Since there may be some people who are not aware of the definition of the term mixed voice, you’ll find it in reading this article. Mixed voice refers to the combination of chest voice and head voice, which is considered as a strong and subtle aspect of singing.
In this process, proper techniques are utilized that include correct usage of the vocal chord, breath control, and proper posture. If you want to learn singing in mixed voice, you should know first what chest and head voices mean. In chest voice, tenors sing using almost their entire body to reach the notes. In rendering the notes, they make use of their lungs, diaphragm, as well as their legs and arms.
Relations of Head Voice and Chest Voice to Mixed Voice
Head voice differs greatly with chest voice in the sense that you can use it even while you are seated or lying down. If you want to learn how to sing in mixed voice, you should have the ability to use both of these voices instantly. Most pop singers use this kind of voice including Britney Spears who is categorized as a head voice singer. By using mixed voice, pop singers are able to perform on stage with great power and a big voice.
To enable you to sing in front of a huge crowd together with a loud band, you should be able to perform well with a mixed voice so that you’ll have stage confidence and at the same time, the audience can hear you.
In mixed voice singing, you may be aware that the chest voice and the head voice do not connect automatically. You can test this when you sing a vowel coming from a lower note, rising up to a higher note. You will notice that a break in the voice happens during the transition process from chest voice to head voice or falsetto. This blending of your voice is known as the “in-between voice” that has something to do in connecting the 2 vocal registers.
You will observe that many artists have the ability to sing very high notes which are considered their chest voice. The reason for this is that they have already developed a kind of “mixed register” wherein their vocal cord zips up. In this process, they are actually singing in their head voice, but at the same time, their voice still resonates partly in their chest. Therefore, if you want to attain recognition and success in your singing career, then you must be able to learn how to sing in mixed voice.
There is no other way but to develop your ability to sing in mixed voice. This is the part of the voice that ties up your entire voice completely. It is known as the link between your head and chest voice. It is also considered as the best part of your voice that you can use for a popular and commercial singing style and voice. If you have developed this kind of voice, it can do something to make your voice more flexible, and it can also boost the other parts of your voice.
It may not be so easy to achieve this since it is considered as one of the most difficult vocal coordination to learn and master. However, if you are highly-determined to sing in a mixed voice, then you have to undergo the correct training, and you’ll be surprised later that you’ve done it perfectly.
Steps on How to Sing in Mixed Voice
First, is learning to sing at top and below your vocal range using several scale exercises.
Take note what types of notes you are singing with the use of your lower voice or chest, and which ones do you sing through your head voice. Second is identifying your vocal bridge. These are the notes that make it difficult for you to sing in a relaxed manner coming from the head voice or chest. Third, make a trial with different vocal activities by singing the notes within your bridge range. Try singing each note on various vowel sounds.
The fourth step is vocalizing the vowel sounds that create resonance in the bridge zone. Find the range of your middle voice by singing the notes of the range chest out, and focused more on your face. Move the placement for higher notes coming from the head voice towards your mouth. Good resonance is achieved by the correct placement of your middle voice.
Fifth and last method in using mixed voice in singing is through adding of words in the music sound that you’re trying to create and integrate them into the full melody. These methods on how to sing in mixed voice are what most music mentors recommend to singers whether beginners or professionals.
Belting vs. Mixed Voice
Instead of belting your voice to sing higher, I would suggest that you should build the mixed voice that will allow you to sing higher without hurting your vocal chord if you belt singing incorrectly.
Mixed Voice: How To Connect Your Chest Voice and Head Voice
Before we learn more about this technique to help you increase your vocal range, let’s first define some important terms.
Chest Voice is the rich and resident part of the voice. It is not possible to take this voice too high in the vocal range.
Head Voice, on the other hand, tends to be a clear and clean voice that can be taken high up the vocal range. However, it lacks the resident power present in the chest voice.
When looking to transition from the chest register to the head register smoothly without straining the voice or encountering a vocal strain, it is important to note that two things must happen. First and foremost, the muscular balance of the vocal cords needs to shift; secondly, there must be a change in resonance.
To understand how to execute a change in resonance, you need to have a picture of how sound is produced. First and foremost, for you to produce a chest voice sound, the vocal cords must vibrate while shortened and in their entirety. Once the sound is produced, it is then amplified as it passes through the throat and mouth; these are the two voice resonators you will need to control. To vary resonance, you need to use your lips, tongue and jaw alignment.
