Friday, October 28, 2011

Your body makes up for your voice

Most people sing with their throats (vocal chords). Since our voices comes from within the larynx where the voice box is, we do exert so much effort pulling all the sound that we can get from our vocal chords. We all depend on the power of that single muscle not knowing that sound production does not solely depend on the voice itself. In turn we end up falling short in the middle of our performance as we try to reach for the high notes as hard as we could possibly get.

There are certain things we should consider in the proper creation of sound when we sing. In this way, it would be easier for choir members to determine "where" to acquire or produce that particular sound. Singers, vocal teachers and experts has termed it the "vocal register" or better yet "vocal registration."

There have been many discussions made over the Internet about the vocal register which is too technical for most of us. I will be discussing this portion a bit simpler (if possible) for others to understand. Most of the information I will be sharing are purely based on observation, reasearch and experience as I have used and relayed it to my own choral group.

The standard vocal registers are the chest voice (chest tone), the mid voice (normal voice), the head voice (head tone) and the falsetto. Each vocal register will require certain parts of your body to produce the right sound. Resonance is a key factor to righfully produce the desired sound.

Chest Voice (chest tone)
The chest voice is where the low tones are produced and requires the chest cavity being the largest part of the body, to create the sound. All low tones or low sounds should be created in the vocal chords with the support of the chest area. To validate this information, you can try to make a low humming sound and you will feel your chest vibrate on the process. Low sounds will resonate from within the chest area up to your vocal chords.

Mid Voice (Normal Voice)
The mid voice is our normal voice. Most of the middle range tones are created at this level. But to make the chest voice more powerful, make use of the nasal cavity for resonance (based on my observation). In this way all tones will be well-rounded and pure which is preferred among choral groups. Resonating with your nasal cavity will force the air through our mouth which in turn keep our mouth open while we sing. Again, air is one important recipe in singing. Through regular practice the body will learn to hold in the air and make use of it in proper amounts as we create each sound while we sing.

Head Voice (Head tone)
The head tone is the upper part of the vocal register. All upper range tones are created at this level. To experience the head voice, you may try to simulate an ambulance's siren. When you create the sound of a siren, you'll feel a slight vibration in your head. Pulling back your tongue inside your mouth as you open your mouth wide-open and lining it up with your soft palate ("ngala-ngala" in Tagalog) will make a more distinct angelic voice. The head voice is much noticeable among female "soprano" singers.

This voice is generally used by the male voice making a false high-pitched sound when they sing. This type of voice register is commonly used by famous groups like Earth Wind and Fire, The Bee gees and our local artist VST and Company. Creating this sound is so much similar to the head tone only that when done by the male singer results in a very unique sound.

The vocal register can be compared to a regular speaker system. The standard speaker system has three (3) different speakers installed in it for it to produce the right sound as relayed by the source (a radio or an amplifier). It has a large bass speaker (usually at the middle) for the lowest tones, a nominal mid-sized speaker and small-sized tweeters for the high pitched sounds. Each part will take their function to create the different pitches. The absence of one of them will result to the loss in sound quality. Either lacking depth or brilliance in some manner.

Upon knowing the vocal registers, the singer can grasp some basic knowledge regarding sound production. Modulating our voice through the respective vocal registers will make it easier for us to deliver the right sound without further damaging our vocal chords.


Now I know what a falsetto is. thanks for sharing

I really find it hard to do the head tone. I remember I was asked to sing on a head tone and I can't just do that...

Used to be one of those active choir members of our school before but I was always categorized as Alto singer. Thanks for sharing. 

I used to be in the choir during my elementary years. Reminds me of the constant murmuring of our choir master to perfect the head tone

I've always been a frustrated singer...then being in the cold for 6 months and singing non-stop and getting colds often, my voice got better lol...i don't know why and I find it funny I sing much better now. :D

i like to sing but the song does not like my vocal chords, so i just sing when i do my house chores hihi

me too, choir till HS...i can say practice makes perfect and since i don't have any practice, i'd rather not sing outside our home...

Sinigng is not my forte .I do love to sing but songs don't and that really frustrates me a lot .

HAHA. This article is so funny. I'm a guitarist, however I suck at singing. I mean, I really really suck. Oh well :))

I like to sing but I don't have a good voice. Haha! My daughter joined their school's glee club and loves singing, with a better voice than I have. I hope she'll be able to learn more and improve too.

Thanks for sharing this. All the while, I thought head toe is the same as falsetto :) I'm one of the vocal singers in our church. This info really helps. :)

Same here. Just found out about it after making a few reads and asking around from fellow choir masters.

Hahaha. I am reading every single word on this post. Looking for the words that might say na I have the chance to be a good singer even matanda na. Eh wala. hahaha. Anyway, sasayaw n lang ako kesa kumanta. Hehehe. Thanks for sharing this.

frustrated singer ako so i will try this. hehe!

yes I just heard in mother of Charice that you should open wide your mouth that the mic can go trough

Actually, di din ako magaling kumanta. But when I knew this one, medyo nag-improve yung pagkanta ko even so do my choir mates.

I can't find the old video of my choir showing how horrible we perform on the early years of the group.

 This post reminds me how I used to sing in the cracks. They threw me to the piano but after one concert I returned to useless mode. Thanks for this informative post.  Good old days - poked some nostalgia in me.

Hmm...I did not know that you can better pull off the head tone by pulling in your tongue! I crunch my abs though. I'm also part of the church choir (soprano) but I'd like to be in alto because I like singing low (more like Karen Carpenter). :)

c5 @

was a church choir member in a cfc group years back when i was younger! i just love singing but really not that good singer. thanks for sharing this. wish i could do these tips to be a singer again.. to have a beautiful voice ! :)

bookmarked for future use, thanks for the info!

My recent post Spoliarium 

Browsed a bit and, hey, plenty of useful info here...

Yup, wide open...i remember our music teacher used to say. they say practice makes perfect-i guess i'm not doing it right. i just wish my voice will cooperate. i also like to sing but its good only my kids hear me these days. 

Ang hirap kaya kumanta! *Bitter* LoL! Although I once squirmed my way into a choir and I was part of that for a whole semester! Kinda nice reminiscing again these terms that we learned as part of choir lessons. :D

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