Why Does My Singing Sound Like Talking?

(Last Updated On: February 27, 2021)
Singer paused during singing performance.

One of our readers sent us an email asking an interesting question, “Why My Singing Sounds Like Talking?“. And decided to write an article to specifically answer this question.

Marty Rubin once remarked: “You don’t need a reason to sing.” But what if your singing voice sounds like you’re talking: should you be needing a good reason to sing? Of course, you would feel embarrassed when someone goads you to sing. But do not lose heart, for you can improve your voice and eventually, you can sing songs that would please other people.

It will help to note that when singing, you use the same muscles and physiological structures that you would use when talking. Yet, more often, you may think that singing is different from talking. So, when you sing, you make many adjustments to make a good rendition of a song. You also sometimes tense your jaws and tighten your breathing. In this way, you don’t let your voice flow naturally, like when speaking.

Upon closer scrutiny, singing is only a melodic form of speaking. Speaking, however, does not require you to reach notes correctly. Moreover, you do not need vocal techniques when you are talking. Yet, on a closer look, talking and singing have commonalities.

Why Do You Sound Monotonous Like Speaking When Singing?

There are several reasons why you would sound as if you are talking when you sing. Some of these reasons include the following:

1) Your Voice Gets Stuck in Your Throat

If you experience something like this wherein your voice gets stuck in your throat; then, you may be tensing up your throat. This tensing up creates the impression that your voice gets stuck to your throat. But the thing is when you speak, this feeling doesn’t happen. If you are desirous of improving your singing, you should look for a good singing coach.  

However, your singing coach will give you many vocal exercises. As an exercise, for example, you can position your hand on your tummy. Then, start breathing out and check if your hand is rising too, along with your breathing. Your shoulders should not be moving. 

Professional singers tense their diaphragm when they sing to add support and steady their breathing to sustain the notes and keep them on the pitch. If your stomach is not moving, then the problem may be with your breathing. Make sure that you learn the right breathing when singing. 

Now, if you hear muffled sound when you sing, this may be due to several factors. Your mouth may be shut up and preventing your voice from getting out. So, to avoid producing a muffled sound, you should learn the proper mouth position when you sing. 

Another thing is that your throat is tight. You don’t tighten your throat when you sing; otherwise, you will produce a harsh and crappy sound. If you force your throat to open, you may end up creating tension around the throat area. 

Forcing your throat could also damage your vocal folds and cause pain in your larynx. You can do some warmups, of course, to loosen up the muscles around your vocal folds. Besides, with a good vocal coach’s help, you can surely learn to relax your throat and produce a nice and solid sound.

2) Accent and Vowels

If your problem is that when you pronounce the lyrics, you sound like you were talking. Well, you can improve your pronunciation with proper training. You can learn, for example, how to pronounce the vowel sounds correctly when singing because vowel sounds may sound different when singing and when speaking. 

If you are desirous of improving your pronunciation of vowel sounds, you can learn the vowel techniques in singing in this article, and you will find voice exercises that can help you improve your vowel sound. 

When pronouncing vowel sounds, you need to maintain an open and round sound. You can close down when you hit a consonant at the word’s end. There are regional differences, of course, in the pronunciations of vowels. In Texas, for example, they pronounce vowels with a flatter sound. If you are from Texas, you need to adjust your pronunciation to enunciate the words when you sing correctly.

All English singers, however, tend to pronounce words the same when they sing. Hence, you will seldom recognize a Canadian singer from a British singer or an Australian Singer. Yet, if you want to listen to someone with great diction and enunciation, you should listen to Nat King Cole.

3) Monotonous Singing

If you are tagged as someone with a monotone singing, it means that you sing using only one note. However, it is more appropriate to say is that you have a straight tone that lacks vibrato. You also sing without relaxing your throat. Of course, a relaxed throat can create that beautiful vocal timbre or color. So, if you sound monotonous, then you should try to relax your throat.

Another thing is that you may be utilizing much air when you sing. You push up much air through your throat when starting a phrase or note. Your throat tends to tense with too much air as the air is pushed, and it pushes back sound. 

So, the trick is you need to lessen the use of air when you start phonating. You can try this simple exercise of dropping your jaw and taking a short breath. Then, let the air come out as if you are sighing. Then, start creating a tone like “ah” at the end of every dropping of air. Then, hold the sound up. This exercise should help you create a relaxed and soothing sound. 

Another way to avoid pressuring your throat is by being wary of your breathing. It will help if you take smaller breaths as an exercise. Moreover, remember that you don’t need much air to sing. You can get by singing with a quick low breath before every phrasing. The trick is you should loosen up your jaw to produce a relaxed, soothing sound.

4) Voice Colors and Tones

It will be useful to note at the onset that every voice comes with a specific tone. Of course, the tone is also known as timbre or color. You can describe the tone as dark, warm, or strident. Because of the uniqueness of each person’s vocal tone, you will find two singers who sing the same song at the same key to be sounding different. 

The speaking voice, of course, has a lesser tone than the singing voice. So, when you sing, you can alter your voice’s color from brighter to a bit darker. However, if you’re not a trained singer and belong to the majority of people who do not open their mouth too much when they sing, you end up producing a monotone sound. Thus, you need to work out your voice and learn some basic vocal exercises to enhance your voice color.  

Conclusion

You may already have encountered people who have a straight tone. I got a friend before who sing in a monotone voice. Yet, he joined the choir in our parish and started training with an excellent vocal coach. When I got back to our parish after several years, I still saw him, but when I listened to him sing, his voice has radically improved. 

So, if you think that you are a hopeless case because you inherited a gene that did not give you a good voice, think again. You can improve your voice as long as you know why you sound monotonous and make the necessary adjustment to relax and improve your singing voice. 

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