Monday, May 25, 2015

A Mini Course on Pitch – Pitch vs. Tension

{Published in Business Times Newspaper 22-28 May 2015} Strain equals flat notes. If you struggle with your high notes, like your throat begins to strain as if you’re trying to pull up your chest voice into your head voice (like going into shout mode), then chances are you are recruiting your larynx muscles to produce the sound. Your outer larynx muscles need to stay down, and there are specific exercises that can help you develop the technique to keep them from interfering with your singing. This article is the first installment of A Mini Course on Pitch that talks about Pitch vs. Tension. If you should ever get stuck, you should be able to return to this article for guidance. There are only a couple of things you need to do to fix your voice wherever and whenever this problem presents itself. So let’s begin.

Pitch problems as a result of tension on your way up the scales is common, especially when you’ve had no voice training at all AND you’ve been using your voice incorrectly for a long time, it gets harder to lose that tendency. You’ll want to relax, and by this I don’t mean go all slurry and lazy, but be conscious of what you’re doing when you’re doing your exercises. Avoid forcing and pushing, because what you do in practice is what you’re going to end up doing when you sing. One way to eliminate that weighty sound on your way up into the higher notes is to try applying the ‘NG’ sound (Nggg) as it will help you flip into your head voice and get into that mixed voice very smoothly. And it takes away a lot of that weight and strain that makes you go flat. And here’s something else you can do. Stick your tongue out and do any piano based scale using the vowels AA but done with an EEER, to help you hold it in.

I would highly recommend that you start out with a simple arpeggio exercise using the above ideas. Try both these methods, but if you’re still straining on the ‘NG’ workout then chances are you’re not quite there yet. So to eliminate the problem, only do the tongue-out workout on the scale until you’ve learned to keep your larynx muscles from rising. Trust me, with your tongue sticking out like that it will stay put.

Thank you for dropping by,

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