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  • Interested in Learning More About Whistle Voice (Singing Teachers)

    Posted by Kat Hunter on August 19, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    Heya! I’ve got a question for you all, but especially Matt, who has super vocal nerd powers.
    I’d be interested in learning more about whistle voice for myself and my students, but what I’ve heard so far has been a little vague and with an added disclaimer of “well things get so narrow at that stage, it’s hard to see anything with the scope!” So I was wondering if any of you had tips on working with whistle, but more specifically connecting whistle with upper head voice. I know for me personally, upper head voice vs. whistle can feel really different and quite difficult to smooth over. To me head voice generally feels more released whereas whistle feels almost like being in chest again. What I’m guessing is that it’s similar to smoothing over any other bridge/passaggio where you want to allow the folds to continue stretching out whilst keeping enough vocalis/TA engagement to stop things from getting into pure falsetto. Is there anything I’m missing? Any nuggets of wisdom?

    Matt Pocock replied 8 years, 6 months ago 2 Members · 4 Replies
  • 4 Replies
  • Kat Hunter

    Member
    August 19, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    PS. Matt, Do you know of Hirano’s 1970 study about vocalis vs CT activity? I’ve read a fair few articles that reference that study as showing evidence that in trained singers, a pitch glide will show this exact muscular action we’re talking about where the vocalis gradually gives over to the CT. I went looking for the original study online but could only find an article I read more recently that cited the study. http://etd.lsu.edu/…/etd…/unrestricted/Ferranti_dis.pdf page 11.
    Of course this research is not super recent so maybe it’s been surpassed?

    I went looking for that Natalie Henrich paper and found this…http://phys.unsw.edu.au/jw/reprints/Kobetal.pdf is this the one you’re talking about? I’d be interested on knowing the pedagogical implications of this both for you personally in teaching and more generally. Sorry if this is nerd-out overload haha!

  • Matt Pocock

    Member
    August 19, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    Hi Kat,

    What a wonderful article to pull up! It certainly does seem that in that instance there is a co-ordination of slow release of the vocalis muscle. Although I have also seen the Thyroarytenoid muscle and the Vocalis muscle labelled as different muscles – each capable of independent movement – in other studies. This might complicate their conclusion!

    I can’t claim to be an expert, but Kayes’ and Fisher’s model resonated with me as I have always felt in my own body that there is no gradient between M1 and M2. This is easy to blame on lack of register co-ordination, but I had also never observed a gradient in any of my students or colleagues – some of them seasoned pro’s.

    One exceptional student (whose video I will post here but please don’t share widely) bamboozled me when I saw him. When he came to me, he completely lacked any ‘head voice’. But after a year of tuition, he sounded like this. The video is raw, and he wasn’t perfect yet (note the head position and terrible posture!) but the M1 and M2 sometimes sound identical, suggesting a ‘mix voice’.

    However, listening now, I can clearly differentiate when he’s in M1 and M2 – but there are certain resonance tricks he’s using to make his M1 sound ‘heady or falsetto-like’. Have a listen, what do you think?

    http://mattpocock.com/…/2015/10/Mix-Voice-Guy-Short.mov

  • Kat Hunter

    Member
    August 19, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    Yes! re. vocalis vs. TA. I’ve been told that calling everything the TA is more of an American tradition whereas labelling the vocalis as something separate is more European. This definitely doesn’t help with making waters less muddy.

    Cool recording of your student! I would say he’s singing probably the whole thing in a “light mix”.

    This whole discussion is an interesting point of comparison in regards to vocal techniques. Coming from an IVA background, the whole point of IVA is teaching mix. Period. Accessing all the registers and then smoothing out the passagios using consistent fold adduction and hopefully a resting larynx is pretty much the holy grail for IVA haha. And you can definitely teach it successfully – it’s what I spend most of my time teaching. But even then, from the perspective of the singer, there will always be tiny gear shifts, definitely. The idea of it being a gradient is a little misleading for sure. But if you can get it to the stage where the gear shifts are mostly imperceptible to most ears, and breaks/flips have mostly been eliminated then it provides real opportunities for expression – like that video above! Rachelle Ferrell from the sounds of it can go from F#3 to D#6 in one fell swoop, and pretty smoothly. In that song she demonstrates the ability to make a “connected sound” through that whole range. Which is pretty darn rad.

  • Matt Pocock

    Member
    August 19, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    Awesome – that’s really interesting that you maintain that the student feels ‘gear shifts’ but still maintains a ‘mixed’ sound. I totally believe that M1 can sound exactly like M2 and vice versa when certain adaptions are made to the mouth/throat position. This means that the student feels a firm gear shift at the ‘break’, but the sound is totally smooth.

    Kenneth Bozeman writes very lucidly on this, talking about the difference between ‘hoot’ tone (closed lips, head voicy-sounding) and ‘yell’ tone (spread lips, belty-sounding) and writes that both can be used in M1 and M2.

    We’ll have to collaborate on an article on this on the wiki!

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