Tessitura

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Tessitura

Postby dado7 » Thu Apr 23, 2015 5:06 pm

Hi everybody,

I have a question about tessitura. I have reached a point in a (self)training where I can hit/sustain (with variable success though) most of the notes up to C5 without a problem (going above it also, but mostly just for hits). I should mention I am a baritone and that it was natural for me to go only from E2 to D4 and also up to F#4 with lot's of stress and power. Now I can sing most of the songs that have a lot of chorus tessitura going around C4-A4 with ease, hitting all the notes above that also (on good days). However, there are some songs that prove to be a large problem for me. Those are the songs that have verses based around F4, which was a natural breaking point for me before I learn't to use modes (thank you forever CVT!).

For example - Axl Rose is a baritone and the verses on Sweet Child of Mine he sings with ease while I am struggling, whether I use curbing, edge or overdrive. Overdrive wears my voice, edge makes it easier but after a long usage (song stays in the same place for a long time - 4 verses that is) it stresses my throat out, and curbing.... just doesn't seem very much appropriate.

Then there are song from classic tenors: Eye of the Tiger, or Always from Bon Jovi.... literally anything from Freddie Mercury, where I can hit all the notes, even sing all the phrases individually, but not all together (there are just too many consonants getting in the way on the heights). I wouldn't say it's just a matter of the proper support.

What my questions is - can it be achieved, and is it even recommendable to try to learn to sing those songs in an original key or it cannot be done, is harmful for the voice or just needs a training closer to the operatic to achieve that? Of course, I can always lower the song, but I am curious whether you can go against nature in pop/rock singing so much or not.

Cheers,
Dado
dado7
 
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Re: Tessitura

Postby Mungfield » Thu Apr 23, 2015 8:24 pm

Hi

According to CVT, a male voice is more or less a male voice, in the sense that you should be able to sing without strain in the high part regardless of the size of your instrument. In fact, it is not just CVT that states this, it is consensus in leading modern voice training methods.

I would be careful with voice classifications:

If I had trained to sing opera with a very experienced and professional opera teacher, then I would believe that his assessment of my voice type would probably be correct.

If I went to a school choir or similar and the conductor/instructor put me in a certain group based on what notes I could easily sing at that stage in my development, then I would not be sure that this said anything about my voice type. (especially if I was in an early state of my development as a singer)

If I heard about voice classification from someone who wasn't even an instructor or read about it on the internet, well...

If you have trained to be an operatic baritone and have only sung with that type of sound, then you will have to learn a rather different technique to sing something like Sweet Child of Mine.

In any case, high notes are usually difficult to learn. So practice, practice practice.

Best wishes
Mungfield
 
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Re: Tessitura

Postby dado7 » Sat Apr 25, 2015 9:06 pm

Thank you for the reply.

I am always glad to hear that something can be achieved through practice, no matter how much of it, but let's consider something.

CVT says that vowels must be altered on higher pitches. If tessitura of an song is very high it means it will have a lot of consonants "getting in the way". So, when you are figthing with them while altering the vowels, it can sound right for operatic singing, in which the dynamics are much more important than the actual clarity of the lyrics, while for pop/rock singing, where clear/comprehensive lyrics are much more important, it just doesn't sound right. Also in some languages (like Croatian) where, for example, vowels like ou eu, ai are not existing, but only vowels like oh, oo, eh, if you sing with very high tessitura and have a naturally lower voice, it won't sound right either.

This means that I can sing "She's got smile....." with a very low stress on voice only if the words are very indistinctive... or even better example - a very high pitched chorus and bridge of "Just give me a reason" by Pink and Nate Ruess - someone with a very high voice can do it normally, but I, while learning to sing that high, can do it only with words being somewhat blended into each other.

What do you think?
dado7
 
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Re: Tessitura

Postby Mungfield » Sun Apr 26, 2015 10:10 pm

dado7 wrote:CVT says that vowels must be altered on higher pitches. If tessitura of an song is very high it means it will have a lot of consonants "getting in the way".


1. What do you mean by altered? The merging of the vowels? or something related to modes?

2. You are saying two things. I don't see how they relate...
If consonants get in the way, then practice them some more. Start with vowels, then add consonants. Be patient.

dado7 wrote:So, when you are figthing with them [consonants] while altering the vowels, it can sound right for operatic singing, in which the dynamics are much more important than the actual clarity of the lyrics, while for pop/rock singing, where clear/comprehensive lyrics are much more important, it just doesn't sound right.

It sounds like you will solve that problem by practicing as I said above.

dado7 wrote:Also in some languages (like Croatian) where, for example, vowels like ou eu, ai are not existing, but only vowels like oh, oo, eh, if you sing with very high tessitura and have a naturally lower voice, it won't sound right either.


1. It doesn't matter what type of voice you have, the rules about vowels and modes apply in the same way.
2. A naturally lower voice is often (but of course not always) just a voice which has not been trained to sing higher notes. Do you sing opera?

Still, I'm not quite sure I understand what you are saying.

Best wishes
Mungfield
 
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Re: Tessitura

Postby dado7 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:21 am

Hi Mungfield,

by "altering" I meant that, for example in Edge, you have to change U, OR, O and OH to OU, UE, OER, OEH. Or, in curbing, all vowels to O and I.

