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Full head voice before A4 : my thoughts about the potential and shortcomings of this way of singing
September 10, 2014
11:51 am
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quentin
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Now that i have access to a real computeur and not a phone (it takes me 10 minutes to write a single message with the touchscreen), i would like to echo to Owen and Geran's discussion about Rob's break at F4 and more generally, about the possibility and potential shortcoming of breaking before A4 into a full head voice mechanism (M2).

I would firstly argue that i think Owen and myself did interpret TVS the way it was supposed to work. I own myself the 4 Pillars of singing and have studied it quite extensively. Basically, the process is twofold :

- Get a smooth bridge between chest and full head early on (for most males it will occur before A4).
- Work on head resonance so that the full head voice sounds stronger

The fact that we stay in full head voice is reinforced by the fact that if there is a paragraph on appogio, the method does not in my opinion, lay the stress on how support should work if you want to blend chest or extent chest voice. There is no way one can blend registers without very specific support exercice that get you used to the sensation and, above all, aware of the very physical effort that is deployed.

Note that if you stay in full head, there is a complete confusion of terms that is ocuring. What you mean by "light" or "heavy" are totally different if you sing in M1 or M2.
For instance, when Rob says that he is going for heavier high tones, it is about bringing more resonance on a M2 phonation by, for instance, squeezing more the twanger. But from what i see, most teachers or singers would mean bringing more chest voice, that is, bringing more TA activity, or to say it in another way, more mass on the vocal folds.

About the other TVS teachers, all indeed can blend registers, all the ones i have known and met have, besides developped and refined head voice, a robust and chesty foundation. My first TVS teacher was Olivier Tronquet, check him on Youtube, u l see that this man has a voice of steel. But Olivier also thaught me to shift into full head instead of pushing and from then develop the head voice. Wich makes me think that there is a paradox about teachers endorsing and teaching a singing technique that they do not necessarily use themselves.

I have to add the fact that some people understood the method the very same Owen and me did and are doing great things.
I had the occasion to met Randy Loran, who i think has this early bridging technique, and hell he had a big head voice :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nNWj0W53CA

Check out his singing because i think he is a quite a success story of someone singing in a very heady coordination.
Rob himself had laid down some good singing (i think about his AIC cover for instance).

Note that some artists also use this coordination and sing in M2 very early : Geoff tate and Ian Gillan are two of them.

The problem is that to my ears, most singers, even the singers qualified as "light" do not do this. Take the exemple of Perry. He sings very lightly, has sometimes even a breathy quality, but what I hear is a light mix, which means that Perry works in an already blended register, when he can decide to add more chest or sound headier. In full head, you simply can't do it. All you can do is squeeze the twanger or let more air go through.

If i am not clear, watch the above video with Randy singing Take Hold of the Flame and compare it with Felipe's cover. Its very interesting. Both in my opinion sound great, but the coordination they have is totally different to my ears. Randy is in a very beefy head voice while Felipe sings in a light mix. Their physical sensation might be entierely different while the sing the same song on the same key.

So, to sum up :
- Owen and me did not misinterpret the method
- Some TVS student who are featured actually interpreted the same way we did
- Early full head voice (before or on A4) can be used in specific interpretations

Thus said, there are many shortcoming i have seen :

Firstly, i think it takes years, not monthes, to do what Randy is doing in the video. I have tried for several monthes and although i would sound really convincing doing sirens up to a full head with all the reverb, i would always sound differently when trying to sing actual songs, sung by people who were actually doing it in chest or mixed voice.

Secondly, you are stuck in a very specific way of singing. Unless you wanna sing Tate or Axl Rose songs, the idea that singing in full M2 equates with "light mass singing" is false. Actually, most "light mass singers" sing in mixed voice/blended register, and there is no way to sing like them without an extensive knowledge and training of support. I personally find light mix quite challenging, especially on low notes or these reasons.

Thirdly, Ken Tamplin warned about the atrophy of the chest voice that results into too much head voice pampering. It might explain part of Lunte's vocal problems around F4. It might be the outcome the lack of chest stretching, or maybe something else (like working a lot).

I don't want to sound like doing a bash campaign against something or someone, but just voice my opinions about the pros and the cons about going in full head voice before A4. Some TVS students are doing great picking the same patterns me and Owen did, but for me, it hans't clicked with what i wanted to do.
I would be very interested by what you guys have to say about it!

