In this video of Nirvana's 1992 Live at Reading performance, Kurt screams out the song "Tourette's" (35:10), and it sounds like he's absolutely destroying his vocal chords. Then, at 37:04, he's singing the much quieter song "Polly" with almost perfect pitch. I've heard vocal coaches say that a lot of grunge singers don't really do anything properly or even healthily, and it sure sounds that way in "Tourette's". But he transitions so nicely into "Polly" that I have a hard time believing he wasn't using some kind of screaming technique. Did Kurt actually use proper technique when screaming like he did in "Tourette's" in order to be able to continue the concert? Or did he just have invincible vocal chords?

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    Cobain doesn't actually 'scream' he splits notes. That's something you can drop back from immediately. It doesn't hurt & it's repeatable ad-infinitum. I very much doubt any opera teacher would be able to impart the technique to a pupil, but it's done by practice, same as any other technique [though it does need a natural ability, same as any other technique]. Listen to the MTV Unplugged gig to be better able to hear what he does.
    – Tetsujin
    Apr 20, 2020 at 17:26
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    He's not screaming at all, note the mic placement right in front of his mouth. He's using vocal distortion techniques, many of which can be done safely, see e.g. Mary Z on YouTube Apr 20, 2020 at 19:58
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    I would hope an opera voice coach could teach the distortion/"scream" techniques! Whether Cobain was using proper technique only his bandmates (or vocal coach,if he ever had one) could say for sure. Apr 21, 2020 at 13:28
  • Pretty sure vocal coaches could figure out what he did and teach a healthy version to a pupil. And, no, it's well known that what he was doing wasn't healthy. Something was happening to his vocal chords. He was straining them and hurting his voice, so he got a vocal coach. Dave Grohl talks about the incident often. They didn't understand the warm-ups and thought they were funny and, possibly, embarrassing, so he quit. Jun 30, 2021 at 10:40


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