Friday, April 29, 2011

Chest Voice and Head Voice

I found this great blog post by a fellow SLS teacher, Noreen Smith, and thought she did such a nice job explaining chest voice, head voice, and the mix so I thought I would post it.  Noreen, I don't think I could have said it any better myself.

Two of the most commonly used term in singing circles are “Chest Voice” and “Head Voice”. If you’ve always wondered what this actually means, read on….


In the “chest voice” -- the voice most people use to speak with -- people generally feel the resonance of pitches in that area vibrating in their chest. Put your hand on your chest and say the vowel “a” as in “cat” nice and strong -- feel how that seems to resonate between your throat and chest? That’s your chest voice. Then cheer saying, “Woo-hoo!” -- feel how the sound seems to have moved into your head? That’s your head voice.


Now for a more technical explanation: how do the vocal folds work? If you’ve ever seen a picture of the vocal folds in action you’ll see that they are attached at one end in a “V” shape and vibrate together, with the help of breath, along their length to create pitch. (See link below to view video of vocal cords in action). At the pitch “A 440″ (the pitch orchestras tune to) the vocal folds are coming together 440 times/second to create that pitch (the note you hear). Lower pitches have a lower number and pitches up in a singer’s “whistle-tone” register (think Mariah Carey) are vibrating in the 3000′s. When a singer is vocalizing in their chest voice the vocal cords are using their thickest width to create the pitches in that register. Then, at a certain point, the vocal cords have to make a physical shift to reducing the vibrating mass and thickness to create higher pitches. What that means is that the vibrating portion of the vocal folds that is involved in creating the pitch must thin out as the pitches get higher.  Think about how you change pitch with a rubber band.  The lower the desired note, the thicker the vibrating mass of the band will be; the higher the desire pitch, the more you will stretch the band.  Similarly, the voice needs to make a shift to a thinner coordination in the vocal folds as the pitch ascends.  When it comes to bridging from chest to head voice think of the same rubber band experiment:  except that you can only stretch the rubber band so far before you hit a ceiling or break the band (top of your chest voice).  Now stretch the rubber band, but this time, place one finger in the middle of the stretched portion and play the pitch.  Now you’ve “bridged” the band and suddenly have many more higher pitches available without over-straining the vibrating mass.  Do this earlier and you eliminate the chances of breaking the rubber band -- or straining your voice.


The first transition or bridge (also known as passagio), between chest and head voice, generally happens around an E-F# above middle C4 for men and around an Aflat-Bflat above middle C for women. Every singer I’ve ever encountered in my studio struggles at the beginning with either their first or their second bridge, though the first bridge transition is the most common struggle. (Every 4th or augmented 4th interval contains another of these bridges.)


Classical and choral singers tend to sing mostly in their Head Voice. Rock/pop and Musical Theater singers tend to sing in their chest voice without transitioning to a thinner cord, though some can sing in “Mix”, sounding like they are effortlessly taking their chest voice higher in their range. When a singer connects seamlessly between chest voice and head voice, maintaining a consistent tonal quality throughout this transition, this is referred to as “Mix” -- which is just that: a comfortable mix of the elements of chest voice and head voice. To learn more about Mix, watch for my upcoming blog entitled, “BELT vs MIX”.




Seth Riggs, Who is Seth Riggs, Speech Level Singing, SLS, Singing lessons Washington DC, singing lessons Denver Colorado, singing lessons Boulder Colorado, chest voice head voice, what is the mix, difference between chest voice and head voice, speak singing, singing like speaking, singing like you talk

Friday, April 22, 2011

Who is Seth Riggs

Check out Seth Rigg's Resume and Bio found on his website www.sethriggs.com
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Posted by:

Leah Stone 
Certified Speech Level Singing Instructor
Charlie Pants Music
Skype Name: leahstone17
charliepantsmusic@gmail.com 
facebook.com/charliepantsmusic


It Pays to Know the Right Teachers and Contacts

This article from PBS Great Performances titled Josh Groban in Concert Singing Sensation, by Samantha Gleistan, is a fantastic article detailing how Josh Groban got his start with David Foster through Seth Riggs.

Josh Groban in Concert ~ Singing Sensation
"...when Groban was a youthful 17, multi-Grammy-winning producer David Foster found himself in need of a singer to fill in for Michael Crawford at an inauguration party for the newly elected governor of California, Gray Davis. Foster called Groban’s voice teacher at the time, Seth Riggs, and asked for some tapes. Groban’s was among those that Foster received.


Foster recognized something special in Groban’s submission and called on him to sing at the governor’s gala. Groban’s performance marked the beginning of a fantastic series of events that have catapulted him into the eyes, ears, and living rooms of millions. As Foster explains in JOSH GROBAN IN CONCERT, “It only happens a few times in a lifetime that a tape sticks out so dramatically. … I heard all these other tapes and they were all good, but when your voice came on it was just breathtaking. … There is such a place in this world for your voice.” And together, they have been finding that place."


Read whole article HERE.

Seth Riggs has been my vocal coach and is an incredibly talented man.  The method he created, Speech Level Singing,  is a method I truly believe in, which is why I am a certified Speech Level Singing Instructor.   FYI, did you know that Speech Level Singing has taught over 120 Grammy Winners?

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Enellshii

My voice student Enellshii is so incredibly talented and has won several singing competitions in the DC metro area.  I just love this promo piece of hers and thought I would share it. Enellshii studies speech level singing lessons at Charlie Pants Music Studios and has some exciting things happening with BET.

check out her music here http://www.enellshii.com/Music.html  she writes her own music
check her out on her website www.enellshii.com
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