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Having trouble stopping myself timbre matching. What to do to change this habit?

I'm 18M and a bass. I'm on to volume two, and have been doing the audio workouts on that section for about a month. I feel like I sing decently with the proper techniques introduced thusfar in the course because i can sing it in my natural voice the exact same way without the vowel issues.
However as a bass who likes rock music I've been singing along with high baritones (like Ken) in the tenor range of the voice mostly. This isn't hard, however in singing along with them I tend to match timbre automatically (sounds better to me and observers in most contexts) which causes some problems in the zona di passaggio for males.

I find the transition very hard, expecially when a tenor is in chest and I have to go from head to chest whilst tone matching, or when a baritone slides to a top chest note that i can't hit (Cracklin' Rosie by Neil Diamond is an example of the latter). I always crack on that E because i'm attuned to do what i feel he is doing. With Ken in the exercises I sometimes do the same thing because I match him. I have to consciously think about not doing this because my vowel mods go off (especially descending). In turn I become less confident and relaxed. This is made even worse when I do the exercises with just piano.

I believe i have the technique down ok because i can do it in my natural voice the exact same way without the vowel issues. However my main question is "How do I retrain my instincts to where i sing in my natural tone by default?"


  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,346
    I think we could get to a better recommendation for you if you could post a demo, showing both your natural way of singing and your timbre-matching.

    That's always better than us possibly misinterpreting what you're describing. Would you be able to send in a video of that?

    Even if I were to ask Ken to comment, he would want to hear you before making recommendations on a verbal description.

    If you'll demonstrate and mention what you are doing in each case, that will be helpful in getting you some meaningful feedback.


  • jakehjakeh Pro Posts: 2
    Thank you Bob.

    I'm not perfect at the exercises but I will try to do them both ways and send a link. I got feedback to "find my own voice" from a voice teacher i saw before this program which i didn't quite understand until now.

    What I mean by 'natural voice' is me singing like I talk. People immediately recognise this as me singing without knowing beforehand.
    On the other hand, the imitated voice is me copying the timbre and vowels of whoever i sing with. It doesn't sound like me singing 'in the style of' but like me trying to copy. So a more drastic form in a way. Like i said, my vowel modifications are the main thing that is negatively affected.

    To be more specific, when i do vowel scales along with Ken, I can't help but change the vowel where he changes rather than where I need to change.

    It will help me but i'm not looking for critique on what i'm doing, more psychological help from other singers on how to focus primarily on what i'm doing. Because at this time it seems that i need to 'sing along' less and 'practice singing technique' more. The help I seek is regarding mindset and focus.
  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,346
    Hi, jakeh.

    You should be able to feel "the pull" in your voice when you are about ready to properly modify for your own voice. It's not written in stone where all basses or all baritones, or any other vocal fach should modify, however you can find lots of charts on the internet telling you that it IS written in stone.

    The best way is to just sing your scales and take note of where it becomes more comfortable when you do your first mod. Write it down. Keep going, and when you feel the tug again, that's probably your second mod note. Write it down, and so forth.

    Then, either do the piano-only exercises and do your own mods, or do the exercises with Ken leading and mod when you feel it's appropriate (according to your notes).

    There is nothing wrong with timbre-matching, if that's something you want to do. If you want to use your own personal vocal sound, that's fine, too. I do a few songs by a few different artists and I'm sometimes told that I sound more like Neil Diamond than Neil Diamond, and more like Johnny Cash than Johnny Cash, and so forth. I do that for fun. It IS imitation. I also sing in my own voice. It's not a problem.

    I'm not trying to be a smart-alek, but perhaps you should try to imitate yourself, since you say you have a tendency to imitate. Just focus on your own vocal sound and get to know where you should modify. I often turn off the exercise CD and play my own chords on piano or guitar, or even just hear the first chord and pause the playback and sing acapella to the exercises. I've heard them a million times. I know how they go.


    All the Best!

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