The open throat

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The open throat

Postby pabrah » Sun Jan 04, 2015 5:40 am

I'm wondering, how much of an "open throat" should there be at all times, barring I assume if you use some vocal effect (I haven't read the book in a while)?


I have silent reflux/LPR, and this seems to result in some "closed off" areas of my upper range, where I would just stop like I hit a wall, or if a male tries to sing a 7th octave note without whistle etc. I also would fail the "onset test" where if I tried to start with a falsetto onset there'd be a delay. When I'd finish practice sessions the back of my throat/larynx would be a little sore, and I seemed to lose some range, but I still got to be a much better singer than I was before.

I've recently discovered keeping the throat COMPLETELY open, to where it feels like I'm almost singing nasally/right behind the nasal passages, but when I pinch my nose the tone doesn't change or disappear, so I know it's not actually nasal. Is this "Correct"? I know it might depend on the mode being used, but I'm wondering in general. Another thing is when singing this "open" way my upper range is returned and I can even, as a guy who'd classify himself as a high baritone (not that fach really matters in pop) sing a LOUD C6, where before I was topping out at ~A5 but I could feel my larynx being tense. I feel like I may have picked up some bad habits to "get around" the reflux and now that I have it under control to an extent I keep using bad technique.

The only problem is that now, where before I was on Level 5 of 8 in the program I'm using (no offense to CVT, I like it a lot, but as someone who can't afford steady lessons I find a program with a practice routine to be the best), I tried Level 1 and even then I had trouble. I pretty much have a way more powerful high end now but trying to blend my voice and sing seamlessly is gone with this new technique.

So yeah, I'm curious if the reeeaaallly open throat/ no feeling at all in my throat+ feeling in the nasal/mask area is correct. I could try to post a clip or two if it would help. Thanks.
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Re: The open throat

Postby highnotemaniac » Sun Jan 04, 2015 3:11 pm

If you have read the book you should be aware of the fact that the term "open throat" is only an image or a sensation. It's not really possible to keep an open throat. Think about doing a high pitched Edge sound with added distortion, doesn't seem very "open" to me :D Keeping an open throat means anatomically avoiding uncontrolled constrictions which is achieved by obeying the three overall principles and the restrictions of the modes.

The new thing you found sounds a lot like you're twanging more. "A sound that seems kind of nasal but isn't really nasal". Also "singing in the mask" is an old-school term for twaging more, at least partly.
You mentioned that now you feel less tension in your throat which indicates that the twanging has helped you to keep an open throat (=avoid uncontrolled contrictions).

It's hard to say whether your problem is completely technical or physical one since you didn't mention if you have had a doctor to check the condition of your vocal cords. At least for me, I find it very difficult to produce a falsetto sound (I'm assuming you mean Flageolet below high C) during or right after flu or laryngitis indicating that my vocal cords are a bit swollen.
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Re: The open throat

Postby pabrah » Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:17 pm

highnotemaniac wrote:If you have read the book you should be aware of the fact that the term "open throat" is only an image or a sensation. It's not really possible to keep an open throat. Think about doing a high pitched Edge sound with added distortion, doesn't seem very "open" to me :D Keeping an open throat means anatomically avoiding uncontrolled constrictions which is achieved by obeying the three overall principles and the restrictions of the modes.

The new thing you found sounds a lot like you're twanging more. "A sound that seems kind of nasal but isn't really nasal". Also "singing in the mask" is an old-school term for twaging more, at least partly.
You mentioned that now you feel less tension in your throat which indicates that the twanging has helped you to keep an open throat (=avoid uncontrolled contrictions).

It's hard to say whether your problem is completely technical or physical one since you didn't mention if you have had a doctor to check the condition of your vocal cords. At least for me, I find it very difficult to produce a falsetto sound (I'm assuming you mean Flageolet below high C) during or right after flu or laryngitis indicating that my vocal cords are a bit swollen.


Thanks for the reply!


