How can we make our voice good?

Discussion in 'General Music Discussion' started by gustavowoltmann, Nov 5, 2020.

  1. gustavowoltmann

    gustavowoltmann SS.org Regular

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    Hi, as you have probably heard amateur singer and though wow they really can't sing, but what is it i am reacting to.
    what could that person change about their singing to sound good?
    what advice could you give them on how to get better at singing?
    i think sing with confidence , good technique, and consistency,your practice tips on how to improve your singing voice will be appreciated.
     
  2. Bite the Strings

    Bite the Strings SS.org Regular

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    Step 1. hire a coach/teacher for an hour or two. Dont cheap out at this step. let them show you some basic techniques and safe practice routines.
    Step 2. practice
    Step 3. practice
    Step 4. are you still practicing?
    Repeat 1-4 every now and then depending on your perceived progress and financial situation.
    Step X. be a decent singer
    Jokes aside, as with every instrument or skill, you get better if you practice - no magic tricks involved. You wouldnt ask what a total guitar noob is doing wrong specifically if they pick up a guitar every few months, would you?:djent:
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2020
  3. possumkiller

    possumkiller Square Dance Caller

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  4. Demiurge

    Demiurge Intrepid Jackass

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    As noted above, getting in those reps is key. Helpful, too, is trying to sing different things. I've always been trash trying to wing vocal arrangements for my own material, but after learning a bunch of covers, I've made a lot of improvement with pitch and inflection.
     
  5. DudeManBrother

    DudeManBrother Hey...how did everybody get in my room?

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    Pitch control is paramount. Play a random note on your guitar (within your range) and match it with your voice. Don’t start above or below and come up to pitch, if possible. Add a note and repeat. Then start stringing more notes together as you improve.

    Find your “soft voice.” Imagine you were waking up a newborn baby, and apply that soft delivery to a melody. Work on your regular speaking voice applied to a melody (think Frank Sinatra). Find different inflections; like “smokey” or “gravelly” and apply them to a melody.

    Once you get an idea of your range, both in terms of highest and lowest notes, and voice alterations, you can experiment which technique and octave you wish to apply over a piece of music.
     
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  6. TonyFlyingSquirrel

    TonyFlyingSquirrel Cherokee Warrior

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    Health also plays a great deal.
    Hydrate well, quit smoking anything, no cocaine, mind the antihistamines in moderation if you have allergies, minimize your speaking only until needed. The latter is difficult as I am on the phones for my work day. My entire job is on the phone, and on Tuesday (was off yesterday) I had 91 phone conversations. No singing on days like this. I only track on my days off, and that is after taking the morning to rest and prepare with warming up.
     
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  7. efiltsohg

    efiltsohg SS.org Regular

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    it's 90% innate ability
     
  8. Mboogie7

    Mboogie7 SS.org Regular

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    I could be mistaken, but I think it’s only 4 muscles or so that are used to speak/sing. Like anything, practice and training/exercises for those muscles will go a long way in developing your voice.
    Also, find a good instructor.
     
  9. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I entirely disagree. "Innate ability" just means you intuited a process that works for you. There's a lot to getting singing right and not straining or hurting yourself or sounding weird. Practice is definitely key, confidence is very important to build up -> But you need to be thinking about the kinds of control you have over all the moving parts, not just the pitch. Where are you breathing from? Where are you "placing" the sound in your mouth/throat/nose, etc? Can you transition cleanly between different registers? Do you have proper warmups?

    I've been singing for what I think of as a long time, with no formal training or coaching of any kind, and I'm still pretty regularly figuring things out that are difficult to articulate - which is why a good instructor would likely be very valuable if you're taking it seriously.
     
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  10. RevDrucifer

    RevDrucifer SS.org Regular

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    I’ve often compared singing to starting off right out of the gate with an AxeFX. You’re born with all the tools you’ll ever need to sing, it’s just a process of figuring out how to use those tools.

    After 20+ years, I’m just now getting comfortable with my voice. I spent so many years trying to copy my influences, Layne Staley, Geoff Tate, Phil Anselmo, Devin Townsend, Randy Blythe, etc. Looking back, it was great to understand the techniques and phrasing they were using, but I screwed myself over for years by trying to cop their tone.

