, and remember, they're subtle. Even an AW is a shade, because it's not a straight-on AW at the lips.  It's a shading created by the manipulation of the shape of the back of the throat while the lips and mouth are in a pure AHH. 

    Then there's the shedding of the weight...  The 3-Stage Rocket is a great way to get the idea cooking of what has to happen...  but as you start to apply this, it's more like a  chromatic-staged rocket, one with a stage for each note on the piano keyboard from about middle C to G4.  You may even want to start lower like G3 and keep shedding all the way to C5.  By then, you're probably totally in head voice, but you may have enough edge on it that your listeners will percieve it as supersonic chest!

    I hope I'm at least close in these explanations.  It seems to work for me when I think of it in this way.

    Bob

  • SanninoSannino Pro Posts: 66
    So the beginning of the weight shedding needs to precede the modifications, and continue as the various mods proceed. 
    You lost me there, Bob. I am pretty sure Ken says in Volume 1 that we do the vowel mods to start shedding the weight. So how is it that shedding precedes the mods?
  • freedomfreedom Enrolled Posts: 30
    Yes I have went through all the stages and I can comfortably sing all the scales going through the passagio and into head; and when I do this I too seem to not recognize a shift, but when it comes to singing actually songs it's a totally different monster. I believe one of my problems is not knowing on which exact note to make my vowel modification and not shedding my chest weight early enough. I know we around F4 we should change right? I guess I've just gotten really comfortable singing in between F4 and A4 with a loud full chest sound, that when I change early I just feel it sound terrible. 

    Maybe I should post a sample of me singing? 

    You said that we should only build head after we have built our chest voice, but how much should I build my chest before building head? And when I do head voice exercises I feel as if i'm ruining my baritone sound when I sing lower? Maybe it's just all mental lol
  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro Posts: 14,885
    edited April 2012

    Fernando,

    I'm sorry I'm doing such a poor job of articulating these ideas.  It's hard to type about singing... ;^)

    I hope I don't repeat myself too much, and I especially hope I'm not off the mark with my explanations, but here goes with the mods and the weight...  It's variable, and depends on where you're going.

    Ken often refers to the Vowel modifications as "Relief Valves" and I believe he also refers to weight shedding as relief valves. There are other relief valves, including resonance and vibrato.  Glottal Compression is a form of relief valves.  All of these "relief valves" are part of the picture of great singing, and they all have their own place in the process. They are all colors on the palette we are painting with to help us to get to various heights and valleys. 

    The Weight portion of the picture can vary, while the Modification portion is more fixed, positionally.

    If my highest destination note in an upward scaling melody is quite HIGH, AND I want to attempt to sing it in chest (or something that is a hybrid note of mixed chest-sounding head), I had better start shedding weight EARLY. In a case like that, I will start shedding weight before I get to the AW mod. If I don't, I'm going to hit a brick wall.  (and if I don't start early, I often FORGET to shed weight :P)  Vowel Modifications alone, without shedding weight, will not be enough to get me to an G4, a C5, an E5...  If, on the other hand, I'm just headed for a D4, E4, maybe an F4, I can take up all the weight I want to, because I won't splat down there.  If you need to shed weight, you're better off shedding too much rather than not enough.  Three stages of weight shedding may be enough for you, but it's better still, if you learn to shed a little each step of the way as you ascend.  

    The "Weight" that we are shedding, I would refer to as "guts".  I don't know how else to describe it.  I try to define it as I am shedding it, but in my head and in my ears, my brain defines it as "guts."  I take a little bit of guts out with each higher note.  Those guts won't fit through the shrinking aperture of my vocal cords as the notes get higher.  I'm still using an edgy tone, very "AH!" as I go up, so as to avoid a heady, hooty sound.  It's true that when you are in an "Oooh" vowel modification, you won't have much weight, but "Ooh" is when you're directing the air right up to the top of your head, your uvula is going straight up, and you are officially very firmly in head voice. 

    When I don't shed weight and just go full guts up to the passagio and then straight into head, it's like crashing through a door into another room that is another color.  That is a lack of mix.  That is a transition that is not smooth and seamless.  I may not yodel, but it's still like going from black to white without any greys.  Smoothing the yodel out of the passagio is just the first step.  A huge and vitally important step, but we're not done yet. We have no mix at this point. 

    My Vowel mods help me to keep going higher and then back low without hurting my voice, but the weight manipulation also helps me to make chest blend more with head, and a sharp edge on head helps blend head to sound more like chest.  As we learn to bridge first higher in the scale, and then eventually, lower in the scale, and we learn to apply more weight and less weight and proper vowel modifications, we then go from a brick wall passagio to a shaded, variable, controllable, blendable, resonant, continuous voice.  Then we can decide when and where we will use exactly what tools at our disposal to make the best use of the voice we have at its current state of development.