I should clarify that I know it's literally impossible for the throat to be truly open, but my "before" style I could feel my throat closing, and maybe a slight tickle there, but nothing that would concern you. As I sung higher my tongue would rise, even when focusing on being open. Now my tongue can stay down and My throat doesn't feel anything. I have no idea how skilled of a singer you are, but I'm assuming regardless you've had at least a few moments where you sing a high note that sounds full but it feels as effortless as falsetto, nothing in the throat at all? This is how my 'after' feels. It feels like I'm more likely to get tired from the vibrations in my head instead of my throat haha.

In regards to a doctor, I went to an ENT on Oct 25, 2013 and he said my cords were completely healthy, just irritated from reflux. He said I could sing RIGHT NOW aka I didn't have to take some time off to let the reflux heal etc. Sure that's been over a year now but since then I haven't gotten worse and I haven't had any moments of hoarseness, laryngitis etc so I think I'm still safe.
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Re: The open throat

Postby highnotemaniac » Mon Jan 05, 2015 1:03 am

Well, I'm kinda struggling with the same problem but I, luckily, don't get a sore throat after pushing harder :D I'm still working with support which is still giving me a hard time after years of practise. But luckily you can also practise other stuff along the way which, hopefully, can be easily improved and transferred to the higher pitches when I get my support working.

I can make pretty loud (around volumes 7-8) and "full sounding" notes in the higher part of my voice. They are a bit unstable but they feel pretty free. They are not Flageolet but there's a whole lot stuff going wrong with them as well. My throat has probably just figured a way to compensate the excessive air pressure and that's what I've got so far. Here's a link to a sound example I made a while ago in case you're interested :)

https://www.dropbox.com/s/dsa1k99w5r6mq5g/EB4.mp3?dl=0

But what comes to your question, whether you're doing something right, the answer is pretty clear I think. If something has enabled you to do things more effortlessly with less discomfort and the sound is okey I think you're on the right track :)
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Re: The open throat

Postby pabrah » Tue Jan 06, 2015 5:00 am

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Re: The open throat

Postby Mungfield » Tue Jan 06, 2015 1:32 pm

Hi

Pabrah, the way I hear it, you speak primarily in medium volume edge with some creaking. (creaking happens when you speak at a volume that is below the minimum volume for edge or when you go below your lower limit and into pulse-register)

When doing the glissando, you also use medium edge below the break and neutral above the break.

I would practice the glissando much more slowly to develop a smooth transition.

You could also consider using curbing for the high notes and neutral only for very high notes. That would probably make it easier to get a smooth transition, since edge and neutral are further apart than edge and curbing. This way you would have three modes and two transitions.
I personally prefer using edge/overdrive up to D/E above middle C and curbing above.

Edit: in the second clip, there seems to be less neutral. Perhaps the very high D5 is in edge-like. But you start on D4 in edge (before the glissando) and end up in edge. In other words, if there is a transition in the second clip, it probably happens higher up compared to the first clip.

Best regards
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Re: The open throat

Postby highnotemaniac » Wed Jan 07, 2015 2:31 am

In your first clip you use Neutral for the very high notes. If you wanna try to make them a little bit stronger sounding I would just try adding more Twang. This way you could at least get them a bit more usable if you wanna do those rock n' roll screams :D But in order to achieve Edge-like Neutral (which is the most commonly used mode around those pitches in male rock screaming) you need a little bit more volume as well. Bottom-top approach is probably a better way than ending up forcing and hurting yourself.

Why don't you do the descending glissando slower? Now everything isn't happening incrementally. The break is caused by changing abruptly from Flageolet (partial vibrations of the cords, necessity above C5) to full voice. When doing the glissando too fast you don't give yourself a chance to adjust your voice so your body decides to do something on its own. I would do the descending glissando slowly while making sure that the volume stays the same or even making it louder if possible. This is way you also avoid the risk of Flageolet below C5.

In the second clip the first note sounds like Curbing on the vowel "UH" and then you slide down with Metal-like Neutral (Edge- or Curbing-like) and end up back to Curbing. You also alter the vowel in the end in the direction of "A" which makes it Edge.