September 10, 2014
12:42 pm
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Felipe Carvalho
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Hello Quentin,

Thanks for opening the thread man. I have something I wanted to mention.

We should take a bit of care before saying it's a vocal problem or that it causes "atrophy" or something of the sorts. As you mentioned it IS what he sells, and it is what he says he does and also what is demonstrated!

So saying it's wrong, in my opinion, is not possible thinking just on that.

There is however a musical problem. You see we have expectations, and we do know what students are trying to achieve. In my opinion if you are training someone that want to do vocals like Labrie or Geoff Tate, it could work. But on a lot of pop repertoire, it does not.

Thinking of the technical side. The bridge into M2, if done above B4 or C5 is usually not relevant. When you bring it lower however, there is a notable change in quality and specially on males it can mess up the interpretation.

Counter tenors and female classical singers, depending on the fach, do it more like this. And its exactly like described in TVS, you match the intensity on both registers. However, its done higher than the first passage.

The number of qualities you can do on M1 are large, and when soft it can be similar to "falsetto" so it's not so straight forward to classify. I'm actually gathering multiple samples of both registers from lot's of capable singers to put together in an article, to help clarify this. May have something next week or so.

Felipe Carvalho
Singer and Voice Teacher in Brasil - São Paulo

September 10, 2014
1:39 pm
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OwenKorzec
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Great post Quentin.

I agree with most of the things you said. I do differ a bit in my perception of how Rob and Randy sing, it tends to be ambiguous for most people but this is what I hear.

I think Randy Loran, especially recently, is actually not bridging as early as Rob does a lot. I think he is a lighter voice by nature (Rob has alluded to this) so he can bridge later and it still sounds light. I recall in older videos he sounded headier so I think he may have actually successfully improved from bridging early to full voice through his training with Rob, but this was after like you said, many many years of training.

Rob Lunte has gone through many different phases of his voice. He seems to drop off the support and be forced to shift to head voice that kind of way, anywhere between E4-A4 depending on what time period and how he decided to sing. But never full voice above Ab4 and it would be a mix at that. His true full voice, I have heard it very occasionally from him, and not higher than F4 really, in any singing situation.

What Rob does to navigate his range smoothly (albeit with issues sometimes) is actually very advanced and I'm surprised he is able to do it without a solid full voice foundation.

For me personally I grew impatient of growing my head voice trying to make it full and when I realized that approach made bridging very difficult I knew something was wrong. So I switched to the approach of training my big boy full voice and take the strain out of it (what Rob does not teach) and then chilling it out with finesse over time.

That is one of the ironic issues of Rob's technique, he actually does not teach how to reduce strain because the approach he recommends evades it rather than fixes it.

That's all I can post for now, I have to go grab some lunch before class but I'll leave it at that.

September 10, 2014
3:47 pm
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OwenKorzec
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I want to add, the big main issue is that this bridging early approach taught by TVS creates a sonic result that is rare in contemporary singing and typically not well regarded (if you look at the like/dislike ratio on Rob's videos, or on others, his need to hide that from the public, this is sadly evident). In a perfect world, our society would be open to this TVS sound, which is the mindset I came from when I began the method. I do kind of dig that lighter sound. But the reality is, if you look at the response he's gotten and our discussions about it, we come to a clear conclusion: at least half of the rest of the world generally perceives early unsupported bridging as fake and unconvincing.

I say bridging early because that is exactly what it is - Rob claims he can teach late bridging but since he does not understand it first hand through demonstrative ability, it has hit or miss results on his students because he is merely parroting information he's hastily gathered from other programs and teaching others through that. A lot of his certified instructors do better as demonstrators (i won't speak for their teaching, no experience with them) because they have also had training with other methods.

Quentin is correct that light mass does not equate with early bridging though it tends to. What carries throughout though is that to be convincing as a light singer you need to support correctly and there must be no break, and the crucial importance of this goes as intimate as how it feels to the singer, since that has a sonic effect. OR you have to own up to that it's a strengthened falsetto/head, and be that kind of singer. Bon Iver is a great example of an artist achieving great success at this approach of singing pop in low M2. Because there is no illusion. Unfortunately there is no way to create a true vocal illusion or something as intuitively blatant as register and intensity except to audiences who don't really care much about singing. In today's society, that is actually the minority.

