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How can I distinguish the difference between chest and head voice ? Is head voice or chest voice effortless, while singing ?

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Chest Voice and Head Voice

In simple terms...

  • Usually, the voice with which people speak with is nothing but the chest voice.
  • Now, Put your hand on your chest and say the vowel “a” as in “cat” nice and strong – it seems to resonate between your throat and chest...right? That’s your chest voice.
  • Okay, now say “Yahoo!” in a cheerful manner – feel how the sound seems to have moved into your head? That’s your head voice.

Read more about Head Voice and Chest Voice.

Is head voice or chest voice effortless, while singing ?

  • They have their own range...but with productive vocal practice and repetition the strength of the vocal range increases.
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Chest voice is when you resonate from the diaphragm (the middle of the chest). Deep breathing before a stanza or multiple stanzas will allow you to sing with your chest. You will feel it coming from your chest and will probably be a much deeper sound.

As for "head voice" I'm not sure if you mean singing through the nose. I'm pretty sure it's one or the other (chest or nose singing). Nose singing will make your head hot and you can feel the vibrations in your face.

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Here's an exercise that might help you distinguish the two. Start at the lowest note you can sing, and sing a scale upwards as high as you can possibly go. Or start at the top and go down. Sing loudly & smoothly, with no pause between notes (except to take a breath). There will be a spot somewhere in the middle that will feel like you're straining. It may feel like there's something in your throat that needs to change in order to go on (up or down).

If you sing a melody right in that rough spot, you may notice that you sing some notes differently depending on whether you come at them from above or from below. Congratulations, you've just found your "break"!

The way you sing below the break is your chest voice. In your chest voice, it feels like your voice is resonating from your ribcage. The way you sing above your break is your head voice. It feels like your voice is resonating in your skull. The two have quite a bit of overlap (my overlap spans more than half an octave), and which one you use depends on the style of the song and what you're trying to express.

Edited to add: Both are effortless. It's switching between them smoothly that takes work!

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