Types of voices

Singing starts with our speaking voice….and we are all blessed with a speaking voice that is uniquely our own.

Some people have a breathy voice, while others don’t. Some people have thick cords while others have thin. Some people have a larynx that sits higher in their throat than others. Some people have short tongues, while others have long. Some have limited jaw mobility.

As you can see, the list is endless for physical reasons why you sound the way you do.

It’s always a good idea to learn from a professional the type of speaking voice you have. Good singing starts with good speaking.  Good speaking requires the same vocal habits as good singing.

There is a singing coach who is also a speaking coach names Roger Love. I believe he trained in speech level singing years ago. He has loads of valuable resources. Check out his website here. http://www.rogerlove.com/

Why I Admire Seth Riggs

Seth Riggs, the man behind the incredible singing technique called Speech Level Singing. Many great singing coaches have learned from his early teachings. Teachers such as Brett Manning (Singing Success), Roger Love  (The Perfect Voice), and Roger Burnley (Singing Made Simple) have gone on to create fabulous singing programs in their own right.

What makes this man so incredible is that he realized that many trained singers had a consistent and ongoing problem negotiating the middle of their voice. He realized most trained singers had only a head voice coordination when singing notes below their first passagio, and singers on Broadway would typically “flip” into their chest voice to get their speech-like belt, and end up yelling out the high notes, until they needed to flip back to their head voice coordination to continue on higher pitches.

He also realized that many untrained voices did the exact opposite. These singers would typically sing with a chest voice coordination only, and they usually ended up yelling and splatting on their high notes.

So hooray for Seth Riggs! This man has created a system of scales and awareness that strengthens the middle voice. This is called mixing!

The mixed voice

I’ve talked about the “mixed voice” and how to find your “mixed voice” before. This is a term created by Maestro Seth Riggs in his Speech Level Singing method years ago. It is also used by Brett Manning, Roger Love, Dave Brooks, and countless other top-quality singing coaches from around the world.

There is a lot of controversy surrounding this term in the singing community. Some singing teachers from around the world cringe when they hear the term “mixed voice”. I believe this stems from the fact that we physically do not actually have a “mixed voice,” and the fact that many singers do not actually know what it is, what it should feel like, or how to get it.

However, I believe all singing teachers will agree that we do have a chest register (or chest voice as referred to by SLS), and a head register (head voice as referred to by SLS). These are two terms that have been around for hundreds of years, and are commonplace in a singer’s vocabulary.

I tell my students that a mixed voice is simply the ability of a singer to ascend or descend in pitch between their chest register and their head register without constriction, and with the appropriate balance of both registers. Every singer knows about those whacky areas of their voice where singing gets a little tricker. This area, called the bridge or passagio, is where the larnyx and the body need to make careful adjustments in order to sing higher without constriction. In SLS, coaches do this with carefully selected scale combinations of vowel (resonance), consonant (cord closure), and volume (air flow).

I, frankly, like the term mixed voice for myself and for my students. For myself, it is a balanced sensation (or state) that I exercise daily with scales to keep my voice healthy, strong, and flexible. I don’t use the same blend of mixed voice when I perform because I prefer to sing harder at my gigs. That is a choice I make. I am self aware of my vocal limitations, and trust me, we all have them!

Do you have questions or comments. Please leave them below! Thanks.