How to Belt

I stumbled on this video and it prompted me to write this post. Take a moment and watch this first. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5eKV3AgxJY

Expert Village should be ashamed of themselves for posting this. It certainly has tarnished my impression of anything they post as being “expert”.

First, let me state….I’m no expert! However, I do try to keep up with the latest information about belting.

Let’s first look at what’s wrong with this video instruction:

To simply state that belting is speech-like shouting (as in her demonstration) is not going to help any singer learn how to belt!

Here are my recommendations:
First, every singer who wants to understand and learn to “belt” needs to know where their register shifts are, and what they feel like.
Belting in it’s safest form should be coordinated through a balance of all registers….chest/middle/head. If the note being belted is in the chest voice range, it is safest to have at least a component of middle to head voice resonance in a balanced coordination that is manageable by the singer.

This video is implying that belting is simply shouting. If that were the case, belting would only be harmful to the voice. That is incorrect, belting can be done efficiently without harm. BUT, not by watching this video!!

4 thoughts on “How to Belt

    • Hi Aritra, Thanks so much for your question. As a simple response, the answer is yes. But, let me explain.

      First, I’m concerned because you are referring to the voice as three registers, when you really should try to think of the voice as one register…..in other words….one mixed voice. (Yes, there is a change in sensation in the middle area of your voice between your chest register and head register, but if you are mixing well, this sensation will be minimal, and you will have ability to sing just as strong below your passagio, through your passagio and above your passagio). Mixed simply means a balanced voice; balanced registers; and you need a balanced voice to belt without causing harm.

      For safe belting, you will need to have the ability to control your air and effort (which is volume) throughout your entire register. Increased volume when belting does not come from increased air to get louder. Increased volume when belting comes from increased effort with the correct coordinations. Belting is a complex set-up in the larynx dependent on laryngeal height in the throat, position of the tongue, thickness and position of the vocal folds due to a narrowing in the aryepiglottic sphincter, and a necessary tilting of the cricothyroid cartilage. All these conditions change as you ascend in pitch through your passagio due to increased effort in the correct places.

      Research is still being conducted in the role of the cricoid cartilage when belting. This area of the larynx is very difficult to visualize due to the hidden position below the vocal folds. However, it is suggested that the cricoid cartilage plays a significant role in belting. Have you noticed how good belters raise their chin and drop their jaw when belting? This stretching (or tilting) is thought to activate the cricoid cartilage which is attached to the front of the spine by thin muscle fibres. You can try this exercise by simply doing a happy shout with your face, neck and chin straight ahead. Then repeat and compare the same volume of a happy shout with your chin slightly raised and your neck elongated (head thrown back). You should notice that your happy shout increased in intensity, depth and volume.

      Thanks again for your question. I hope my response has helped make sense of proper belting. Please let me know. Susie

  1. Hi! Thanks for the great information. What exercises should be done to make this possible?

    I have noticed since starting to work on my mix voice that when I’m singing with full chest voice like I always used to I can keep pushing harder and eventually get into head voice when I’m at my loudest. But it doesn’t sound super pleasant and I don’t have a lot of control other than just hitting and holding notes.

    Thank you for your time!

    • Thanks for your comment. I will be uploading videos in the (hopefully near) future to help with belting. Positioning of the larynx is crucial to have the freedom to sing higher and higher. I like to think of good (proper) belting as an illusion. In other words, the listener thinks the voice is loud and powerful, when in fact, the singer can actually crescendo and decrescendo at the highest note. This is the what safe proper belting is about. Being able to fool the listener. Stay tuned.

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