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As a young tenor, I am, as many of us, constantly asking myself about the best techniques to have a powerful voice with thrilling laserbeam acuti.

If we look at very good historical tenors, we see two distinct techniques (apparently distinct).

The first one consists of "lowering" the larynx. If I'm not mistaken, Melocchi was the finder of this technique and then Mario del Monaco used it a lot through his career. Then Franco Corelli modified the technique to obtain better results with better top notes. (See for example this high C) One usual advice to apply this technique is to "yawn" a lot.

The second one consists of searching a lot of mask reasonance by putting the acuti as high as possible in the face. To obtain this result one has to do some facial exercices and sing each vowel as a latin i. For me the reference of this technique is Alfredo Kraus who had an incredible long career. (See for example this high C) As you can see, the voice is less powerful but the acuti is incredibly piercing. One has often criticized this type of singing because of a "nasalisation" of the sound but Kraus proved that he could sing by plugging his nose so this critic doesn't hold.

I am not singing teacher but I have met both defenders of the first and the second technique and they always seem to be in a fight to know who has the best technique. Personally I am asking myself about the possibility to merge these two techniques. In an ideal world, one want to have the power and the roundness of a low larynx voice + the precision and the piercing effect of the mask reasonances, right ?

The best tenor acuti I have heard in my life is one made by Mario Filipeschi, see here. Is this possible that this outstanding result is actually a combination of a low larynx + high facial resonances ?

I know this a very "open" question and I am looking for different answers of different teachers. (As well as exercices to obtain such a good voice) Any helpful answer will be much appreciated.

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Lowering the larynx is actually better as it allows for more resonance in your voice. Further, raising the larynx engages the digastric muscles (swallowing muscles), which should never be used for singing. Not only that, raising the larynx puts more strain on the throat and makes it actually harder to sing.

Yes; I realize there are people that can sing with a raised larynx. However, just because they can doesn't make it right. I mean, Neil Diamond smokes like a chimney and yet is a singer, but that doesn't mean smoking is right for everyone.

I've been taking voice lessons for years and sing as a bass (basso profundo if you want my real range). But I can sing into the baritone range, either in full voice or in mix voice with my larynx lowered. I also do voice overs, and I use a lowered larynx for that too.

Lower larynx is the best. (Check out voice coaches like Brett Manning; they say the same thing too!)

  • Thanks for the post and for sharing your expertise! +1. Could you please check over my edits to make sure I've only changed spelling, etc. and haven't changed the content of your post? In particular, is this statement what you intended: "But I can sing into the baritone range, either in full voice or in mix voice with my larynx lowered." Thanks for sharing your expertise on the site! – jdjazz Aug 6 '17 at 21:31
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    Thank you for your answer. Are you implying in your post that looking for high facial resonances will automatically raise the larinx and therefore it is impossible to combine the two techniques ? – C. Dubussy Aug 6 '17 at 21:43
  • Actually ( per my voice teacher, Brett Manning) when you sing, you face should resonate automatically, the higher you sing, the higher that resonance will travel. The trick to having both a resonant low end and a laserlike high end is to sing in a mix voice, not straight chest voice, nor straight head ,but a blend of both. The best example of both being done (lower larynx and laser-like light tone I can think of for soft an intense is >> – KoshVorlon Aug 17 '17 at 16:12
  • [youtube.com/watch?v=qsYnhVITf9E] Colm Wilkinson's "Bring him home".) He start's soft but intense and has a low larynx throughout and he sings fairly high in this song, but always comfortably! So yes, I 'm a huge propoent of lowering the larynx always! – KoshVorlon Aug 17 '17 at 16:13
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I am not an expert but I am taking singing lessons. The method she teaches is both low larynx (open throat) and singing in the mask. English is not my first language and I want to write a better and longer explanation of this technique. But I can already say she took lessons with James McCray who lessons with Mario del Monaco. I think Del Monaco sang in the mask and larynx. But I will write a longer reply explaining the technique.

  • And I agree with KoshVorlon on the mixed voice – dajka klomp Mar 9 '18 at 21:26

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