Today, I would like to introduce the first step towards more sharpness in The Voice.
Before you go for the sharp sounds, you need to have a strong foundation for your voice that you can build on. Once you have that foundation, anything is possible.
That being said, here is my introduction to
The vocal cords consist of muscles, amongst other tissues. We are going to look at the muscle called the ThyroArytenoid Parts Interna here.
That muscle has a quality a bit like your tongue. Your tongue is a muscle (or a group of muscles) that can change shape. You can make your tongue take the most astonishing shapes (try it out right now!). The vocal cords have a similar function: the Thyro-Arytenoid Pars Interna muscles can change their shape to be more sharp towards one another.
Usually, when your vocal cords vibrate, they vibrate with round edges towards one another. If you want (and if you know how to), you can create an edge towards the middle of your throat between the vocal cords.
This edge towards one another influences your sound in that the sound becomes more sharp/edgy. It makes the sound more pingy, and it gives the voice "Ring". This mechanism increases the overtones in your voice. However, it is not chest voice! Chest voice would be the active Thyro-Arytenoid Pars Externa Muscle.
We're not talking about that! The sound of the Interior Vocal-Edge is finer, less squawky, and more pingy. We are talking about a type of head voice that is sharper than what people usually define as head-voice.
You can also use this increased sharpness in your chest voice, but that's going to be an article of its own... When learning how to create this vocal-edge with your voice, you first need to learn how to create that sound out of your head voice because it's a very subtle change that you need to discover and practice to start off.
When developing vocal-edge, you need to start in a very comfortable register. I usually use the middle part of my voice. It's important that you have a note that you can easily yawn on. If it's so high that you go into an aliquot division (clipping off your vocal cords), then you cannot create the vocal edge properly. (Watch THIS VIDEO to uncover what is an aliquot division)
The reason for that is: you need to be able to yawn to pull the vocal cords apart as wide as you can in order for them to have enough space in the middle to create the edge.
No space – no edge!
It's simple physics: if you don't have space between two things, then those things cannot create an edge towards the middle, right?! You need a bit of space between them so that they can create the edge. That's why I practice it with a very wide, yawned sound.
WHAT TO CONSIDER
When practicing Interior Vocal-Edge, you should really make sure your throat stays as wide as it initially is; your sound just changes from round and mushy to round and sharp. Keep everything wide and open, and just the internal vocal cords change their shape.
This is a meditation-like exercise! It takes a lot of calmness and persistence (trying again and again) to get it. Don't expect yourself to get it right away.
My vocal teacher always told me that the voice is like a wild horse. If you want to tame it, you can't just approach it and say, "Go now, do this!" or just climb on it. It's going to throw you off and run away.
The same thing applies to the voice. Do not force it! You have to be very calm and centred to start developing this skill. Your task will be to look for the smallest difference that you can produce without changing the wideness of your throat and the yawning. Go very gently, try to create as little change as you can!
SENSITIZATION vs MAXIMIZATION
You need to sensitize your ears and your system to the tiny changes that occur in your voice. That's going to give you better, greater, and more sustainable results, rather than trying to have the greatest sound difference right away. Instead of focusing on a massive change in your sound and fast results, go for more and more subtle, small details, and practice to become more delicate in your motor skills.
WATCH OUT! (Summary)
One thing that is very important is that you do not have belly pressure, neither out nor in!
Under no circumstances should your belly do anything! It just needs to be super relaxed. That's the most important priority: Never do it when you have a tight belly at all! Never ever push! If you push, you lose!
Secondly, as described above, go for as little change as possible, NOT as much as possible, to sensitise your system and your ears for the sound that we're looking for.
And thirdly, see it like meditation! You want to be more and more calm with it. You want to focus on that little, tiny muscle that you shift back and forth and back and forth, not changing anything else.
It's really going to test your patience! 🤬 Trust me! 😅 But it's going to be so rewarding! I wish for you to experience it for yourself if you haven't yet. It's an amazing skill.
If you'd like to learn how to do that in detail, check out my YouTube Video in which I explain how to start off, what to look out for, and also give sound examples:
Black Man Jumping:
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Yellow Belly Man:
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