Singing above the Female 3rd Bridge

Weekly Teaching Tip – Nov. 6, 2011

Question: How do you work a female voice in the third bridge to keep the larynx down? It seems harder to keep the dopey feeling in the higher registers.

Answer: It has been my experience that you must encourage female singers to “hang on” through the first two bridges, then “let go” through the next two. For most females the first bridge is about B4, the second E5. The nervous system recognizes that a shift or change needs to occur as the singer comes to these bridges and the tendency is to want to “let go”. So the singer must “Hang on” so the voice doesn’t flip and go light. However, at the 3rd bridge (B5) and the 4th bridge (E6) the tendency is to want to try and “squeeze” to force the vocal folds to get a higher note which causes the larynx to raise and to have too much tension on the vocal folds. At these bridges I tell the singers to “Let it flip” since this is what it will feel like to them as they allow the resonation to shift and release into the next area. As the female singer relaxes and “lets it flip” there will be a nice release and the larynx will not rise. In actuality it really doesn’t flip. The quality of sound remains consistent and the resonation shifts. But the singer must “let go” in order for this to occur and not try and force the sound up.

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