If you ever take singing lessons you’re likely to hear your instructor talk about head voice and chest voice. Most people talk and sing without giving it much thought, right? But an instructor will have you think about where you’re talking and singing from… are you using your chest to produce sound or your head or a mix of both?
The fact is, your voice is not produced in either your head or your chest. The voice is produced by vibrations of the vocal folds, and amplified in the pharynx and mouth. The vibrations you feel in your chest or heard are called sympathetic vibrations.
If you think about the way you breath, you’re using lungs located in your chest, right? All singing uses the lungs (and vocal folds) to produce sound. Typically the chest voice makes for warm, thick and low tones. It’s a nice sound.
Want to “feel” your voice? Put your hand on your chest right now and talk or sing. You should feel a vibration. This is a result of the larger cavity of the chest resonating “sympathetically” to lower notes. With a good vocal fold adduction and proper airflow, the chest voice, or more properly titled “lower register” sounds rich and warm. However, you can’t stay in the lower register forever. When the pitches become higher, you have to “switch gears” to sing higher notes.
What about head voice? It doesn’t actually come from your head. The correct term is “upper register” if you reach for “high notes” you’re likely using too much chest voice. Go ahead and try this, putting your hand on your head to feel the vibration of a high note. Head voice is where a singer’s upper range comes from. It’s not initially as natural or powerful like the down low chest voice, so that’s why singers need to develop vocal technique. As with chest voice, airflow is a critical component of how well you use your head voice.
Vocal teachers often spend time working on their clients’ head voice so that it doesn’t sound strained when they attempt to hit higher notes. Teachers also want to help students achieve the optimal “mix voice,” which brings together both the head and chest voices.
What makes the difference between you and other people when it comes to singing? Most people don’t think about where their voice is coming from. They don’t understand how to utilize their lungs, mouth and vocal folds to achieve a “mixed voice.” They just sing without thinking. But when you start to think about how you actually sing, and you’ve got a guide in the form of a qualified teacher, you can practice your mixed voice until it stands out from a crowd of singers.
Hence, you develop your own voice in such a way that others take notice.
The mix is a very specific approach that few teachers are experts at. However, at Sing Like a Star Studios, mix is our specialty! Learn more by contacting us today.