My other most frequently requested topic.


My main priority in introducing the belt, is to encourage you to establish some solid basic vocal techniques before approaching the belt. You run the risk of vocal damage if you don’t have proper vocal technique.

Researcher, Jo Estill, describes the belting voice as an “extremely muscular and physical way of singing.”


"When observing the vocal tract and torso of singers, while belting, Estill observed:

  • Minimal airflow (longer closed phase - 70% or greater - than in any other type of phonation)

  • Maximum muscular engagement of the torso (ANCHORING with the diaphragm/core)

  • Engagement of muscles in the head and neck in order to stabilize the larynx

  • High positioning of the larynx

  • Maximum muscular effort of the extrinsic laryngeal muscles, minimum effort at the level of the true vocal folds.

There are many explanations as to how the belting voice quality is produced. Under a scope, the vocal folds visibly shorten and thicken, and they undulate along more of their vertical surface area than in head register when a smaller segment of their edge must undulate to produce sound."


"Chest" in diagram = belting voice.



SOURCE -

Belting and Classic Voice Quality: Some Physiological Differences. Medical Problems of Performing Artists.

The Contribution of Aryepiglottic Constriction to "Ringing" Voice Quality. Journal of Voice.


PHOTO SOURCE - The Rock-n-roll Singer's Survival Manual.

NOW, let’s myth bust some common belting misconceptions.


Belting vs. Mixing

“Belting is sometimes confused with mixing. Belting means to carry your chest voice above your break, while mixing means to mix your chest voice with your head voice.”


“They are two different concepts but their subjects overlap. A belt voice can be mixed or not and a mix voice can be belted or not. One is able to belt purely and is able to belt with a head voice, which is also called mixing while one is able to mix their voices below their break and is able to mix above their break, which is also called belting.”


SOURCE - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belting_(music)

There are some who don’t believe mixing is possible, but mixing to me is the simple act of mixing your registers together as seamlessly as possible so the listener cannot tell the difference. Some notes are not meant to be belted. This is not WEAKENESS. This is knowledge. GET TO KNOW YOUR VOICE SO YOU CAN SING HEALTHILY.

Is Belting dangerous?

"Produced properly, Belt poses no risks. It's a high energy method of singing, though, so if the perfect conditions are not maintained, it could be harmful for the voice. But the same could be said for Opera quality, so Belt is no more dangerous than Classical singing.

Whatever style you want to sing in, it's vitally important that you know exactly how to use the voice to its best effect, without causing undue tension and strain."


Source - https://www.vocalskills.co.uk/What-is-Belt-Belting.html


It’s important to note here, yet again, that you need proper technique and alignment to belt. If you don’t identify the natural breaks in your own voice, then you won’t know where to change gears and/or what to improve. Vocal development is a marathon not a sprint.


We all have natural breaks. Some keys make those breaks more pronounced which is why we sometimes struggle singing particular songs in certain keys. This by no means shows your lack of capability. What it does is identify the particulars of YOUR VOICE.

PLEASE - do not shy away from your breaks or cracks. Work through them by doing simple scales while implementing the best possible technique you can. This will build the transitions and smooth the breaks until you can confidently sing through them. ONLY THEN, can you really start to understand belting and/or mixing.


“The one difference between your voice and a wind instrument is flexibility. Both the throat and larynx are multi-changeable, an instrument is rigid. This means the register changes in a singer DO NOT HAVE TO CAUSE A BREAK. There should be enough flexibility between the larynx and the throat to allow constant repositioning for both. When either is held tight, you over extend the range of a register and by the time you’re forced to switch, there’s an awkward flip.”


Have you noticed every problem leads to the same remedy? Accuracy with pitch, volume, and smooth register changes all require the larynx to tell everything else what to do. When you consciously control the muscles of the throat and abdomen you over-ride the reflex ability built into the larynx. It knows when to switch registers, how to get louder and stay on pitch. All that’s required is freedom, YOU DON’T NEED TO THINK FOR A REFLEX.”


Most breaks are caused by avoiding going to the next register.


SOURCE - The Rock-n-roll Singer's Survival Manual.

5 Practical Tips:

  1. Develop proper breathing techniques. Check out some of my previous blogs to see how!

  2. Develop strength and flexibility in your voice by focusing on vowel work. Create consistency between the vowels (AH, A, E, I, OH, OO) by using simple scales. Release your throat so all the vowels/pitches feel like they come from the same place, no matter what they sound like. Tone will come, don’t worry!

  3. Practice relaxing the face, neck and shoulders while working on techniques. NEVER CONTORT TO HIT A NOTE.

  4. DROP THE JAW TO RELEASE TENSION. As sited above, you need freedom to move freely through your registers! You also need a dropped jaw to belt!

  5. Practice! If you avoid your breaks, you never gain flexibility to sing through them. The voice should be trained to be one seamless voice. From top to bottom.

This is a lot of information so please feel free to contact me with any questions.


I would love to personally work with you to reach your vocal goals. The voice is a magnificent instrument and we only get one! With “How to Sang” online vocal coaching I can help you via convenience and consistency to gain vocal confidence.


See you soon + stay warm! Cx

My most requested subject: how do I hit high notes.


