The Path: How to sing without exhausting your voice.
I have been using these two videos in my lessons often so I thought I should write a post about why I like them so much.
If you watch to the first 24 seconds of the song you can barely see her inhaling and her throat stays absolutely neutral through the inhale and then singing. You would see her mouth is moving, the vowels and the consonants are being formed in her mouth but the body of the sound is actually originating and maturing in her lower chest, right on her sternum, not in her throat. You can really see this.
This is "speech level singing". When you sing in the way you speak your throat is absolutely inactive and your vocal chords recuperate stamina. The first four phrases of this video is an exquisite example to this.
Right with the inhale on 0:24 she takes a breath that engages her throat. The throat is busy holding the air, the throat creates a bottleneck in the instrument. Therefore the sound is resonating in the throat and sounding “throaty”. It’s not in the chest anymore.
On 0:35 she neutralizes the throat again, but this time with a beautiful head voice out of an open neutral instrument. However, this doesn’t last long she employs the throat constantly for the rest of the song and suffers a decline in her stamina, to a point where her vocal chords lose contact and she starts to sound airy and raspy. I don’t entirely dislike the airy sound or the strained effect but in this way she wouldn’t be able to sing this song twice in a row.
There is another way.
The second video is a Hunchback of Notre Dame production in France. The singer is the winner of a “France got talent” kind of a competition.
Try to observe how he starts singing in a very talking manner. You can barely see him breathe and you can feel that the air pressure in his upper chest(sub-glottal air pressure) is balanced with the pressure in the room. He is not “singing” but talking with a melody.
At 0:33 he takes a breath arming the throat and in every next breath the load on the throat gets more intense until the climax at 0:44. At 0:49 he starts to disemploy the throat and balance the sub-glottal air pressure and finally at 0:58 he is back to “the talking place” with no compression in the chest, no load on the throat. Now he is recuperating stamina.
He does the same charge/discharge deal in the next phrase starting at 1:29, climax at 1:42, release starting at 1:49 and absolute freedom at 1:56.
For a change through out the next phrase (see 2:04) he stays in the neutral throat belting all those high notes freely. Finally ending it with a beautiful falsetto with the same open throat.
When you are in the neutral throat singing in the way you would talk you are resting your instrument. It is acceptable to do other things but you have to go back to the neutral throat. I call this “the path”. If there’s a correct path, you can stray away for a bit, as long as you can get back to the path. If you get carried away and get lost, singing is not fun anymore.