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Chris Cornell - Call Me A Dog, chorus

Hey people, how's it going? :)

My question is feedback/technique related: what's going on with the high note right around 01:08? Anyone?? I've dried a bunch of stuff over some months now and I can't get it to sit nicely. Any and ALL critique, suggestions and feedback is very welcome!

Cheers and thanks for listening, Mikkjal


  • MatsyMatsy Pro Posts: 168
    I am only new to this, so apologies if I get it wrong. To me sounds like you are trying to come in on the wrong vowel modification and perhaps you need to come in on the "loft" ah sound.
  • MikkjalMikkjal Member Posts: 2
    Hi Matsy, thanks for the comment :)

    But when though? Which vowel would you modify and when?

    The lyrics for the struggling bit are "but when it's my time". If I only base my mods on the simplest version of what Ken teaches it would go something like "but wh(eh)n it's m(ah)___ time" (see this live recording for reference and beautiful mug :Dhttps://youtu.be/AFi0olcpLRI?t=2m16s ).

    Now, what I think Ken would say here is that the "my" in the line becomes "m(ah)" and based on where he's singing it note height wise (A4, jumping to B4 for a short bit) I have to make it an AH with the Uh (hook) mod.

    That's what I'm trying to do but not quite getting there. Suggestions? :)
  • MatsyMatsy Pro Posts: 168
    edited April 2017
    Hi, I just had another listen. I reckon you are so close to nailing it and it's mental pressure holding you back. It's interesting because when you speak about in the video and in your post you keep referring to this as the "high note" and I wonder if that is holding you back mentally. I have a feeling you could get a much higher note. Are you doing Ken's scales? Have you watched his video on the lah vowel modification?

    If you are trying to go for "oo" as in hook modification I think that will restrict your throat. I think it needs to be the "aw" loft modification.

    If it is mental tension, you will already be tense in the throat just thinking about it and it is preventing you from relaxing into the note. Ken says don't think about high notes, just think about using the right vowel modification. Of course all things are easier to say than do.

    I have a lot of difficulty bringing what Ken is teaching into my singing, due to old habits, so I understand what you are going through, but definitely for the "my" part you need to be going for "ah" vowel.

    It is right at that point there is the tiniest break in your voice. When I look at you going for the note at that moment I can see a lot of tension in your neck and you reach up with your body and chin. It's almost as though you are trying to muscle your way through the note.

    Have you tried to singing it softer? Singing it almost like you don't care, like it's just you on the couch and no-one is going to hear it? Does the same thing happen when you sing it softer? Also, I don't know if you can hear it but there is still a lot of "I" in "my". Go for a pure "ah".

    Recently I have found in my own singing if there is a note I think of as "high" I actually tend to push down in my chest. It's almost as though I feel if I could just get enough bracing in my body I would be able to haul myself over the top of it haha, it's hard to describe. Instead of using my support from the abdomen and the diaphragmatic breathing to help me, it's like I push down on it and it completely ruins my chances.

    I reckon you are so close to nailing it!
  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,353
    You are using too much brute force, and it just won't work on that A4/B4 part. Notice that Cornell takes it up to a D/E5 a little later in the song. He's not blasting that out. He's doing it in stride.

    You'll have to cut the tone way back and throttle back the air, too.

    Probably the best way to train for that line is to do it totally on Lah.

    See if you can get the high notes by doing that melody on LAH. You may have to modify to Aw, oo, or Ooh. But if you don't have those notes in your chest voice range yet, then you'll have to grow your chest voice to include those notes. Which means you'll probably have to get to at least a C5 to be able to do a comfortable, reliable B4.

    And you WILL have to cut back the girth.

    You sound really good up to that point. But you're going to have to grow your chest voice up a little higher and your notes will need to taper down in size as you go.

    If you start out at a big volume, you will reach a point where you can go no further. Try starting out smaller and thinner.
  • TommyMTommyM Pro Posts: 270
    edited April 2017
    I think everyone's really said what's required 'cause there's some great advice contained in the posts here. I wanted to throw in my two cents as a fellow Cornell fan who has sang this song a lot.

    It sounds like you could do with working on stretching your chest voice up before working on handing it off to your head voice.

    Listen to how Cornell pronounces the "my time" line - it's more like mah-ah-ai-tah-ai-m, so he's likely modifying his vowels towards the "aw" as in "loft". He does similar on "throw the next stone" with more of a "thrah-aw thah nex-tone". You can hear his mods even more on the "If you keep me on a leash..." bit and how he releases gradually into his head voice going from "leash" to "drag me along".

    Temple of the Dog are one of my all-time favourite bands ever and the vocals on that album are just ridiculously amazing.

    [Edited to correct the vowel mod as per Bob's clarification]

  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,353

    You're right on track with your explanations, except for the "naming conventions" for the vowels and mods.

    This is strictly for consistency, so that we're all speaking the same language, not to boss anybody around.

    The AH vowel mods are:

    AH - LAH (unmodified, pure AH Vowel)
    Aw - as in Loft
    oo - as in hook
    ooh - as in Who

    AA - is the AA vowel (as in hat, unmodified, pure AA vowel)
    Aw - (Just like the aw mod of the AH vowel, but a little more smile in the sound and a little AA)
    oo - (Just like the oo mod of the AH vowel, but a little more smile in the sound and a litte AA)
    Ooh - (Just like the Ooh mod of the AH vowel, but a little more smile in the sound and a little AA)

    I saw you mentioning AA as loft in a few posts, and "AA" stays consistent with AA as in hat.
    The Loft mod is referred to as the Aw mod of AH.

  • TommyMTommyM Pro Posts: 270
    @highmtn Thanks for the clarification, Bob, that's really, really helpful for me and means I can avoid causing any confusion in future. I'll go back and edit my previous posts to reflect the correct vowel mod, but thank you again for explaining this more.
  • KaiEllisKaiEllis Pro, 2.0 PRO Posts: 215
    @Mikkjal Just wanted you chime in with everyone else's feedback. Bro your song choice is GREAT. This is one of my favorite Cornell tunes, especially the way he sings it these days, with plenty of open throat and brightness. It's a good song for training, too, as it REQUIRES you to get solid on fundamentals just to execute the song at all!

    As far as technique goes, I'll echo the comment that it sounds super shouty at the top, and the sound needs to be thinned out a LOT once you get up to those higher notes. But you've got great presence as a singer, which is honestly prob even harder to learn than singing haha

    Please post more videos as you continue working on this song!
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