Let's break it down.


#1 We are all born with a predetermined set of notes our vocal cords are physically capable of producing. Some things that determine our vocal range include genetics, physiology, sex (male or female: the 2 sexes have different vocal cord sizes), and some environmental factors.


BUT SO MANY OF US ARE NOT TRAINED TO ACCESS THESE NOTES.

You should never have to push/press/force/squeeze out a note. It should never feel harsh on the vocal cords area.



#2 You need to make sure you are physically aligned to easily access anything high. Posture, released jaw, air pressure, placement, soft palate.


Body Alignment

"The singing process functions best when certain physical conditions of the body exist. The ability to move air in and out of the body freely and to obtain the needed quantity of air can be seriously affected by the body alignment of the various parts of the breathing mechanism. A sunken chest position will limit the capacity of the lungs, and a tense abdominal wall will inhibit the downward travel of the diaphragm. Good body alignment allows the breathing mechanism to fulfill its basic function efficiently without any undue expenditure of energy. Good body alignment also makes it easier to initiate phonation and to tune the resonators as proper alignment prevents unnecessary tension in the body. Voice Instructors have also noted that when singers assume good body alignment it often provides them with a greater sense of self-assurance and poise while performing. Audiences also tend to respond better to singers with good body alignment. Habitual good body alignment also ultimately improves the overall health of the body by enabling better blood circulation and preventing fatigue and stress on the body."


Source -

Singing: The Mechanism and the Technic by Willian Vennard.


You need to get the body aligned AND relaxed so that the vocal cords can stretch. Kind of like a rubber band!


#3 Don't shy from a note because you may have cracked previously. Continue to condition that area by using a scale to slide through the notes and/or different registers. Focus the entirety of the sound forward (apples of the cheeks). You should feel the vocal mask vibrate, tingle or you should feel some sort of pressure in the face.



#4 For most high notes, try practicing first with a EEE vowel. By doing this you are inadvertently lifting all the singing mechanisms in the body.


*WEE is my favorite.



#5 Hitting high notes is ALL ABOUT THE SET UP. How have you set up your body to allow the vocal cords to stretch to produce the sound? Remember the rubber band?


Physiology of vocal sound production

There are 4 physical processes involved in producing vocal sound:

  1. RESPIRATION - breath is taken

  2. PHONATION - sound is initiated in the larynx (voice box)

  3. RESONATION - vocal resonators receive the sound + influence it (the mask)

  4. ARTICULATION - articulators shape the sound into recognizable units (vowels/words)

Source -

The Science of Vocal Pedagogy: Theory and Application by Dudley Ralph Appelman.









#6 Power in a high note comes from the ENTIRE BODY. Your whole body is a resonance chamber like a guitar. It is filled with acoustics. Everything from your nasal passages, teeth, bones - help create the power of your sound. Engage the whole body from the floor up! Relax everything from the diaphragm up to ensure there is no tension so there is no excess strain. Excess strain leads to more cracking! It's like chocking your own vocal cords.


Source.



5 Practical Tips:

  1. Go back to breathing basics. Breathe deep from the diaphragm and focus the air through the apples of the cheeks. Your air will go further and you'll need less air to produce a good sound.

  2. Tuck the chin. DO NOT COLLAPSE THE NECK but slightly tuck the chin to release any tension.

  3. DROP THE JAW. This is by far the most important. Like I've said before, "you should be able to fit 3 vertical vertical fingers or a wine cork!"

  4. Focus the sound out of the apples of the cheeks to help lift everything internally.

  5. Practice the note on a WEE if you are finding it difficult with the vowel/word, then add the word back in when you have better form.

EXTRA: Relax your face. If there is strain in your face, there's probably strain in your voice. I've been guilty of this too which is why it's been important for me to relax everything above the diaphragm.



Let me know in the comment section if you have any questions!


See you soon + stay warm! Cx

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Let's simplify this.


#1 Check out this video by Paul Mckay. This video in particular, helped me simplify the idea of vocal runs.


#2 Practice your scales. The better you know what notes sit between each octave, the easier you can hear/sing them! This can be as simple as sitting at a piano or following a vocal program with prompts.

Here's my favorite vocal program by Steve Bowersox.


#3 Break down the vocal run. Slow down and identify each note. Then slowly speed it back up to the proper tempo. If it's still sloppy, go back to the tempo where you could sing the run most clearly. You'll be surprised how quickly you'll pick this skill up.


#4 Practice the run on an EEE vowel. If the run is on a "you" try singing "YEW" instead. This will help stabilise the palate and get you in your vocal mask.


Source.


#5 Focus the air through the top teeth. This focuses the sound in the vocal mask and lifts some particular vocal mechanisms you need in order to sing quickly but accurately. You need air to sing, you need air placement to sing runs.


#6 Focus everything forward. From body positioning to sound placement. Use your finger to point the notes forward. Using your hands while learning newer singing skills is so helpful because physical motion helps propel vocal motion.


If you want more, you can book an online vocal lesson with me!


Questions? Comment below!


See you soon + stay warm! Cx

Tuesday Tips

©2020 by Chynna Taylor.