As a TVS student Rob does a lot to brainwash you into thinking there is no difference between the TVS sound and what your idols are doing and I think this begins in his own head - he believes this. He also believes this technique works for all styles etc. What I had to discover through breaking from that and following my intuition and other vocal coaches on the forum (which were both more correct) is that TVS technique done as directed, as Quentin says, interpreted correctly, creates a unique sound that has little stylistic use. If MISinterpreted, it could be fantastic, but there are no guarantees on that.

Done by the book and as the demonstrator demonstrates, what is it good for? My personal uses, I use it a lot for backing vocals and harmonies because it blends nicely due to its lighter weight, the weird character doesn't pop out if it's lower in the mix, and it makes accessing higher pitches a lot easier. Or layered with full voice on the same pitch, it sounds cool. Also sounds great above the C5. Easily made listenable anywhere with enough reverb. Sometimes a nice replacement for flipping to falsetto if you want an in between effect. That's about it. I use it as an effect. Listen to my soundcloud and you will hear me use it a lot and I like it, it's fine. It's just very very limited due to the fact that is something that really has qualities that need to be hid. Not sure what creates these qualities but they are especially evident - the lack of proper vocal weight, assisted by artificially produced resonance, at a volume where you could easily fill up the tone through adding vocal weight alone (and it would sound natural that way), creates a compromised tone and that's really the problem.

Hopefully this is just the clear honest truth.

His method is still about 5 times better than SS and many SLS methods so I have to give him credit for having a method that rises about that, but there is much better out there, or should I say, right here in the forum. Wink.

September 10, 2014
3:53 pm
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OwenKorzec
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One more point to add. There are no major problems with TVS' approach to training the natural range. My tone down there benefited mountains from training with him. In comparison, incorrectly taught SLS and SS will tear down your lower register as well. Again, those methods are the REAL problem if we are talking what worldwide consumers are being exposed to through excess advertising and charging extremely horrific rates for etc.

September 10, 2014
4:35 pm
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Felipe Carvalho
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Yes Owen, this is a very important point in my opinion.

If you know what you are doing, you know what you are changing and you know how you are producing it, it may not be appropriate for what you want to perform, but well, at least you are doing it willingly, it's a controlled act.

But a lot of people teach the two registers system without understanding both the mechanisms AND the technique, if you try to mix these registers directly, then you are in for a very interesting trip because what most people relate to the change are just tensions that get released... Not to mention the nuclear godzilla breeding where people WRITE about what they are doing and people tell them they SOUND great. Confused

Felipe Carvalho
Singer and Voice Teacher in Brasil - São Paulo

September 10, 2014
10:28 pm
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daniel formica
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Late bridging ,early bridging confusion..the easy answer is, if you "bridge" and then fully release into m2 your not doing it correctly your just going to m2 which is falsetto. Bridging is about resonance shifts so there is one around Bb3 C4ish and then at Eb4-F#ish(main) then again at A4ish to around c#5ish then they repeat. Hope that helps..felipe said it in a condensed version;)

September 10, 2014
11:54 pm
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OwenKorzec
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Agreed Dan good simple explanation.

September 11, 2014
1:02 am
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Phil Moufarrege
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daniel formica said

Late bridging ,early bridging confusion..the easy answer is, if you "bridge" and then fully release into m2 your not doing it correctly your just going to m2 which is falsetto. Bridging is about resonance shifts so there is one around Bb3 C4ish and then at Eb4-F#ish(main) then again at A4ish to around c#5ish then they repeat. Hope that helps..felipe said it in a condensed version;)

This is the answer. Thanks Daniel.

In the clip, Randy is in a mix, he isn't fully in m2 (non airy falsetto) like what Rob does. What separates a mix from M2 is that a mix has chest in it meaning you can crescendo it bigger and it will stay in fullvoice. To take an M2 to fullvoice you have to already possess the capability to sing that note in full voice.
If you learn to maintain a balance of chest as you ascend, keeping a strong full voice then you can always come back and strip it down smaller and thinner. You cannot however bridge into a full m2 at A4 and expect to be hitting chesty C5s unless you've already built the capability to hit the C5 like that. But if you can hit C5s like that you can always choose to do them lighter and lighter.