    For years I just belted everything, only to find out later that guys like Staley and Tate (who were trained by the same guy) utilize speech-level-singing and they’re not getting nearly as loud as one thinks. I was just watching a vid with an engineer who worked on a few Pantera records and he was also saying that he never once heard screaming coming out of the control room (Phil tracked all his vocals with an SM58 in the control room) because Phil just new how to utilize his voice where he wasn’t “screaming” in the volume sense.

    Randy Blythe is another one and while he certainly projects more these days, on everything pre-Sacrament you’re hearing mostly mic gain beefing up a rather low-volume-level fry scream. I tried to cop his screaming style for so damn long that when I finally figured it out, I lost interest entirely. It felt like cheating, which it’s not, because whatever gets the job done, gets it done.

    The realization of the ‘required’ volume changed everything for me. I have so much more control over what I’m doing, dynamically, pitch-wise, tone-wise. Learning how to manipulate the mic/compression is key.

    It takes a while to be comfortable with your own voice, but once you get over it, you can start finding out how to manipulate your voice to get what you need out of it. Sometimes I’ll be tracking and while the pitch is dead on and the phrasing is where I want it, the tone itself isn’t what I’m going for, or certain words/syllables aren’t what I’m hearing in my head. I have to push myself and sometimes do something that sounds weird as hell to make it work in a recording.

    There’s a good example of that in Devin Townsend’s WAVES vid about creating a wall of vocals. He plays a section where his voice sounds rather goofy, but in the mix it sounds great and sounds like Dev. Sometimes you’ve got to manipulate certain aspects of it to fit what you’re hearing in your head and only trial and error can deliver that.

    Depending on what you’re doing, some discomfort can be involved. Just be weary of it and don’t go too hard in that direction without taking a good break or just stopping for the day. It’s like going to the gym for the first time in months, you’re going to feel some pain from working muscles, but it’s not all bad. If the pain persists after more than a couple hours, stop and reconsider the technique. I’m almost positive I have nodes in my throat from the years I was trying to scream without understanding fry technique and occasionally I have to call it quits because one side of my vocal chords are just aching.

    Some of my best practice has come from just singing along while playing my acoustic. Helps me keep in control of dynamics better and since there’s no distortion, the ability to discern pitches is much easier. I’m often jealous of piano players who sing because they’re all so fucking dead on pitch.
     
  11. RevDrucifer

    RevDrucifer SS.org Regular

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    This.

    Sure, some people can naturally just sing and they’re great, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be the only great singers out there. If I had that mentality, I would have quit around 20 years ago. Instead, I put an absurd amount of time into figuring out my own voice and how to make it do the things I wanted it to do.

    Guitar playing came remarkably easy to me in comparison, I could hear something on an album and then figure out the technique very quickly, but it still took me years to hone in on what I wanted to do with it all.
     
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  12. fps

    fps Kit

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    Brilliant post, couldn’t agree more. I used to sing like I was trying to reach the back of a theatre unamplified! Once you realise it’s about the tone pitch and inflection, everything becomes easier. I’ve learned my soft voice actually sounds better with more oomph in it, my loud one when it’s softer, and that’s from more acoustic playing.

    I also think singing a lot is important for wearing a voice in. Not wrecking your throat, I just mean not treating it like every time you sing is somehow going to take the purity out of what you’re doing, or anything silly like that. Singers sing. They also record themselves, check themselves, and sing again!
     
  13. Dayn

    Dayn silly person

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    I highly recommend singing lessons. There's really no other way unless you stumble upon it yourself. Having someone guide you in real time and react to your needs is the only surefire way.

    Some things that I learned, though:
    • Your voice needs support from your diaphragm for a full-bodied sound. Your energy should come from deep down, and you need that support to push air out instead of using just your throat.
    • Making sure your voice and breath goes up and out of your mouth, and not out your nose. Unless you're after that effect, but this is a way to focus and project your voice.
    • Vowel placement and the sound of words. If you sing exactly as you speak, well, you can do that, but what people think as "good" singing often doesn't do that. If you spoke like you sang, all your words would sound lazy and malformed, but when you sing it sounds different. Eg, "eee" sounds are shrill and harsh, but singing "ehhh" still sounds like "E" without the shrillness.
    Another thing is finding what way to shape your words works for you. I was originally taught to start using "aw" to help round it out, but my voice was already deep and rounded, so it sounded super-operatic in style and not what I was after. I then shifted to more of an "ahh" sound to make it punchier.
     