Mostly the vowels you have to change to, are not existing in my language and if you try to change to them it sounds awful.
And if you use a lot of OU, UE, OER etc on the high pitches, it tends to blend the words with each other a bit making them more indistinctive, which is OK for opera or for choruses, but mostly sounds bad on verses.

Hence, if the tessitura on verses is high, a natural lower voice will have many problems with it because he/she would have to alter vowels too much in order to sing with ease.

Why am I mentioning "consonants" getting in the way? That's because usually on choruses you have a lot of long runs on vowels, which is very easy to do when you learn the proper support, vowel altering etc, while on verses you usually have a lot more - almost spoken phrases, if you get what I mean (for example, if we look at a more recent hit song, chorus "Staaaay with me"..... - that would be rather easy, on any pitch, while "I'm not good at a one-night stand, but I still need love 'cause I'm just a man" would be very hard to sing on a higher pitch than it actually is (...for the purposes of an example, because originally verse in this song is relatively low and hence easy to sing; this is maybe not even the best of examples - there are songs with verses having a lot more to be spoken in less breath, they just don't come up to my mind at the moment).

Hence - for a natural lower voice choruses should not be much of a problem to train, but verses can be awfully hard, if not impossible (for longer singing).

Additional question. When I train to sing higher, I sometimes make mistakes and thus my voice gets a bit of a "crack" on a certain pitch. For example - it cracks on A4 so that I can sing higher and lower without any problem, but a passage through A4 or hold on A4 becomes very hard. What excersise would you suggest as a quick-fix? That's of course if I would have to continue to sing, because the best "excersise" would be to rest :)

I don't sing/do opera.
dado7
 
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Re: Tessitura

Postby Mungfield » Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:59 pm

dado7 wrote:Mostly the vowels you have to change to, are not existing in my language and if you try to change to them it sounds awful.
And if you use a lot of OU, UE, OER etc on the high pitches, it tends to blend the words with each other a bit making them more indistinctive, which is OK for opera or for choruses, but mostly sounds bad on verses.

Then you will have to pay close attention to the examples in the sound library. But maybe you know some of those vowels from English or another language?
I can see how the problem of diction becomes bigger when there are many syllables and consonants. Still, it is a matter of practice.

dado7 wrote:Hence, if the tessitura on verses is high, a natural lower voice will have many problems with it because he/she would have to alter vowels too much in order to sing with ease.

I don't think that is correct. The rules about vowels and modes apply to everyone, regardless of the size of their instrument.

dado7 wrote:Why am I mentioning "consonants" getting in the way? That's because usually on choruses you have a lot of long runs on vowels, which is very easy to do when you learn the proper support, vowel altering etc, while on verses you usually have a lot more - almost spoken phrases,

Hence - for a natural lower voice choruses should not be much of a problem to train, but verses can be awfully hard, if not impossible (for longer singing).


I see what you mean about diction and verses. But I don't think this should be more difficult for bigger voices. Even men with light voices do not speak in the high part of the voice. So everyone has to practice this.
I think that Sweet Child of Mine is a very difficult song in that respect, so maybe start somewhere else if it is too difficult.

dado7 wrote:Additional question. When I train to sing higher, I sometimes make mistakes and thus my voice gets a bit of a "crack" on a certain pitch. For example - it cracks on A4 so that I can sing higher and lower without any problem, but a passage through A4 or hold on A4 becomes very hard. What excersise would you suggest as a quick-fix? That's of course if I would have to continue to sing, because the best "excersise" would be to rest :)

Interesting question. I think you should try to work on that specific note when it happens. But give it three attempts and then drop it if you don't get it right by the third.

Best wishes
Mungfield
 
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Re: Tessitura

Postby dado7 » Wed May 06, 2015 4:33 pm

Thank you for the tips Mungfield. I will do my best :)

I think it all comes down to one point, and here "Sweet child of mine" is an excellent example - if tessitura revolves mostly around the pitches where the passage between chest and head register happens (speaking of reasonation, not classic approach with "vocal break", mix etc. as that is solved with modal approach in CVT), and I think you need extra amount of air and vowel control there, than it is really hard to sing. Maybe there could be a special chapter in CVT dedicated to this in the future, food for thought?

Either if I am in edge, overdrive or belting, or normal as the matter of fact, it becomes especially hard to sing at this pitch, while it is more easy to sing lower or higher, and for me it is around F-F#4.

Moreover, I am concerned about the loudness of singing at those pitches. Did you see my other topic about Josh Groban's cover of "You raise me up"? There he does a really soft singing somewhere around E-G on "should-ers", he does it really soft, sounds like "normal" to me. I am not sure if I could ever do that in normal whatever or curbing soft enough on that pitch.

Any special excercise recommendations on both matters?
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Re: Tessitura

Postby Mungfield » Wed May 06, 2015 9:55 pm

It still sounds to me as though you believe your limitations are due to something physical (voice type) and not to lack of technique.
Those notes are well inside the range of all male voices. The right sound color, mode and volume is what you want and you will achieve that with practice.

Best wishes
Mungfield
 
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