Belt, Chest voice and Mix

Weekly Teaching Tip – Sep. 24, 2012

Question: I organized an event for voice teachers. I had someone present mix, then I had a teacher explaining EVTS (Estill voice training) and another exploring CVT. (Complete vocal technique.) Both CVT and Estill explained that they stay in chest. But when they “belted” I could swear that I heard them a little bit mixing. I am now trying to figure out, what the differences and the commonalities of these techniques are….

Answer: As far as any “confusion” at your event this year…all good singing is Mix whether it is light or heavy. It is physically impossible to pull the chest voice up into the head voice more than a couple of notes. (Those that try end up singing flat, cracking and hurting their voice if done frequently.) So if someone is moving into their head voice notes, but it still sounds like they are in their chest voice (belt), they are just hanging on to more ‘chest voice’ in their mix, not pulling up their chest voice. They just hang onto so much more cord closure than you would expect, that it makes it seem that they are still in their chest voice. Singers that actually do try and pull up their chest voice don’t last very long and they can’t take it that much higher.

The same is true for singers that try to sing exclusively in their head voice and bring their head voice down into their chest. They end up with an extremely light and mostly unsatisfying sound. They don’t ‘hurt’ their voices the way chest pullers do, but it still is more tiring to the voice than singing in a nice balance or ‘mix’.

Thus, Mix is very versatile and is the ‘best of both worlds’. You keep the natural strength and sound of the chest tones and the beauty and range of the head voice. Depending on if you get more ‘chest’ or head’ in the mix will determine if it is a lighter or a heavier mix.

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