#1
Sticky: Welcome (and important info)!! Read this before posting!!

Rules:

Posting in the Singing Subforum will require you to follow all the usual UG rules. You know... no flaming other members or other artists; stay on topic for the thread; check the stickies, and that sort of thing. If you've found this, you're probably familiar with them already anyways. For a more comprehensive guide, check the New Members Q+A Forum https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=748419 and the Pit Rules https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=891308.


FAQ

You will find a small number of sticky threads on a lot of the usual questions - range and register, screaming/growling, etc. Please refer to those stickies and post in there for some of the more usual types of questions.

I’m tone-deaf and have the worst voice in the world. Is there hope for me?

Absolutely!

Chances are, you aren't really tone deaf. If you can tell the difference between Whitney Houston and Luciano Pavarotti, then you're not tone deaf. You might not have a great ear, but the good news is that the better you sing, the better your ear gets, and the better your ear gets, the better you sing, etc.

I was a terrible singer. Very terrible. If I can learn to sing, anyone can learn to sing! Having been of the mind-set of "I have the worst voice in the world," I know well what that feels like. You can overcome it. It'll take time and practice, though - probably lots of it. But you CAN get there!

How can I tell if I am straining?

The "straining checklist:"

1. Watch yourself in the mirror. (all singers are vain.... go ahead... you'd LOVE to watch yourself sing in the mirror, no? hahahahahaha)
Are you turning red?

2. Do you see veins popping out, especially in the neck area?

3. Do you look like a Chimpanzee squawking out a battle-cry?

4. Singing should be natural and appear effortless. After singing, do you feel like you've just run a 7-minute mile?

5. Does your voice sound tight, throaty, raspy, gravelly, compressed, squeezed out, etc?

If you answered yes to any of those, you are most certainly straining.

Can I learn to sing on line, or through videos?

Sorry.... no, not really. There is no substitute for a proper teacher. We can, however, give you some advice and suggestions here.

You can learn to do all kinds of things from books and videos, but singing is two things that are hard to impart in any other format beyond private instruction.

1. Singing with proper technique involves learning how it "feels" - the physical sensation of singing properly. When you're doing it right, an instructor can provide you with instant feedback. When you've done it correctly a number of times, you memorize that physical sensation of singing properly. Try to tell somebody how to yawn, for instance. Sure, they might open up their mouth really wide and make an "Awwwwhhhhmmmm" sound, but are they *really* yawning? Of course, not.

2. Singing is a physical skill, but you can't see the mechanism that you use to create your voice. You can read about guitar and learn where to put your fingers, but do you know how good your technique is without someone who knows watching you and providing feedback? Sure, you could read a book about swimming or driving a car or karate and have some vague sense of how it is supposed to go, but without someone who can see the bigger picture to guide you, the odds are significantly stacked against you.

Knowing you are singing correctly is indicated by a combination of tone, physical cues, and an awareness of what internal sensations are created. Only a live instructor can guide you through with any real level of success.

How do I breathe with my diaphragm?

Easy diaphragm guide:


1. Yawn. Note the difference between how your body responds during yawning and when you breathe normally? You're using your diaphragm! The added bonus of this is that, when you yawn, your throat opens up and your uvula (the punching-bag-shaped thingy in the back of your throat) lifts up and out of the way - an ideal position for singing without strain.

2. Lay on your back and relax. Seriously... do it. Don't just say you did. Do it. Relaxed? Good. Notice that your chest doesn't rise as much as your lower abdomen? That's because you're using your diaphragm!

3. Now, considering those two above, stand up and poke your index finger at least an inch or so into your abdomen 3-4 inches below your sternum (breastbone). When you breathe in, you should feel your abdomen push your finger outwards as if you were poking a balloon in a similar fashion. Here is how to tell if you are cheating here in this step.... When you press your index finger in, does your abdomen bounce back like a balloon? If so, you're doing it right. If the resistance against your finger is such that it feels like you're pressing into something very solid, you're cheating by merely tightening up your stomach muscles.