Another thing, just swelling M2 won't ever develop full voice. If its possible then it probably takes 500 years. Swelling headvoice is a good thing to do in order to build a strong headvoice that can sustain the weight of chest mixing into it. But it won't transform into fullvoice unless when you swell it you are really doing a mezza divoce (which is changing the actual configuration not merely swelling volume)

@PhilMoufarrege
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Grow-The-Voice.com | PHILMOUFARREGE.com

September 11, 2014
7:59 am
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quentin
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Helo guys,

Firstly, thanks a lot for your valuable imput on this thread.

Owen, there are a lot of things you said that resonate with my own ear and experience and i could write several pages just discussing everything you wrote.
Randy had indeed progressively changed part of the things he used to do. Its blattant when one listens to his later works with his journey tribute band The Infinity Project. About what he was doing earlier, and in the video i linked, its a bit controversial because I would say it is a very abducted M2 while Phil said in his last post that it is a light mix, so i am a bit confused now. For me, the light mix sounds closer to what Felipe is doing on the same cover.

I had the chance to meet Randy in person and he is quite an original and versatile singer. He was singing More than a feeling and i asked him multiple times if he was in full head or in another register. He told me he could do both and i asked him to do a A4 in both modes (mixed voice and pure head voice) and honestly, it was even hard for me to draw a difference. But again, he might still be in a light mix, as Phil suggested and mistaking it for M2.

Edit : I suppressed the argument about Rob having a genuine vocal problem because i am not sure. I made this claim on the basis of noticing that his voice had a tendency to flip around e4, like loosing abduction. I am not a professional but owen might know better than me since he trained for a longer period.

Owen - did i understand you well? -, when you say he is using mix sometimes or chest in the E4 - A#4 area, it must be very recent, because i have never heard it. His wovel choice indicates more a "split voice" approach between overdrive (a "shouty quality" chest voice) and metal like neutral (abducted and twangy M2).

About the musical problem, Felipe we are on the same wavelength. If TVS was being presented as the ultimate Geoff Tate singing method it would be ok for me. But as Owen said, you are tricked into thinking that you can sing just like any great tenor rock powerhouse or great pop artist. What adds confusion is the fact that TVS instructors endorse a program aimed at a style they barely, or sparsely use. I think this is where i got mislead, like Owen. Rob is one of the few TVS teachers that demonstrates what he teaches at least, even if when i started TVS, i was only aware of his singing in his very high range, which sounded cool because it isn't there that the problem of singing in M2 rise.

Owen, there are many things that are really mind buggling for me.
The first thing is that it is eventually way way harder to sing like he does in the A4 - C5 areas that the more classical register blending. I know because i have sung like this too and you whennever your songs revolve around A4 with a lot of phrasing, it becomes exceptionally tricky. All in all, and provided you have a competent teacher (which in itself is actually quite hard to find!), it is so easier to learn how to blend. Six monthes of training with Phil and i now sing songs that would still be a nightmare to sing in the "two voices" paradigm.

There is Geran's interpretation that he is stuck there and tries to hide it because it puts him in a tricky position as a voice teacher... i don't know. I would say with Owen that it was a myth he was himself fully into although he has made recent attempts to incorporate late bridging formulas and ideas in the TVS terminology.

One other thing is that i share Owen's surprise about doing quite convincing sirens with such an underdevlelopped chest foundation. It is very tricky. I can do these sirens myself but there is always a moment when i have to back off vocal weigth to switch into M2. I can send you guys a sample of what i can achieve. I was never fully able to do them the way he did.

All in all, i would still say that it is an exotic and very specific technique that in fact is way harder to pull down than the blending register. I guess if Robs complicates himslef so much, it is because is is going for the sound. But then, why all this vocabulary about "hiding", "create the illusion", "sound like". If you wanna sound like chest belts, then why not strecthing chest voice?

I have to go to class, but i l add more tomorrow

September 11, 2014
9:52 am
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wabba_treads420
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Awesome debate everyone! I just want to echo what was said earlier in the thread.

For me, singing in a really light mix (while retaining part of my full voice in the sound) while singing at a lighter volume/intensity is still one of my major obstacles for a deeper voiced guy like me. I've talked about these songs before, but singing in areas like these with the same QUALITY is really a lot more tricky than it sounds hahahah.