    I hope I haven't confused the issue too much and there is at least some sense in what I have tried to say.

    Bob

  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro Posts: 14,885
    edited April 2012

    freedom,

    Yes, you should post a sample...  If you are comfortable singing an A4 in chest, you probably have stretched your chest voice sufficiently to start working on first developing your upper head voice and then lowering your head voice.  That doesn't mean that A4 is the highest your chest may ever reach, but many will never comfortably sing that high in full chest.

    Many singers say that they feel very uncomfortable singing in mixed voice, in the upper mids.  It just feels different.  Kinda like you're about to lose your balance...  Maybe you're just beating yourself up too much.

    One clue may be that you said you sing those F4 to A4's in a loud chest voice.  That may create a brick wall, because there is no way you can put that much volume/power into a head voice.  Besides the "guts" type of weight, you also have to taper volume. High notes will carry, and even overpower the high-frequency section of a sound system or recording system.  You can kill people's ears with high notes. You can kill your vocal cords, too.  We need to be careful with the overall balance of the sounds we are producing so as to not overpower.

    On another note, yes, you need to dissect certain songs and map them out... where do you cross your passagio, what is the highest note, how much weight can you get away with carrying up to this point and that point....

    I know we all just like to sing and make it be like it's just happening spontaneously... but if it doesn't feel right, we have to grow up and analyze the song.  Maybe mark up a lyric sheet with the actual vowel modifications over the words to how we will actually pronounce them with the modified vowels written in.  Cross out some consonants so that we are using our AH vowel predominantly, as we should be. 

    It may sound tedious, but if we're having trouble connecting our training methodology into our gigging singing, then it's up to us to cross over the line into making our home-made singing voices into the powerhouse professional vocalist voices that we so much wanted when we decided to go this route in the first place.  We are so ingrained into doing things the way we always have in the past that we have to break with that past and step into the present and the future.  The tools are in our hands, but we have to be the ones to use them.

    Let's hear that sample!
    My best to you.

    Bob

  • KokonuhtKokonuht Member, Enrolled Posts: 658
    Bob regarding your "weight" post, I suppose what you're referring to is actually resonance. At least that's what I feel when I read your descriptions o_o

    as for the second one, I don't quite get it but maybe it's because I'm in a rush yet I'm still reading the forum posts LOL! I shall re-read again later! However, the last one is that, when we have done our vowel mods and not over enunciating the consonants a lot of times, you can easily do it spontaneously in the future.
  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro Posts: 14,885

    Actually, the "weight" is kind of a low "UH" that is characteristic of a low larynx sound.  That sound is a kind of bottom end boom that does resonate in the chest, or perhaps actually low in the throat, but it is the very sound that gives chest voice its name.  We have to gradually lose this sound, as if we had a slide fader built in to our voice that does a long, slow fade on this sound as we gradually sing higher in range.  It is the subwoofer of our voice.  It is the undertone that gives us low frequency fundamental formant tones when we are singing in our lowest registers.

    This sound is so rich that we tend to cling to it as we go up the scale.  We become insecure as our blankie is taken away, but there is no room for our comfy bass blankie as we get up into the upper mids and eventually the highs.  So we trade our blankie for a mix, or we will either splatter our chest voice or bust through the brick wall into a head voice that seems out of context.  But as we continue to go higher, if we happen to have our mini-blankie stashed at our side, we can take a small amount of lows with us part of the way and still be comfy.  And as we get even higher, and we no longer have room for our mini-blankie, we can then rely on our micro-blankie and still have a little bottom end to mix with our highs.  Just a little.

  • KokonuhtKokonuht Member, Enrolled Posts: 658
    edited April 2012
    LOL... Nice erm.... Analogy xD . But I think youre talking about how the voice travels from the back of the throat into the head. Sometimes when I sing an A4. Well usually... I sing it in chest but it doesn't resonate in the chest but rather around the mouth nose and head xD hence, losing the weight? XD

    We could be talking about the same stuff but termi ology is playing with us again xD
  • SanninoSannino Pro Posts: 66
    Bob, thanks for your answer! I had to read it like three times but it was great! You seem to separate vowel modifications from shedding the weight, which isn't very clear to me... yet. I'll keep it in mind for the right time :)

