Some people say they like (or at least don't have any problems) singing in their speaking voice. I find it uncomfortable singing down there. I find it a bit heavy myself.

My vocal teacher told me to start warm-ups with the voice above speaking voice. She told me singing in the speaking range is heavier than above the speaking range. I should only use them when warmed-up.

What does this mean? What does it mean when a vocal teacher tells you that your lowest notes are heavy?

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    Surely the best person to ask is that teacher. – Tim May 21 '19 at 21:00
  • Yes but I want to know what you think as well. – Hank May 21 '19 at 21:04
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    Could you explicitly state what you consider "speaking voice range" to be? Is that like the lowest notes you can sing? More in the middle? – user45266 May 22 '19 at 3:39
  • It'd be interesting to quote that teacher. – Tim May 22 '19 at 7:42
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    @Hank I think it probably depends on your vocal type (fach). For a Baritone (like me), C3 is no problem, but for a Tenor, it's right near the bottom of the range, and might be less 'comfortable' than starting with a higher (lighter) note. I'm sure she is trying to tailor the warm up to your specific vocal type. – Time4Tea May 22 '19 at 13:26

I've heard it said that 'head voice' is 'lighter' than 'chest voice'. As in, when you go up into your head voice, you 'shed' some of the 'weight' that you have in the chest voice, which allows you to go up to higher notes more comfortably, without having to 'lift' the weight of the chest voice.

I'm speculating a bit here, but my guess is she is talking about chest voice vs head voice. Most men (to my knowledge, and I am assuming you are a man) speak in their chest voice, rather than their head voice. So, it makes sense that she's saying your singing voice above the speaking range should be 'lighter'.

Thinking objectively, head voice is 'lighter' than chest voice, because you are resonating a smaller volume of air (in your head), as opposed to a larger volume (in your chest). It's a bit like playing a bassoon vs playing an oboe. Try and get up to a fairly high note with a bassoon, and you're going to have quite a hard time (and probably wear yourself out). But, try it with an oboe and it will be much easier to get to that higher note. I think the analogy also extends to the sound quality - a bassoon sounds deeper and 'heavier', while an oboe just 'sounds' lighter, because of the difference in the resonant volume.

I'm not sure why she is recommending that you start warming up above your speaking range though. I've been warming up my chest voice first, then going up into head voice, which seems to be working for me. I'm not a professional vocal coach though.

  • F#3 or G3 is the note she recomended to start with. It is still chesty but lighter than low chest voice she said. – Hank May 21 '19 at 21:27
  • Ok. I believe for most men (Baritones, at least), the transition to head voice is at around F4. So, if you're doing octave scales from there, you should be starting to trip your head voice at the top end, so maybe that's why she is starting you there. Personally, I start with octave arpeggios at C3-C4 and go up by semitones to C4-C5 and do that a couple of times. – Time4Tea May 21 '19 at 21:33
  • Of course, bear in mind that I'm not a coach and I haven't heard your voice. Also, the scales and learning techniques that are best for you will probably depend on your goals and what sort of music you want to sing :) – Time4Tea May 21 '19 at 21:34

The best person to ask such questions is always the person who gave you the feedback. Words like 'heavy' can mean different things to different people.

However, I would probably think that she means that it doesn't sound as effortless when you sing in the lower range. Maybe if you sing in the lower register it feels more tense and you can hear that you have to work much harder to sing that low or it just doesn't sound as good as your high register.

But anyways, you should always warm up and also train your voice about your whole vocal range. You won't get better and it won't get more effortless if you just ignore it and don't practice.

Actually I would just ask her what exactly she meant with it and also ask for advice and practice tips how to get better at it. If the answer is that you shouldn't sing below your head voice or that you should do it only during the warm-up... well, then you should get a different teacher. After all a vocal coach should be there to help you to fix your weaknesses instead of telling you: "Don't do it, you won't get is anyways", right? :P

  • +1 for 'warming up and practicing the whole range'. I definitely agree with that. – Time4Tea May 21 '19 at 21:36

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