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Negotiating between "Speaking Voice" and Belting/Mid-voice in Particular Songs

mfwmfw Pro, 2.0 PRO Posts: 12
A couple of questions on specific songs, which I think all have broader usefulness, and then a comment:

1. Billy Joel. I do solo acoustic covers, and he's often requested here in the Northeast, being a NY guy and all. Some of his songs are up higher than one would expect. On Piano Man, is he belting those clean G4's in the chorus and second half of each verse? I find it doesn't sound great when I try to belt without distortion, but a gritty sound is not necessarily song appropriate ...

2. Neil Young. I know he's not the most technical singer in the world, but he's always requested. On the "Old Man" chorus, is he using supported (non-falsetto) head voice? WIth that whiney voice it's hard to tell.

3. John Fogerty. I love Ken's versions of CCR songs! On a song like Have You Ever Seen the Rain, J.F. starts off pretty low (G3 & A3 at "Someone told me"). I find it hard to be in midvoice that low. Any suggestions on how to approach? This seems to come up often.

Comment: I never took any other singing courses, so I had nothing to unlearn other than my own years of untrained bad habits. The amount of knowledge on Ken's videos and on this forum is truly impressive and valuable. Also, the little vocal things that I notice on songs that I've listened to 1,000's of times since starting KTVA a few years ago is amazing.
Thanks, and Happy New Year!


  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,353
    Hi, @mfw.

    You may find that vowel modifications help to keep the G4's from splatting and breaking up, allowing you to sing them more cleanly. Also, make sure you are cutting back the girth of the sound as you go up in pitch, and supporting more.

    Neil uses a head voice for those highs that includes some nasal ring. That helps to get a bit of resonance going that is a little more ringy in the front of the face (Back of the upper teeth and nose cartilage and sinuses) than it is hooty.

    Have you ever seen the rain is a toggle between G3 range and up to G4 and up to A4 on the chorus. In the G3 range, you have to be sure to keep it bright, similar to the tone you will be using when you go higher. Otherwise, it's too hard to keep adding weight down low and shedding enough of it when you go up.

    You don't hear that much difference in his voice down low, except when he goes up to the G4, it's more supported and compressed, and adds a little bit of grit. Sing the lows in chest voice, that is pared-down in preparation for going up quickly on the other notes.

  • mfwmfw Pro, 2.0 PRO Posts: 12
    Thank you, Bob. I will work on those, especially the toggle on Fogerty.
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