Increase Your Vocal Range
The focus of most articles on increasing vocal range has been primarily on reaching the high notes, instead of adding beneficial information for the lower ranges such as altos and basses. Rather than follow the trend set by these earlier instructional, let us instead focus on how lower voices can add more low notes by improving their chest voice.
Increase Vocal Range
The chest voice is what all individuals use during normal speech. By taking note of your speaking voice, you can learn the necessary techniques to improve your singing. The current way you use your speaking voice may have a positive or negative impact on your singing voice.
Let us first do an evaluation of your speaking voice by making some non-speech sounds, such as a laugh, a yawn, a cry or a sigh. Using a piano or pitch pipe, find the pitch nearest to the sounds that you have made. Next, speak a few monosyllables, like uh-huh, aha, mm-hmm. Again, match the sound to its corresponding pitch with a piano or pitch pipe.
Move on to speaking some simple sentences, like “My name is ______” or “I love to sing.” Again, match the sound your produce to its corresponding pitch. Ideally, the pitch for regular speaking and monosyllables or non-speech sounds should be the same. However, most people speak at a pitch that is much lower than what is natural for their voice, and this may prove damaging to the voice.
Continue evaluating your speaking voice by reciting monosyllables at certain pitch levels on the piano. Locate the lowest pitch wherein you can speak without your voice sounding rough or gravelly. Called “vocal fry”, this gravelly vocal sound is not healthy for the voice. Ideally, the speaking pitch should be four to five levels above vocal fry.
Once you have determined your vocal fry level, read a sentence or a paragraph out loud. Try to speak at higher pitches and determine how high you can go. Take note of the level where you voice is most comfortable and the point when you begin to hear some straining.
More on Chest Voice
As you use your chest voice while speaking, you will feel vibrations (called “resonance”) in your chest when you create tones within your pitch range. Lay your hand lightly over your upper chest, with your thumb and fingers placed over your collarbones. Perform a “yawn-slide” by exhaling on syllables like “hee” or hoo” while sliding from your highest to your lowest range. Your hand should feel a vibration as you slide your pitch down to chest voice level.
While it may seem like the resonance is originating from your chest, it actually emanates from your throat and mouth. The vibration you feel is caused by the movement of air from the lungs and across the vocal folds
One good example of a simple low-range singing exercise is the “Fifth Slide”. Begin in the most comfortable middle part of your range. Using the buzz (wherein your puckered lips vibrate as you blow out air from your mouth) or a syllable like “vaw”, sing the starting pitch and slide down five levels. If you are singing in the key of C major, this would be G (so) – C (do). Make sure that the slide is smooth, and not creaky or bump.
Begin each repetition a half-step below the previous pitch.
Any bumpy or creaky sensations as you go down the scale are a result of tension. If you feel some tension, perform some face and neck relaxation exercises or give your face and throat a gentle massage before trying again. Slightly close your mouth from its starting position as you go down the scale.
Sing a full octave scale up and down, using the buzz or “vaw”. As you ascend the scale, let your jaw drop a bit to open your mouth slightly wider. Do the reverse as you go down the scale. Imagine the tone as a path leading away from you, with the low notes as the nearest and the high notes as the farthest. To help you in this exercise, you may sweep your hand up as you go up the scale and then bring it back down to your side as you go down the scale.
The Arpeggio Exercise
Another helpful and related exercise for you to increase vocal range is called the arpeggio. Sing do-mi-so-do-so-mi-do on a vowel sound, such as “oo”, “ee”, or “ah”. A You can try a half-step lower than the last arpeggio when starting a new one.
Singing arpeggios is another good exercise. Sing do-mi-so-do-mi-so-do using vowel sounds, like “ah”, “ee”, or “oo”. Begin ever new arpeggio a half-step lower than the previous level.
Developing your lower range takes a lot of time and effort. But with constant practice and persistence, you will soon see the results you desire.
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