Here Elton is doing some of his classic lighter mass mid range singing. Listen to how he swells the volume in and out on the phrases "butterfly" and "free" with some stylistic vibrato. Those are freakin hard to do the way he does. By the looks/sounds of it, he is narrowing his vowels and possibly using mask as his mouth stays in a halfway shut position ala Stevie Wonder. While its more head voice/falsetto than full voice, just the way he meshes it with his full voice on phrases like "Someone saved my life tonight" is pretty tricky for me to do and not straight up belt. It goes from F4-G4-G#4 which is an area of my range I'm still developing in mix. Still I can see why, Elton lowered the key nowadays from Gb major to F Major nowadays. He has a lot deeper voice after his surgery, and its probably a lot harder for him to do the light mixed voice approach like in "Tiny Dancer" and this song because his natural voice placement is set a lot lower than when he was younger. I can see now why Ken Tamplin grows the mixed voice last, because its hard to pull off that quality without musculature/coordination developed. I should probably try to avoid songs like these for now.

This is another tricky one. Lots of mezza de voce here too from light mixed to a more full voice. Paring down the sound like he does, yet still keeping the full voice quality albeit in a lighter setup is one of my goals for the long term.

September 11, 2014
10:20 am
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Martin H
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It's important to know that "mix" can be done in either M1 or M2 depending on the range. :)

September 11, 2014
1:54 pm
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Jens
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I agree with martin, you guys are more discussing soundcolor/vocalweight than registration in my point of view. Also Quentin and Owen ive been through that journey you now are heading "the grass is greener on the other side thing"
But you will like me still be standing there and doing the same thing (scales on vowels and consonants or sirens) regardless of what program you choose to work with. The Tvs program is core technique, then what sounds your gonna end up using is your choice...

im gonna qoute daniel here your entire voice needs to be trained, to gain balance however if your not good with bridgeing your chest to head it's stupid to go down the belt route(for most singers) cause if your falsetto/headregister is not strong going for heavyer sounds is gonna make the very top of your range extremly undominant and weak.

Also i feel like your comfusing Luntes personal style with his program, as people have said during these posts the other guys working with this technique doesnt sound like lunte by the simple reason they choose not to.

cheers

September 11, 2014
2:54 pm
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wabba_treads420
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Martin H said

It's important to know that "mix" can be done in either M1 or M2 depending on the range. :)

Well, in that case I have trouble bringing in some M1 while in M2 rather than the other way around.

Hope that made sense lol.

September 11, 2014
3:00 pm
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Felipe Carvalho
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The case is that you don't bring one into the other wabba, you are either in one or the other. That's all. And both are capable of power, beauty, dynamics, etc... when used on the range that they work.

Felipe Carvalho
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September 11, 2014
3:02 pm
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wabba_treads420
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Jens said

I agree with martin, you guys are more discussing soundcolor/vocalweight than registration in my point of view. Also Quentin and Owen ive been through that journey you now are heading "the grass is greener on the other side thing"
But you will like me still be standing there and doing the same thing (scales on vowels and consonants or sirens) regardless of what program you choose to work with. The Tvs program is core technique, then what sounds your gonna end up using is your choice...

im gonna qoute daniel here your entire voice needs to be trained, to gain balance however if your not good with bridgeing your chest to head it's stupid to go down the belt route(for most singers) cause if your falsetto/headregister is not strong going for heavyer sounds is gonna make the very top of your range extremly undominant and weak.

Also i feel like your comfusing Luntes personal style with his program, as people have said during these posts the other guys working with this technique doesnt sound like lunte by the simple reason they choose not to.

cheers

Ditto @ Jens, Martin and Daniel. There absolutely is such a thing as head voice atrophy. Thats the other end of the spectrum, many people seem to think that chest voice atrophy is the only kind that exists. Listen to Brian Johnson on "Thunderstruck" and thats the most extreme example. He sounds slightly more rehabilitated nowadays though, and much better than he sounded there.

September 11, 2014
3:09 pm
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wabba_treads420
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Felipe Carvalho said

The case is that you don't bring one into the other wabba, you are either in one or the other. That's all. And both are capable of power, beauty, dynamics, etc... when used on the range that they work.

