How To Appreciate Singer Voice

Hkeem/Drøbakfestivalen 2018

Singer’s voice, voice alone, is easy to hear. It sounds like the person speaking in the choir but sings with the passion of a solo artist.

Accent

Verse Simmonds vibing while recording vocals

The accent is also easy to notice. If you have a strong accent, your voice will sound like it is coming from a deeper, lower place.

Your accent can be hard to control if you are under stress.

The sound of your voice could be a problem even if you have a beautiful singing voice.

But if you are embarrassed to sing in public, for example, people will notice.

In this case, either change your singing voice to sound like the people you sing with or just sing in front of the mirror to get a professional vocal sound.

Foam

Foam is soft, airy, and sometimes squeaky, but it also changes over time.

The vocal folds fold back from the back of the mouth, as you tighten your throat, and expand behind.

The vocal folds vibrate and that creates a sound that is very much like a squeak. This is just the way our vocal folds work.

You will notice that when you have a sore throat or some vocal tension, there will be a lot of foam.

Most people use vocal steam to relax the vocal folds before a big performance or for a special occasion.

So how do you adjust your vocal folds to make your voice softer?

Vocal squeeze

man in gray v neck long sleeve shirt playing brown acoustic guitar

A vocal squeeze is a gentle contraction of the vocal folds.

Most singers have forgotten how to do it because it’s a physical method of slowing down the frequency of the air being pushed out of the vocal folds.

Some vocalists use this technique when they don’t feel comfortable singing for the same reasons that people squeeze a sponge.

Vocal Squeeze causes the vocal folds to shrink, close together, and then contract more, which makes the sound softer and quieter.

This technique is very hard to do because you need to hold your breath and press your vocal folds together really hard for a few seconds.

But if you practice vocal squeeze for a few minutes, you will start to feel it in your throat and hear the difference.

Breathe

When we breathe, it creates air currents and creates space for the sound of the vocal folds to move.

Your breath creates air flows and the breathing air is pulling the vocal folds back together and pressing them more tightly together.

Breathing is a softening technique.

It makes your vocal folds expand and compress, and it also expands the space around your vocal folds so the air can move around them more easily.

Did you notice how when I said, “vocal folds expand and compress”, that my use of the pluralized words makes that sound like they expand and compress, not just “folds”?

When you have a cold, you probably notice that your voice gets raspy, or your breathing sounds stilted.

This is another way the air is pulling the folds back because the air is pulling your vocal folds into your throat.

Try to breathe more naturally and in a more relaxed way.

Upper end/middle

Photo of singing woman in red top and black framed eyeglasses listening to music on her headphones

As your voice gets deeper and more rounded, the vocal folds must curve around your vocal tract.

This creates the sounds of a deeper voice. But to create this sound, the vocal folds must be retracted into the back of your mouth.

If they were not retracted, they would stretch into your throat, which causes a higher pitch.

Now if you try to create this same sound in your lower register, you won’t be able to push the folds all the way back in your throat, because they would stretch too much into your throat and make your sound more high-pitched.

In other words, the vocal folds are attached to a small area in your throat, which can be squeezed to create a rounded or deep sound. But you cannot push the folds all the way back into your throat, without causing some stretching.

The same thing happens with flat affect and controlled affect. Your voice will start to become flattered and your throat will narrow.

When this happens, you can’t push the folds back into your throat because you’ll stretch them too far, and the sound will be too high-pitched.

So you must close the mouth, or put the lower lip over the top of your teeth and press down and suppress the vocal folds.

This creates the controlled effect. You must hold your breath and then relax your lips and breathe normally when you go back to singing.

Squeezing/breathing

When we say “tighten up the vocal folds”, we don’t mean squeeze or crush them into a little ball.

What we mean is to create more space so that the air can go around the vocal folds easier.

So as your voice gets deeper, you need to open up the space that is between your vocal folds so the air can move around them more easily.

This is a softening technique. This is how the air pushes the folds back into your throat and makes them rounder and fuller.

So if you have a deeper voice, and want to add more volume, use your vocal folds to expand and relax and your voice will be deeper. Or if

you have a “tall” voice, you need to pull in your voice, so it goes up and down your neck and into your chest instead of staying high in your throat.

This is also a softening technique.