I have been away from singing for a very long time and I am diligently working on getting my chops back. I used to have a very wide range good falsetto and could sing rough on pretty much any note that I needed to. I was also young and didn't worry about necessarily doing things right. My approach was power. Sing powerfully and loudly and it got me where I needed to go most of the time but my tone wasn't always the best. Now I am trying to do things a little more correctly, my goal is to be able to do all that I could before but without having to sing as loud as I can to do it. Below are a few issues I am having...

1) I have found that I can sing higher, cleaner and better sounding notes at near conversation level but the higher the note goes the more difficult it is to make that note distort when I need it to. So how can I use this mode of my voice but yet still get it to sound rough and mean when I need it to?

2) When I sing loud, I can get rough with no problems at all but my range is reduced greatly. Is this normal? For instance, I can sing AC/DC at quieter levels but if I want to sound rough like them I need to sing louder but then I can no longer hit the notes.

3) Would the best approach be to learn how to mix both my loud and quiet singing modes to get the best of both and very my distance from the mic / compressors to keep the volume even when singing thru a PA?


2 Answers 2


Singing “roughly” has several different meanings, and I don’t know which you mean.

In general, singing roughly can be accomplished by pulling down on the vocal tract above the larynx. In another word, when one’s angry or sad, the entire vocal tract is pulled down slightly, and this produces a rougher sound.

The reason this causes loss of high range is because when pulling down on the vocal tract, the sounds are blocked off, quite a bit by the pulled down muscles, this pull-down is more difficult for the vocal tract, and upper resonant cavities are blocked off.

To achieve AC/DC requires: 1. a very high tenor voice or 2. very capable control of the entire vocal tract, including excellent control of the head register resonant cavities. If you’re voice is naturally #1, this will simply lots of practice. If you want to learn via #2, this takes a lot of work.

If you mean, by rough highs something else…..

Highs can be achieved with volume by great resonance. All one has to do then is to roughen up the vocal tract a bit by throwing in some grit. But achieving great upper register resonance takes some special knowledge.


The cause of that rough tone is stress in your vocal folds. Singing quietly causes less stress and creats a clearer tone. Those who can sing quietly with a rough tone have damaged vocal folds.

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