Can I extend my range? How?

The short answer is yes, you can extend your range. There are a couple of qualifiers, though.

First, everyone's range has an upper and lower limit. Simple physics says that any string of a given length and thickness can only vibrate so fast. Since you cannot adjust the length or thickness of your vocal cords (though some techniques talk about "zipping them up", but whatever... more on that in another section), you will hit a point where it is physically impossible to produce notes lower or higher.

Second, improving your range takes time. You won't do it in two weeks, or two months, or even six months. A rate of a semitone every year or two is considered about right, until such time as you hit your limit, of course.

How to extend it? Slowly, and on a regular basis, start in the middle of your range singing intervals of only a few notes. Move downwards one semitone at a time until you can't comfortably (ie. properly) sing any lower. Now work your way back up to the middle, and then up to the top, one semitone at a time still, until you can't properly sing any higher. Eventually, these upper and lower limits will improve. The first thing you will notice is that your original upper and lower limits will become gradually easier to produce, so you will sing them with better tone and with less effort. As the original maximums become stronger, you will be able to build on them and extend upwards one semitone at a time.

When you hit your physical limit, continued practice will allow the notes on either extreme end of your range to become stronger and more focused with less effort.

Why does my voice ‘not sound like me’ when I hear a recording of it?

When you hear someone else's voice, or when someone else hears your voice, the voice is heard as the sound waves travel through the room and eventually arrive at your ear drum. Those sound waves are subject to a small degree to the conditions of the room.

When you hear your own voice, you hear it distorted by two factors. One, your ears are behind your mouth, so you are hearing your voice from an unusual direction. A more significant factor, though, is the fact that as your vocal cords vibrate and produce sound, that sound resonates in your chest and/or your sinus cavities before coming out of your mouth as sound. You actually sense the vibrations that occur as part of this resonance and perceive it as sound. That sound travels through the various parts of your body before arriving at the inner ear, and that sound is then mixed with the sound that comes out of your mouth. It's almost like your voice is being blended with a second, different voice that nobody else except you hears. When you hear your voice on tape, you are hearing it without the mixing of that familiar "second" voice.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#3
Glad this forum has happened!
Quote by cakeandpiemofo
Of course I don't wanna go in the woods. There's bears in there.


Quote by Deliriumbassist
Jeff Ament is a sexy sexy beast.



Quote by Karvid
Yes. Chest hair = automatic awesome. Even if you're a woman.
#5
Just went up today!!

Thanks for the support. I've been pushing for this for ages. Becoming a mod helped in this cause.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#6
So this is what you meant by "something much better" in the singing thread the other week. Good stuff
#8
Way to go Chris!
Quote by acjshapiro

Quote by Vrstone87

meh, I've listened to every radiohead album and honestly don't get what everyone loves about them.....


cause you're ****ing stupid

#11
Sweet, a singing forum. Looking forward to utilizing it!
Quote by necrosis1193
As usual Natrone's mouth spouts general win.

Quote by Silverstein14
man, Natrone you're some kind of ninja I swear


Quote by gregs1020
plexi


i realize the longshot that is. little giant to humongous one.


Rest In Peace Stevie Ray
#12
@horsemen - thanks for the heads up. I'll put in an official request.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#14
Suggestion. Make an official "What Songs for My Range Thread?" sticky. And have suggestions for basses, baritones, tenors and the some for both or in between. I feel like it's likely the subject will come up quite often.
Quote by acjshapiro

Quote by Vrstone87

meh, I've listened to every radiohead album and honestly don't get what everyone loves about them.....


cause you're ****ing stupid

#15
Thanks! And good idea.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#16
Quote by 3holepunch
Suggestion. Make an official "What Songs for My Range Thread?" sticky. And have suggestions for basses, baritones, tenors and the some for both or in between. I feel like it's likely the subject will come up quite often.


This is a really good idea - i'm all up for it
#17
Holy crap, I had NO idea they created a singing forum. Nice job, whoever was behind this! I'm going to hang out here more often.
E-married to ilikepirates

Quote by bloodtrocuted93

How are you so fucking awesome at music?


