Choir Lessons

Ep 33 How to Sing Mix Part 1

How to sing mix, or how to sing with a mixis a very common question. Inside this tutorial, I'll define and demonstrate mix. Warning:normally I try to avoid this, but in this tutorial I get a little 'geeky' about singing.(Vocal geek) Hi, I'm Chuck Gilmore with Power To Sing. How to sing in a mix. Well, whatis a mixé A mix is a mixture or blend of at least two things. When singing, you're ina mix if you have a mixture of chest voice and head voice. Ahahah. If you sing onlywith chest voice, you have no mix. Ahhhh. If you start in chest and sing higher andbreak or flip into falsetto, you have no mix. Ahahah.because you've lost the connectionto your chest voice. If, when singing, you

bring falsetto down into the area of the chestvoice that is supposed to be chest, there is no mix. It's only falsetto. Ahahah. Amix can only exist if the vocal cords remain connected. If your vocal cords break intofalsetto and you do not reconnect, you have no mix. It's only falsetto. Ahahah. Mixis made with connected vocal cords and a blend of chest resonance and head resonance. Now,where is mix in the voiceé There are several schools of thought about when and where you'rein mix. Some define mix as only occurring in the vocal bridges, passaggi. When singingin chest voice, as you sing higher, and while keeping the vocal cords together, the resonancebegins to move higher from your chest into

your head cavities. The resonance splits sothere's a mixture, or a mix of both chest and head resonance. This split occurs in thebridge or passaggi. After getting through the first bridge the singer encounters a secondbridge and then a third bridge. For women, there are even more bridges. With each bridge,there is a blend of overtones from the register below and the register above. Lower overtonesdamping, or dropping out and higher overtones coming in. As a result of this process, manybelieve that mix is only occurring in the actual bridges. Some believe if the vocalcords remain connected while the resonance has split into both chest and head cavitiesthat mix is always present, both in and in

between the bridges. In other words, everythingis mix. At this point in my singing and teaching, I think it's a combination of these two. Pavarottiis reported to have said that singing was like a repeating figure 8. Seth Riggs concluded,and I believe like Seth, that Pavarotti was describing the repeated narrowing into thebridge and the opening into the new register and so on upward. In my opinion, if the vocalcords remain connected, there's always some chest residue, even if it's very slight. Soeven in the highest head voice, if the cords have remained connected, that seems like mixto me, even if it's 100 to 1, it's still a mix. At a certain point, if the cords remainconnected, does it really matter if we say

it's mix or connected super head voiceé Theproblem is, what happens to mix when you sing down below the first bridge into chesté Well,you could definitely bring mix down into the chest register. So, I understand how thatcan be mix, but in most voices, you can only do that so long before the chest voice takesover. How, then, can that be a mixé A third concept that has helpful for me, is 'maintainingthe verticalquot;.(Vocal Geek) This is mentioned in the book, quot;The Voice of the Mind', by E.HerbertCaesari. Imagine a vertical sound beam started by the vocal cords and shootingupward into the mouth. In head voice, this resonating sound beam, if it maintains thevertical direction, will angle slightly backward

and penetrate into the head cavities abovethe mouth. Ahhh. Ahahah. In chest, there is still a vertical sound beam, but it beginsto angle slightly forward and engage the hard palette. In my opinion, to lose the verticalwhile in chest voice, is to grab the vocal cord, squeeze and close the throat and jamthe sound beam down into the throat. Ahahah.Ahhh. The tone can barely escape and has no roundness,no fullness and no appeal. To me, this is not mix. Maintaining the vertical, even ifcompletely in the lower chest voice, creates an upward lift in the tone. The sound beamresonates on the hard palette appropriately. This seems to recruit more than just chestvoice by adding a rounder, fuller tone, as

Conducting tips Choral

*Instrumental music plays* Of course if you're conductor you neversing while you are conducting in a performance and best notto do too much in rehearsals either because the kids get very reliant onhearing your voice hitting them in the face and that's whatthey're listening for. Mouth the words, encourage all this sort ofstuff, and I find I sing along too, but particularly when you remind the altos quot;thisis your notequot; or whatever it is but if it becomes a habit and then youcan't stop yourself from singing through

rehearsals and then suddenly get to aperformance and you don't sing, because you think inappropriate and thekids can't sing either. They're thinking quot;where's that voice thatnormally leads uséquot; and we know when whoever is on thepanel listening to the auditions for our primary choral festival we canhear when teachers are singing along. I find and we find from watchingaudition tutorials and people who put themselves on the audition tutorial, and not that that's the wrong thing to do but out of just habit being three orfour conductors watching an audition tape,

you can't help but watch what the conductor is doing. Some of it is fantastic I'll preface it with that. The number timesthat we see a conductor, and you see it in performance as well. Giving a cue on the same beat the kids are singing. So going: One, two, three, four, one quot;Here comes the sun.quot; Which is, I suppose, ifyou're thinking logically quot;that make sense that when they sing, that's when I'll cue.quot; It's actually not going to help the kids at all. It will make it late. The most important beat, in any of this, isthe beat before,

the upbeat to it. So you could go: One, two, three, and not conduct after that and most peoplewill sing quot;Here comes the sun.quot; So the beatbefore is what's the most important and the clearest.This song especially,quot;Onequot; is always the beat before. We're going: quot;Here comes the.quot; So you make a really strong downbeat on quot;Onequot; quot;Here comes the sun.quot; and it willusually just happen. The other really important thing beforethey sing is that you breathe with the kids. It's a really common thingthat

you're so concentrating on what this isdoing which actually really is not all that important. You could go: quot;Here comes the.quot; at would pretty much dothe same thing as what we're doing by going: certain directions, that sort of thing. You need tobreathe with the kids so they are confident of when to come in. Whether it's ten kids in front of you or 800 kids at the Opera House, breathing is one of those things that really gives kids confidence, or really anyone, an ensemble, that confidence of coming inwith you at the times.

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