    Just let me enjoy my blankie a little longer lol
  • sspatricksspatrick Enrolled Posts: 1,278
    a trick i learned along the way in developing chord compression/mid voice is to imitate a small child saying "uh-oh" when they drop something.  My daughter does it all the time.  it is a great way to start understanding how to shed weight as you sing higher.  You have to keep the sound small, but not breathy or airy.  it may help it may not, give it a try.  remember it is just a starting point, something that i found helpful.  Carry that into your vowel mod exercises and see what happens.
  • Ken TamplinKen Tamplin Administrator, Moderator Posts: 434

    @ Bob

    "

    Actually, the "weight" is kind of a low "UH" that is characteristic of a low larynx sound. That sound is a kind of bottom end boom that does resonate in the chest, or perhaps actually low in the throat, but it is the very sound that gives chest voice its name. We have to gradually lose this sound, as if we had a slide fader built in to our voice that does a long, slow fade on this sound as we gradually sing higher in range. It is the subwoofer of our voice. It is the undertone that gives us low frequency fundamental formant tones when we are singing in our lowest registers.

    This sound is so rich that we tend to cling to it as we go up the scale. We become insecure as our blankie is taken away, but there is no room for our comfy bass blankie as we get up into the upper mids and eventually the highs. So we trade our blankie for a mix, or we will either splatter our chest voice or bust through the brick wall into a head voice that seems out of context. But as we continue to go higher, if we happen to have our mini-blankie stashed at our side, we can take a small amount of lows with us part of the way and still be comfy. And as we get even higher, and we no longer have room for our mini-blankie, we can then rely on our micro-blankie and still have a little bottom end to mix with our highs. Just a little. "

    This is exactly correct Bob...word for word. (guys you should re-read Bob's posts, they are spot on)

    Rayhan, don't confuse resonance with initiating freedom and relaxing the cord while ascending ( and decending) a scale / phrase.

    Resonance is literally the vibration of the vocal fold when it has "settled" into it's sound and begins to "resonate" creating volume and relaxing the cord to "release" into a sound (this is especially referred to in a "whole tone" when "hanging" a note.

    Yes, resonance is referred to in many different forms (such as mask) which is where some of the confusion comes from.

    Do you remember when I said the term "head voice" by definition has changed over the years?

    This is true for the term resonance as well.

    In this sense, I like to maitain its original emphasis which is the "landing" of a note allowing the cord to "settle" into the sound and resonate.

    The final stage of this is vibrato.

    When a natural resonant vibrato settles the cord resonates louder and more robust than a "forced" compressed or squeezed sound. (this was how Caruso was able to break glass). Yes I know there are others that do this and it is a neat parlor trick, but I am referring to allowing the sound to settle with such strong support that it is from THIS position the folds grow and gorw and grow.

    Bob is correct on "releasing" to the vowel modifications prior to the actual modification (i.e. shedding the weight and not dragging it up through the vowel mod).

    He is also correct when he stated that we tend to want to "hang on" to lower chest and pull it (the weight) though upper mid / high chest because it's the only way we know to "shout" our way to the top.

    But the KEY is to abstain from this temptation and release and relax to the sound (even if in the initial stages we crack...this is almost always a byproduct of lack of enough genuine support and relaxing the upper torso, neck and throat).

    Once you start to get the hang of this, you will find that you can even mix the amount of chest you want to pull through the sound for whatever desired effect you are looking for.

     

     

     

     

  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro Posts: 14,885

    Ken,

    Thanks for helping to clarify what I was trying to get across.  This is information that I beleive everybody is seeking, but there isn't that much understandable explanation in existence.  Your Rocket Stages / Elevator Floors helped me to get a grip on what this was all about.

    I'm one of those people who struggle with concepts like these, and I'm always trying to get the ideas to the point where it transforms more into a feeling that I can recognize when I am doing it right.  Some of this stuff is so way "out there" that a person could spend a long time trying to find something fully defined somewhere and possibly never understand it. 

    I think that it's great that we have this forum to bounce ideas off one another and get feedback from others on the same journey.  It is a learning experience for us to help others, and the feedback from yourself and others helps to keep us all in check when we possibly stray from the facts of the matter at hand. 

    I was beginning to think that maybe I was losing it when I went into my "blankie" analogy, but really, that's kinda what we do, is cling to the only way we are used to singing or shouting.

    This forum is a great informational plus for KTVA students, as are the Webinars.  Now that the webinars are posted for member access, we have an even greater wealth of knowledge available to us to reinforce the information presented in the three Stages in even greater depth.

    Thanks for providing this support.  It's awesome!

    Bob

  • KokonuhtKokonuht Member, Enrolled Posts: 658
    Totally =w=b! I think I kinda get the blankie analogy. Though I think that's what I've been doing all the time and maybe I'm mistaken that for resonance o_o?

    Thanks Ken for clearing it up :DD! and thanks Bob for the epic blankie analogy LOL!
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