>¦<
¦
#18
The idea about a thread with song-recommendations sounds great. I'm all for that. I need som songs for basses that I can sing ^^. I can handle some lower baritone stuff aswell.
#19
I may be making a reappearance... I don't know if I'll have the opportunity to revamp the original lessons I made, though. Dang, that was a long time ago!
#20
Quote by axemanchris


Why does my voice ‘not sound like me’ when I hear a recording of it?

When you hear someone else's voice, or when someone else hears your voice, the voice is heard as the sound waves travel through the room and eventually arrive at your ear drum. Those sound waves are subject to a small degree to the conditions of the room.

When you hear your own voice, you hear it distorted by two factors. One, your ears are behind your mouth, so you are hearing your voice from an unusual direction. A more significant factor, though, is the fact that as your vocal cords vibrate and produce sound, that sound resonates in your chest and/or your sinus cavities before coming out of your mouth as sound. You actually sense the vibrations that occur as part of this resonance and perceive it as sound. That sound travels through the various parts of your body before arriving at the inner ear, and that sound is then mixed with the sound that comes out of your mouth. It's almost like your voice is being blended with a second, different voice that nobody else except you hears. When you hear your voice on tape, you are hearing it without the mixing of that familiar "second" voice.

CT


Okay I've got a question about this one. I think that I sing pretty good (I play guitar and it seems to sync up to me) and I know that the sound others hear of my voice is different from the sound I hear myself making because of the vocal chord vibration and the sound waves coming out of my sinus cavities and whatnot.

Heres the question... even though it sounds different, is the PITCH itself different? Something can sound different but be the same note you know what I mean? I have a good ear thanks to the guitar and can tune that easily so I HOPE that my pitch is about where I am hearing it but it seems like you're telling me otherwise.

Normally I'd just use some kind of a microphone and record myself playing the guitar and singing to it but the only ones I have that record are the shitty sound recorder on my moms ipod and the even WORSE sound recorder on my cell phone. Literally they're awful.

I ask this because I have been singing for people almost 5 years now. I have not had many complaints but at the same time I would walk up to someone who was singing and playing guitar, punch him in the face, step on his guitar and be like QUIT SINGING YOU SUCK. I chalk it up to the "politeness" of my audience (its usually my family) but I'm a pretty big and physically threatening guy to some people so I just dont think I'd get the 100% percent honest to god truth about what someone thought of my singing.

If I find out I've been singing like a HALF-note under the real pitch all this time I am gonna be embarassed but happy I know about it. I have my first band practice next week and I'd like to look forward to NOT ****ing it up entirely.
#21
I was all bummed out that I was going to have to hire a vocal teacher until you compared it with needing a teacher to learn guitar.

I am adamant that guitar teachers are a waste of money, and the only thing that really matters is practice. I learned to play guitar (pretty proficiently, I might add) and a respectable amount of music theory with no help other than this website and lots of practice.

I'm hoping to do the same with vocals. Is that possible?
#22
Quote by LOLyer
I was all bummed out that I was going to have to hire a vocal teacher until you compared it with needing a teacher to learn guitar.

I am adamant that guitar teachers are a waste of money, and the only thing that really matters is practice. I learned to play guitar (pretty proficiently, I might add) and a respectable amount of music theory with no help other than this website and lots of practice.

I'm hoping to do the same with vocals. Is that possible?


Short answer: no.

Long answer: guitar (and many other instruments) are a matter of placing the right digits in the right place at the right time. You can't see or feel your voice like you can your hands, the vocal folds are just not as dexterous or visual as your hands. A vocal coach will know what to listen to and how things are working to get you singing in a way which gives you control over your tone, volume, and a host of other things. More than that, they'll do it in a way which is safe and sustainable.

FFS, invest in your art. You spend hundreds of dollars on a guitar, small amounts on strings, even more on gear, and plenty of time on practice. Put a little money into the one instrument that you can't forget to bring with you.