Nearly all the discussion I see of people trying to extend/improve their range focuses on reaching higher notes with the chest (or mixed) voice, pushing your chest voice into higher notes.

What about extending your head voice downwards? Is being able to sing low notes in your head voice a useful skill in itself? Does practising this in various exercises have benefits to your singing in general?

I mean specifically singing notes in your head voice in singing exercises which you would naturally sing in chest voice - does this have benefits?

  • Why exactly do you think people only extend their range upwards?
    – Neil Meyer
    Nov 10, 2016 at 13:37
  • Why do they focus on extending? Or why do I believe that's the case?
    – Mr. Boy
    Nov 10, 2016 at 13:48
  • What would be the 'normal' crossover between the two? About a 3rd or 4th?
    – Tim
    Nov 10, 2016 at 14:56
  • @Tim good question. In my case my top chest-note is F4 or F#4. I guess if a melody was predominantly around/higher than that and dipping below I might stay in head-voice for the D4, maybe the C4 but no lower unless the original singer deliberately did it for effect and I wanted to emulate that. I can get to A3 maybe G3 before my voice wants to trip into chest voice, which for me is right in the middle of my tessitura in chest voice.
    – Mr. Boy
    Nov 10, 2016 at 15:11
  • So, around half an octave? I've sung for more decades than I care to remember, but never studied 'chest' and 'head' voices. If it's too high or low, I suppose I just swap over. If it's in between, and I need a particular harmony, I stop singing. Happened last night at a gig - right between the two, and the guitarist couldn't change down from D to C 'cos - "I learnt the song in C"... Maybe shows how helpful it is to be able to transpose on the fly?
    – Tim
    Nov 10, 2016 at 16:05

1 Answer 1


Extending your head voice downwards gives you more leeway to establish your mixed voice and/or to choose your register changes as needed. Chest voice gets more overtones as you reach higher with it, leading to a much more conspicuous change into head voice if you transition late. Training to extend your head voice downward also means that you'll not just extend the accessible range but also the volume available in it and your control of the pitch at the lower edge. It also helps you in starting to control your chest voice mouth shaping such that you won't have it wander into a sound not matchable by the transition to head voice.

How much of all that is beneficial for you personally depends on your overall plan of employing your registers. Having a wide range of possibilities and control is never amiss, but if your "money notes" are not actually making much use of it, there are diminuishing returns the further you stray from your central focus.

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