Although singers usually feel like the sound is coming from behind the soft palate as they ascend to higher pitches, it is worth noting that amplification only occurs in the throat and mouth. Vibrations are felt in the chest for lower notes and in the face for higher ones.
Additionally, as singers transition from one register to another, the muscular changes meant to shorten the voice cords and lengthen tense cords have to work harmoniously to ensure no vocal break is encountered. As this happens, the singer feels as if they are letting go but not completely.
Singers in different genres use different voice registers when singing. For instance, rock or pop singers use their chest voice while classical singers use their head voice. However, it is important to note that singers who use their chest voice can take their tone higher without changing from this voice. This Mix enables them to seem like they are connecting and mixing the chest voice and head voice seamlessly without losing its tonal quality.
Furthermore, singers need to learn how to transition between their chest voice and their head voice so as to be able to raise their pitch as high as they can. As you raise the pitch of the chest voice, you will start to feel a bit labored with each rise; this means that you have to transition to the head voice to maintain this rise. This change should occur earlier as overly delaying the shift increases the chances of a vocal break.
A “mixed voice” will help you to connect your lower chest voice and your upper head voice, to achieve broader vocal range and hit higher notes. The mixed voice involves producing a voice that has elements of both the lower and higher voice registers. According to research findings, the mixed voice can either be produced in the lower laryngeal mechanism or the higher laryngeal mechanism depending on the singer’s gender. Men usually have a longer lower laryngeal mechanism while women have a longer middle laryngeal mechanism. The mixed voice occurs where the laryngeal mechanism is longer in both cases.
The most common mistake singers make when it comes to blending bridges / connecting their chest voice and head voice is speeding up their singing so as to get past the passagio faster. This is not a solution to avoiding vocal breaks. I would recommend doing the exact opposite; you should break down the music note by note and then practice using short pieces that begin a few notes below the transition and end a few notes above it. By going one note at a time, it is possible to focus on the shifts in balance as the notes take you past the passagio. This will help you master blending the bridges as the foundation and to connecting your chest and head voices as an ultimate goal. Only when you are comfortable with getting past the transition should you return to singing songs that require you to get past it. And try to sing the song with mixed voice.
Female singers who have a more robust chest register usually find it quite difficult to switch between the chest and head registers. Their voice often goes lower as they transition since they lose the dynamic nature of their more developed lower register. To help them achieve a better transition, I recommend that they begin raising their pitch while still singing in their lower register whenever they approach the transition. After the transition, I suggest that they hold on to some of the robustness of their chest register and increase breath power while still allowing muscular shifts to occur. This helps them achieve a mixed voice. Afterward, you can develop a stronger middle voice register.
Singers with lighter chest registers usually don’t have this problem as they find it easier to shift from one register to the other, up or down with minimal sound variations.
Exercise 1: Slow Controlled Voice Exercise
To develop your vocal range and move closer to a mixed voice, I recommend that you conduct the following exercise.
Begins with your head voice, and bring it down to the lowest point you can before transitioning to the chest voice. Follow this up by doing the complete opposite and starting with your chest voice, bring it up to the highest point you can before transitioning to the head voice. This exercise will help you develop an overlap between the voices to improve your vocal capabilities to sing in the mixed voice more smoothly. And it also will allow you to get out of your comfort zone in the chest and head voice. Try to practice this exercise with different vowels and at different points in your register. It will stretch out both your limits in the chest and head registers.
Practice this over and over so as to develop the mix voice for a seamless transition while singing.
Exercise 2: Octave Leaps
A single octave is made up of eight notes. This makes it a great practice tool when looking to make a transition from one register to the other. This exercise involves making a leap by singing half the notes in one register transitioning to the other to sing the remaining notes.
The main goal is to make the transition without excessive scooping. Once you can do so fluidly, you will be better prepared to sing across the transition with a lower chance of encountering a vocal break while hitting higher notes.
Exercise 3: Singing Arpeggios
An Arpeggio is a chord usually separated into individual notes. The most common practice Arpeggio is the major cord, Do-Mi-Sol. Singers can practice using Do-Mi-Sol-DO-Sol-Mi-Do up and down their registers until they achieve a smooth transition.