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How to Master the 3 Types of Singing Voices

Did you know that you have 3 different voices?

When singing and speaking, there are 3 different types of voices that may be used:

  1. the chest voice
  2. the head voice and
  3. the falsetto voice.

For instance, when talking, people will either use their chest voice or their head voice but it is more common for the head voice to be used, unless someone has had previous vocal or public speaking lessons.

Using the chest/throaty voice repetitively in it's highest range can be very damaging to the vocal chords. Therefore, learning to use the diaphragm to breath properly is crucial for protecting your instrument. There are times while singing that you will use the various vocal styles for effect, and switch between them to create more feel to the song.   This can be done without damage to the throat by being able to switch or transition from one type of voice to the other smoothly. In time, learning to sing in your different voices will all become second nature. 

While practicing the various styles of voice, it is important to pay attention to strain. If you are feeling any strain in the throat, then you should rest your voice as you may be causing damage to either the muscles or the vocal chords themselves.  My teachers always reminded me that when I'm singing, it should feel like there is a hollow pipe running from my diaphragm up to my throat – meaning that my throat should feel open and without constriction.  Your muscles and vocal chords should not feel any strain when singing properly.  If you are feeling strain, then you should stop and rest. Regular practise using propler vocal exercises will improve your vocal ability and reduce strain. 

Practice the relaxation techniques in our free 5 week Singing Lessons Video series. Use the form on the right to sign up Now!

Chest Voice

There are 3 main areas that your voice can emerge from. The voice used by many people everyday to communicate through talking is the Chest Voice.  Unless you have been trained in public speaking you are probably using your chest voice when talking.  This is also the voice that is used naturally when you yawn or are partiallyasleep and is the voice that is used to hold notes, increase range, increase power, and overall protection of the voice. 

Head Voice

The second voice is the Head Voice.  Sound is created in the upper nasal cavity and the sensation will almost feel like the sound or resonance vibration is coming from the top of the nasal cavity (top of the nose) through the center of the forehead. This voice is used in addition to breathing from the diaphragm.   The chest voice can also be expanded and used in higher registers but let's stick with learning to sing properly before we move on to expanding the chest vocal register.  

Falsetto

The third voice we use is called Falsetto. Just like it sounds, this is our false voice because most people do not speak using this method unless they deliberately try to. The falsetto is our highest voice but also our weakest voice. Many R&B and Disco artists, like the Bee Gees, Leo Sayer and Hot Chocolate, sing using their falsetto voice. Yodelling, which is common in country music, is also a more obvious way of stepping back and forth from one voice to the other

Transitions

A transition is moving from one voice to another. You can also learn to use combinations of these voices switching from one to the other with a smooth transition to create a more melodic sound and style. Other artists, like Shakira are well known for stepping from one voice to another in a more obvious way. Shakira uses all 3 of her voices in most of her songs and you can hear the difference in her voices as she steps from chest voice to head voice to falsetto and back again. 

I urge all of you to listen to Sarah Brightman http://www.sarah-brightman.com/. When Sarah hits her higher registers, she is using her Head Voice in conjunction with singing from the diaphragm. The air is coming from her diaphragm and the sound / tone is resonating in her upper nasal cavity. Note the placement of her mouth, tongue and facial movements when singing.  A good example of using the diaphragm on lower registers is to check out Geoff Tate, singer for the Band Queensryche. He does a version of Scarborough Fair where, the beginning and end of this song is a prime example of how the diaphragm is being used in lower registers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcwQlGjNqrs

To hear an example of singing from the chest or throat, check out Janis Joplin.  Axel Rose from Guns and Roses also uses this technique a lot, in addition to using his diaphragm. It is this style of singing that really needs to be used carefully to preserve the voice. While it can be used in vocal styling, it also causes a lot of strain on the vocal chords.

To learn how to master your 3 types of singing voices,  CLICK HERE  to sign-up for our Free, 5-week video mini-course.

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