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Rough sounding voice

Hello. I've been working the program since Jan 16, 2016. I've been having a rough sounding voice in the mid range. A scratchy sound like I'm getting sick or have a cold. Even after being warmed up. Am I doing something wrong? Singing too much? Is this vocal damage?


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    highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,359
    edited April 2016
    Hi, @KathyG,

    I'm sorry you're experiencing a rough area with your voice.

    It's most likely not vocal damage, but if you haven't had any throat issues (sore throat, coughing, or laryngitis) then you may have been singing with too much volume in your mid voice.

    That is an area that is easy to stress, and you will probably need to throttle back the volume, especially in that range. That is the area that we are working when we stretch chest voice. When you are stretching chest voice you want to be gentle with the notes, and give preference to singing just a little too light, rather than over singing just a little too heavily. As your voice gains strength, you can lean into the notes a little more, still giving care to avoid oversinging.

    When you get to volume 3, Ken goes over some ways to cut back the force of your air when you sing. It seems too simple to be true, but what he shows you really works, and from that point forward, you should use those methods to reduce the force of your singing breath. In the mean time, just exercise a bit more caution and try to avoid oversinging.

    Another thing that can contribute to a scratchy sound in that range is if you are not implementing the vowel modifications. As you get into higher ranges, the notes tend to begin to expand, causing what is called "splatting".

    Splatting has a sound of scratchyness, and is not good for your voice. The vowel mods help to "contain" and "cover" the expansion of the tone at these pitches, and bring in resonance that allows you to sing the notes at a lower volume. You don't want to sing loud when your voice is splatting, AND you want to use the mods to help prevent the splatting in the first place.

    Reduce volume and cover with mods. Reduce tone (shed, or "pare down" the weight of the tone as pitch increases.)

    If there is still an issue after checking for the above issues, then you may have some swelling of the cords in the part of the cords that is used for those notes. That tends to be from oversinging in that range, and if your cords are not phonating well on those notes, you may need to do some gentle down-going scales, as quietly as you possibly can, that start above and descend to below the area of the poor phonation. You simply do your best to relax and let the cords practice getting the hang of phonating through that region of the voice. They will get over their "overprotection" and begin to again phonate in that range, after you gently bring them back on line through the gentle down-scale singing. It may take a while, but that's one way to get the cords working again in that area of the voice.

    This is the most tender part of your range (just below the 2nd passaggio) and it is most prone to setbacks from oversinging. It's very tempting to oversing in that range because it sounds so good. We build it back up and then prevent future oversinging. Good monitoring systems, low band volumes, and in-ear monitors can do a lot to help prevent oversinging. We have to monitor ourselves to help prevent overuse of the voice. You learn your limitations, and find that the optimum level to sing at is beneath the threshold of oversinging. If you maintain vigilance with that in mind, you will avoid oversinging.

    When you learn all of the techniques for cutting back the air and implement them, oversinging will cease to be an issue, as long as you don't backslide into doing it again.

    When it comes to singing volume, it's best to err on the side of caution, rather than the fun of the moment.

    If you're worried about possible damage, then see a health professional, and you can have a medical opinion on whether there is any health issue happening.

    All the Best!

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    KathyGKathyG Pro Posts: 15
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    KathyGKathyG Pro Posts: 15
    It turns out that it is mostly likely acid reflux.
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    highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,359
    Ouch. I didn't even mention that. I hope you're getting help to control that. It can erode your vocal cords and throat, if left untreated. It can certainly be the cause of your symptoms.
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