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I have heard many singers use this technique, but I have no idea what it is called, and so I cannot find any information about it on the web. I will do my best to describe it.

When a singer switches to falsetto in the middle of singing a note without stopping. The result is a small sort of "break" in the voice and then the singer is singing a higher note in falsetto. I also think that I've heard the opposite, when a singer switches from falsetto to a regular voice while without stopping.

Here is an video with example of this: the singer does this at 3:10.

What is it called, and where can I find videos that teach about it?

  • Yodelling perhaps? youtube.com/watch?v=YVzbVvfDVLA – NReilingh Oct 27 '16 at 16:47
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    I think passaggio as mention by lostmyglasses and yodeling both apply, although neither are specific to the usage in more modern pop music. Maybe we should come up with a name for it. How about passaggiodeling? – jomki Oct 27 '16 at 19:01
  • @NReilingh Please check the video. I can't find anything that resembles yodeling. Yodeling is a distinct deliberate technique characterized by rapid alternation between the normal voice and falsetto. You comment inspired an up-voted answer that I believe is misleading and incorrect. I am not an expert on yodeling but what I have heard described as yodeling is vastly different from what is happening in the vid linked by the OP. – Rockin Cowboy Oct 29 '16 at 18:17
  • Good grief. For anyone reading my comment above: I have done literally no research on this question and my broad assumption should not be taken in support of one answer or another. – NReilingh Oct 29 '16 at 18:19
  • Also, Rockin Cowboy, I'm sorry you don't like my answer, but it's a little cavalier of you to assume NReilingh inspired it, as it seems we came to the same conclusion independently. Also, from the perspective of vocal technique, if the OP became a talented yodeler, he would definitely be able to pull off the single vocal break demonstrated in his video, so I disagree with your concern that my answer is "misleading." – John Platter Oct 29 '16 at 20:38
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What you're describing sounds like "yodeling." Many folks only think of Bavarian yodeling or the adapted cowboy yodeling, but this technique exists in cultures all around the world.

Here are some examples:

Aka and Baka Pygmies:

Traditional Georgian music:

Mongolian folk songs:


and even 90's pop:

Singers who exploit the break in their voice for musical purposes could be said to be yodeling. You might call one appearance of this sound a "yodel."

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    I totally disagree. Yodeling is a distinct deliberate technique characterized by rapid alternation between the normal voice and falsetto. – Rockin Cowboy Oct 29 '16 at 18:12
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    I agree that this is applying the term in a broader sense than it is usually used. However, from a singer's perspective, the skill involved in exploiting the vocal break to seamlessly change from one note to another is the very same skill as yodeling, which, as I've demonstrated above, permeates a variety of musical contexts. Finally, if you examine the classic vocal riff "yodeleh - HEE HOO," (e.g., on C4 B4 C4 C5 A4) this involves only a single vocal break (at the C5), or yodel, and not a rapid alternation as you've argued, yet I don't think anyone would agree that this melody is not a yodel. – John Platter Oct 29 '16 at 20:03
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Perhaps the word you are looking for is passaggio. There are lots of videos in YouTube explaining it, check this one:

  • This does not answer the question, which is about a specific technique. – Johannes Oct 27 '16 at 11:14
  • @Johannes I guess the technique can be called controlling the passaggio, it doesn't necessarily have a specific name. – LostMyGlasses Oct 27 '16 at 11:42
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    I think you answered both questions posed by the OP. You explained what it is called when a singer does what is described (the word "technique" might actually be a misnomer) and linked a video. Some answers don't have to be long to be adequate. Link only answers are frowned upon but you did provide more than just a link. – Rockin Cowboy Oct 27 '16 at 14:27
  • @RockinCowboy thanks for your comment, I appreciate it. – LostMyGlasses Oct 27 '16 at 14:55
  • The passagio is a technique to change from you chest voice and up to your head voice, which is something between the chest voice and falsetto. This technique is to hide the transition so you can't hear that the singer changes from chest voice to head voice. The transition that the OP asks for is different, as the fact that you clearly hear the switch is actually emphasized as an intended effect. – awe Oct 28 '16 at 12:27

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