Well then, I'm not entirely sure who made up the term "mixed voice" is, but based on what you said, it should not exist then. If you're in either one register or the other, what is it thats being mixed? Smile Does it have more to do with resonance, like Daniel said?

Ok this is getting interesting. Do you believe that mixed voice is a legitimate term? Much like curbing or twang and the like? Or is it more of an abstract thing.

It is not my intention to confuse or anger anyone, I really just want to figure this thing out. Laugh

September 11, 2014
3:30 pm
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Felipe Carvalho
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There is a reason but it's not really important to get into this. If it's legitimate, sure, just like chest, head, and other similar terms, but they ARE abstract. The two register system is very old and it is not accurate with the physiology, if you try to tie these things to ANY single coordination, it's very likely that you will find problems. They are more related to the sensations of how you use your voice than anything else...

Felipe Carvalho
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September 11, 2014
3:48 pm
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Martin H
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@wabba

I definitely second Felipe. Actually nothing is getting "mixed", which is also why this term is so illusive. The key point is adduction. The more adduction, the more "mixed" or "chestier" it will sound. And that goes for both M1 and M2. :)

September 12, 2014
12:11 am
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OwenKorzec
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My response to some stuff from quentin's post:
"Edit : I suppressed the argument about Rob having a genuine vocal problem because i am not sure. I made this claim on the basis of noticing that his voice had a tendency to flip around e4, like loosing abduction. I am not a professional but owen might know better than me since he trained for a longer period."

I wouldn't call it a vocal problem, overall. He is in spectacular vocal health in the sense that I have never heard him go hoarse. It is simply a coordinating problem, an imbalance and it does indeed show up in his singing and vocalizing from time to time, often a noticeable change of "voice" in a song or a brief yodel moment on a vocalize. And I basically picked up the same issues from training with him.

"Owen - did i understand you well? -, when you say he is using mix sometimes or chest in the E4 - A#4 area, it must be very recent, because i have never heard it. His wovel choice indicates more a "split voice" approach between overdrive (a "shouty quality" chest voice) and metal like neutral (abducted and twangy M2)."

What I meant is he will never stay in full chest above F4 but I think he tends to sing D4-G#4 in what sounds like a mix to me and then above that, any convincing chesty quality is gone and it's obvious M2. His Rooster cover is a great example of this. I'd call it a mix simply because my ears are left wondering whether it's M1 or M2 in that D4-G#4 range. I don't mean he's in a solid M1 phonation with good head resonance. It is definitely more of a heady mix, but still not as heady and disconnected from the chest as what I was doing when I trained with him so I guess it just kind of...confuses me, lol.

"Owen, there are many things that are really mind buggling for me.
The first thing is that it is eventually way way harder to sing like he does in the A4 - C5 areas that the more classical register blending. I know because i have sung like this too and you whennever your songs revolve around A4 with a lot of phrasing, it becomes exceptionally tricky. All in all, and provided you have a competent teacher (which in itself is actually quite hard to find!), it is so easier to learn how to blend. Six monthes of training with Phil and i now sing songs that would still be a nightmare to sing in the "two voices" paradigm."

Interesting. I agree but I guess it's working for me on a different range, being more of a lower voice than you. I find since training with Phil, my A4-C#5 region now actually seems harder, only because I've raised my standard to not just allow myself to cheat and use M2. However with Phil my ability to sing tough phrases confidently up to G4/G#4 has improved, and I can do easier phrases to about A#4. But yes the point is the same as you, I'm now working within my extended M1 rather than having to jump over the vocal break to be comfortable again, if that makes sense. I think it makes some songs harder and others easier, but the songs I am left able to do, sound way more polished since the approach is more accurate to what the original singer is almost always doing - staying in the same voice from top to bottom, not relying on two "voices" and hopping over a break.

And you never get stuck, that is the best part. The mental idea of staying in M1 without strain forces you to find and pamper quite a straight pathway for the range to be extended further, it grows fast even though it's physically harder, simply because the path to success is clear and consistent. Whereas mental idea of switching from M1 to M2 and trying to smooth that out over time is an extremely frustrating fixing/repairing approach, really drilling into your mind that there is problem with your voice and there could be a million causes for having a bridging problem.

So the answer for me was really, don't bridge. Start over with no bridge. The bridge is caused only by not taking the correct path of range extension in the first place.

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