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  14. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Kind of a dumb bit of advice, but it's a good idea to actively refrain from competing with anything for volume. If you need to be heard over something, use a mic. If you can't sing to something because you feel you're too loud for it, then you need to learn to be comfortable hearing your own voice. I've seen a lot of (and I've done it myself) excuses of "I need a lot of sound behind me to sing because I need that volume to project" or something similar and it's just not true. If you get into a volume war between, lets say, your voice and the car radio or your backing tracks or something - you're going to strain yourself and either do some damage or train yourself to use bad techniques.
     
  15. DrakkarTyrannis

    DrakkarTyrannis

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    I laughed at this.

    But yeah..also keep in mind that what you wanna sound like, may not be what your voice is capable of. The "innate ability" thing does apply in some ways. If you sound like Prince, trying to make your voice sound like Peter Steele ain't gonna happen more than likely. Not everyone can do black metal vocals, not everyone can do death metal vocals, etc.

    Work with what you have and develop that first.

    And like everyone said...practice, vocal coach, etc, etc
     
  16. efiltsohg

    efiltsohg SS.org Regular

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    if you play other musical instruments well then chances are you have the ability to sing, but many people are tone deaf or can't do music in any form

    this isn't conjecture, it's supported by scientific lit: "We found that deliberate practice explained... 21% (of the variance in performance) for music... We conclude that deliberate practice is important, but not as important as has been argued." Ok, I was wrong and it's only 80% innate ability.

    https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797614535810

    edit: what Ted says probably still applies to harsh metal vox eg black metal
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2020
  17. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Well, I'm not going to pay to read the article, but I could see all kinds of ways a study like that would not really support the idea that singing is mostly innate ability. How are they defining deliberate practice? What about not-deliberate or unscheduled or unstructured practice? How does it account for the difference between "I tried it once and was great immediately" vs. "I could intuit the basics, but I still improve over time"?

    Also, most musicians I know can't sing for crap. :lol: And the ones who claim they can sing (lets not forget that singing is the kind of things that self-reporting might be.... inaccurate about) are often much worse than they think they are, or are lacking in certain fundamental skills or concepts that would make them useful as a singer.

    Harmony in particular is something that is reaaaaally not intuitive for a lot of people. I know lots of self-reported "good singers" who are incapable of finding harmonies that are anything other than matching the same pitch (so not a harmony at all) or an octave.
     
  18. RevDrucifer

    RevDrucifer SS.org Regular

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    For sure. It’s all muscles, athletes train nonstop to maintain their abilities, it’s no different with singing.

    And shit, look at someone like Mike Patton, who is constantly working and constantly pushing his voice in every which direction, for over 30 years. Dude still sings like he always has with zero signs of slowing down.

    As long as your technique is good and you maintain it, you’ll be singing like a champ until very late in the game.

    Hell, David Gilmour still sounds like he’s 20 years old when he sings in most cases. His voice is often overshadowed by his guitar playing, but he’s got a terrific range and the only thing the years have added is a little more grit here and there when he’s been on tour for an extended amount of time.
     
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  19. InfinityCollision

    InfinityCollision SS.org Regular

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    Even this I think is much, much more rare than people believe, nevermind that "natural talent" is ill-defined. Talk to these "naturals" and for the overwhelming majority I'd bet you'd find significant underlying factors that do not reasonably fall under deliberate practice nor "natural talent". Take children growing up in gospel communities and surrounded by music at home for example. They're undergoing musical training of a sort from before they can even form words. Some form of "natural talent" is still a factor here, but I don't think it's terribly significant for simply achieving proficiency unless you're horribly disadvantaged (genuine tone/pitch-deafness, debilitating throat/lung problems, etc).

    This is also where @efiltsohg's assertion falls short: ~20% variance in performance correlating to deliberate practice does not mean the remaining variance is all to innate ability, nor does that account for factors such as selection bias. The cited meta-analysis makes no effort to attribute the remainder to any specific factor, merely describing the remainder as "not explained by deliberate practice".

    There are also implications here for topics such as common formal teaching methods, but that's way outside the scope of this thread.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2020
  20. gustavowoltmann

    gustavowoltmann SS.org Regular

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    so 75% of your focus is on practice.
    i think beginners must launch a sound recording app on their computer or smartphone. then, adjust the audio input setting so that it
    records a pure, unaltered version of your voice. practice singing to various songs and recording the outcome.
    try Karaoke aw well. there are songs out there that fit your vocal range and style.
     

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