I want to thank Jenny for getting me back to posting on my blog. I’ve been so “crazy” busy with teaching and performing…..I forgot how much I love answering your questions.
Jenny was asking for clarification about the thickness of vocal folds in the great pop singers….below is my response.
The true definition of “belting” does not include mixing. It is a chest register coordination with thick folds.
The definition of “mixing” is allowing the voice to ascend in pitch through the passaggio (for women around G above middle C). The vocal folds thin out as the voice ascends in pitch. To do this without being breathy, the larynx will tilt as the voice goes higher.
You mention the great pop belters, so I assume you are referring to the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Christina Aguilera. You say it is obvious that they are singing with thick fold. Please note, it may sound like they are always singing with thick folds, but, they are mixing with varying degrees of vocal fold thickness. Their larynx is tilted and their cords have stretched (thinned or stiffened) as they ascend in pitch. (Exception: Christina Aguilera sometimes sings in full chest voice with thick folds, and is able to sing in a beautiful mix as well. She is very aware of what she is doing…it’s a stylistic choice).
The reason these singers sound like they are only singing with thick folds is because they have good vocal cord closure and breath control and support…two EXTREMELY important components to singing in a good mix.
You mention the wide vowel and forward placement. This is absolutely correct and the #1 coordination defining a “pop or rock” sound. The tongue is free in the back of the mouth allowing for “twang” and a speech-level sound. This is why they simply sound like they are talking on pitch…..because they are!
I always remind my students of the illusion of “powerful” singing. If any one of these singers were to sing their #1 hit song in your living room without a microphone, you would say….is that it? Is that all there is? Yes, that’s all it is!
Thank you so much for your question and the opportunity to respond. Good luck! Susie