Since Lin ZX taught me how to breathe properly, I feel like I've discovered an entirely new organ for singing. I feel my singing skill has improved 200% - I'm just capable of so much more now, it's like only using one eye for your whole life and suddenly you open your other eye and things are in 3D now! Which is kind of why I'm very excited and obsessive about singing now. Also exacerbated by falling into the utaite fangirl craziness well recently.
Here is my understanding of how I used to use my voice. I have no actual vocal training so I'm just going to use terminology as I please, and most likely incorrectly. When I'm speaking, I mostly use my throat, therefore it's the most well-trained at controlling expression and tone. When I'm singing, I also mostly use my throat. Obviously your speaking voice only has so much range, so for higher notes, I use my head voice. Which is itself composed of different parts, but generally this means pushing the note out from my head region.. ok this sounds weird and totally incomprehensible. Anywayy, when I use head voice I prefer the style with actual full tone rather than the breathiness that I call falsetto. That's the kind you get when you're humming something, and I generally don't like it because it sounds like it has no strength.
Now, I have discovered that there is a third region of voice generation. I call this chest voice, but it's really pushing the note from your diaphragm and letting it resonate in your chest. This is how Keiko sings all the time, and it gives her that deep, powerful, smooth tone. This is also related to how Terry Lin breathes, because it uses much less breath and gives a stronger tone than using your throat.
Importantly, it's also much less damaging. When I used to use my throat for everything, after singing for a while my throat would get tired and start to hurt. And I'm pretty sure that's how a lot of people get nodules. The throat region isn't very well-suited to generating power (at least mine isn't), and I know that proper singing technique requires pushing from the diaphragm. And now I know why - you get much more power for the amount of breath used and it doesn't hurt at all!
However, I realised that I can't purely use chest for lower range either. Because it's really hard to stay on pitch. And I can't change the tone colour. I have to use some throat to be able to control the pitch and the expression well. I think it's ok to use some power from throat, it's just bad to use 100% throat power like I used to. I'm now trying to relearn to sing with this throat/chest mix all the time. I need sing with my throat as I always have but transfer the power generation to the chest region. Also, using chest voice makes holding long notes so so much easier. Using purely throat, because of the lack of power, can be unstable unless I really push or prepare well. Now, with chest I don't even need to prepare and I can hold notes for a very long time. I'm still struggling with keeping the pitch stable though, especially on belted notes. I think I'm not used to the chest contribution, so I just need to learn to control pitch better with this new type of voice.
Chest voice has also helped me learn two new kinds of head voice too. My past head voice, which I still really like to use, is like the throat/chest mix described above, except it's a throat/head mix, so the note is controlled by the throat but the power is mainly head. I can get really powerful clear notes with it, but sometimes, especially if my throat is tired, I can't do it properly. I think because of the high range, I do need strength from throat to do it, but using diaphragm (ok I guess it isn't really chest voice) to support it helps. Particularly on the higher end of my high range, if I don't use diaphragm, the notes are thinner and weaker. So this is kind of a chest/throat/head mix, where I'm using power from both chest and head to support the high notes. I think this is how more operatic style singing works too. And as a side note, this style and LinZX have also taught me that mouth shape is important! Open your mouth for high notes!
The other kind of head voice I've recently acquired is the Kogeinu style head voice. Unlike other male utaite who sing/scream ridiculously high, Koge keeps a clear, powerful tone. I can do it by pushing the throat/head mix very much to the head side, and getting a more pressurised, narrow note. This extends my high range quite a bit without stressing my throat more, though I'm a little worried that it may not be good for my voice though, because by pushing even more you can get high screams.
Even higher that that would be whistle notes, where you essentially try to sound like a dolphin. Whistle is weird because it doesn't really use head power and is more of a falsetto extension (at least the way I'm doing it, which could be wrong), but I don't practise it much because it's difficult and stressful on my voice.
Other vocal techniques to work on:
One thing that LinZX has been praised for his mastery of, is his consistent chest/head mix throughout his whole (very large) range. Wakana is also very good at this. Basically, they use the same kind of head voice mix for both low and high range, so you can't tell where their chest voice range ends. It's really good for keeping the flow in passages that skip over that break in your range between chest and head, and keeping a consistent tone. However, I can't do it because my chest and head voice sound very different to each other. And I'm not a big fan of the way my head mix sounds when I use it at chest voice range. I think because I lose the head power at lower range so it sounds too weak.
I don't know what this is called actually. Like, when you get a bit of a rough edge on a belted note? After Rib's nama where he was trying to scream like Sekihan (low death metal growls) (lol) and then demonstrated his rough edge on a held note, I really wanted to learn this. Actually, I've always wanted to be able to do this, but I can only do a real one, like clearing your throat, which is really bad for your voice, rather than the technique version, which is the same effect but you use your diaphragm so you don't ruin your throat. However, I've given up for the time being, a) because I think people that can do it have to find a little natural roughness somewhere in their voice and I can't find any, my voice is too clean b) even if you do it the technique way, it will make you voice rougher over time, and I prefer to keep my clean tone. Funnily enough, when I was trying to push my diaphragm to get a rough tone, I accidentally learned how to vibrato instead. I've always sung fairly vibrato-free, which I do prefer, but being able to vibrato when I need to has been something else I've been wanting to learn. Now I can do the 'vibrato at the end of a long note to hide pitch wobbliness' which a lot of people do.
One singer, multiple notes. I first encountered this wtf technique a while ago, but I always thought it would be impossibly hard to learn. Or just impossible full stop. But yesterday, I saw this video, and it's actually quite easy to learn! Basically, you sing a low fundamental note (has to be strong and stable), and shape your mouth/throat to resonate at harmonic frequencies. Because I can whistle, I have some idea of the shape needed. Now to get them louder and actually control them..
I can't pronoun certain words properly. Like 'just'. The vowel disappears and I can't get it to appear and not sound forced lol. Very annoying.
- Current Location:overtone practice = lots of long held low droning 'uuu'
- Current Mood:motivated (to sing.. and do nothing else)
- Thoughts:i wonder if it's more annoying to listen to my falsetto practice or overtone practice