The sound in the third clip is Edge or Edge-like Neutral on the vowel "A".

But all in all, I wouldn't spent so much time on analyzing what note is in what mode. It doesn't necessarily help you much. Rather focus on the areas that are causing you troubles: Why something doesn't work, why something doesn't sound good/isn't the way I want it to sound like.

If I were you I would just do normal scales from bottom to top. Since you wanted powerful high notes: pick up, for example, the vowel "EH" as in "Hey". Then sing in medium/loud volume as high as you can, a half step at a time and see what happens. Remember to Support and Twang more the higher you go. When you get in trouble post a sound clip of it. That tells us much more.

Mungfield wrote:Hi

You could also consider using curbing for the high notes and neutral only for very high notes. That would probably make it easier to get a smooth transition, since edge and neutral are further apart than edge and curbing. This way you would have three modes and two transitions.
I personally prefer using edge/overdrive up to D/E above middle C and curbing above.

Best regards


How would Neutral be further apart from Edge than from Curbing, now when it is pointed out that the medium volumes (4-7) can be achieved with the full metallic modes as well? Which also means that using plain Curbing above D4/E4 is nonsense in practise. The vowel being used decides the mode. The most of what was defined previously as Curbing is nowadays something else. Overdrive, Edge and Metal-like Neutral are more commonly used than Curbing.

Of course you can always direct your voice towards Curbing, but you should do that only if you want that particular sound. And I wouldn't say it makes things any easier.
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Re: The open throat

Postby Kaare » Wed Jan 07, 2015 9:41 am

Hi there.
Open throat is (as mentioned) just an image/sensation.
You obtain this sensation by picking the right vowel for the right mode with the right volume and the right amount of support.
This you can read about in the CVT book.

Now, in your examples you speak of a break.
This break happens due to change of mode, meaning that you will be perfectly capable of controlling and avoiding it when you are aware of which mode/vowel/volume/trick and especially "how much/and little" to support/work.

On top of that you choose to sing on an "AH"/far.
Remember that vowels are created by a specific acoustic setting in the vocal tract, meaning that this has a big impact on the
work of the cords, how hard/easy it is to sing the note and what is possible.
"AH" will very often result in the voice changing modes from the low to high part (for ex from Edge to Neutral)
The voice is making the decision for you.

Read about support as well as the modes/vowels etc. to obtain an open throat when singing.
Figure out which vowel(s) suits you better for the mode you are practicing.

Read as well about "How to practice".

Start with single notes in a given mode and when mastering this all over the voice (to the extend that is possible - for ex you cant sing Overdrive above a certain pitch and all voices will eventually go to Neutral if we go high enough in pitch) then expand and do 3 notes/5 notes etc.
The more disciplined/slowly you practice, the better chance for the voice to remember the positions when you are singing songs...

Hope it makes sense.

Best regards
Kaare
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Re: The open throat

Postby Mungfield » Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:51 am

highnotemaniac wrote:How would Neutral be further apart from Edge than from Curbing, now when it is pointed out that the medium volumes (4-7) can be achieved with the full metallic modes as well? Which also means that using plain Curbing above D4/E4 is nonsense in practise.

What I mean is that curbing is half-metallic and therefore its character is closer to edge than the character of neutral is, because neutral is non-metallic.
I agree that it probably wouldn't make things easier, since curbing is not always easy to learn.

highnotemaniac wrote:The vowel being used decides the mode.
Of course you can always direct your voice towards Curbing, but you should do that only if you want that particular sound. And I wouldn't say it makes things any easier.

Precisely, so singing in curbing exclusively is not nonsense. It would probably be better to talk about a main mode though. And that is what exercises such as glissando do: if done properly, they can teach the voice to go for a certain (main) mode in a certain part of the range.
I personally prefer using curbing as the main mode in the high part. And as you said, this is a matter of preference.

Best wishes
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