One of the key ingredients of mastering vocal techniques and ultimately becoming a professional singer is the understanding of vocal registers. So today, we are going to delve into the subject of Vocal Registers. Do you know your voice register and voice type?
The essence of this article is to educate singers. This is because, often times, you have vocalists/singers who barely understand the various nature of their voice hence they struggle to become the ideal vocalist they desire to become.
What is a Vocal Register?
The vocal register is a set of pitches people make with their voice. We can say that they are range of tones in the human voice produced by the vibratory pattern of the vocal cords. That would mean that the vocal fords are actually capable of producing different vibratory patterns, which will determine your vocal register.
You should know that pitch is the highest or lowest of the voice and all pitches have the same quality. This is because the vocal cord have the same fundamental pattern of vibration for each note or sound in the register i.e The vocal cord vibrate at the same rate for every sound or note we make.
Classification of Vocal Registers
The vocal register is classified into 6 major groups (you may see less or more classifications somewhere else).
- The chest register or chest voice
- The head voice
- The mixed voice
- The falsetto
- The whistle voice
- The vocal fry
Each of these vocal registers is unique and adds beauty to the voice when applied and used correctly. They can equally be possessed by constant training.
We shall be discussing extensively on each of the vocal registers.
Welcome back, am so glad you are still with me on this. Today I want to start focusing on each vocal register I itemized in my last article. If you haven’t read it, I recommend you do. The essence of this article is to educate us a #singers. This is because, often times, you have vocalists/singers who barely understand the various nature of their voice; hence this article. So enjoy!
THE CHEST REGISTER
The Chest Register is the vocal register on which we normally speak in, it is the heaviest register. That is, it is the lowest range of the voice. The uniqueness of this register is that, the vocal cords are vibrating along their entire length when it is in use. In this register, the vocal cords contact with each other completely during each vibration, closing the gap between them fully, if just for a small length of time.
The Chest Register is also simply called ‘’chest’’. This is because, because you are using this register, you will feel the resonance in your chest cavity and mouth. To fully understand this, please do this simple exercise;
Place your hand on your chest and say a nice deep ‘’Ah’’. Do you feel the vibration in your chest? Sure you do. That’s your chest voice in use.
So that’s a quick one about the Chest Register. Hope you like it?
The Head Voice
The Head voice is the highest part of the natural range or vocal range. It has a very pure and sweet tone quality. When you sing with your head voice, your vocal cords are in different coordination than when you are singing with your chest voice.
That is, when singing with head voice, your vocal cord zip up and shortened in length of about 2/3, leaving 1/3 of it to vibrate.
This is the reason that when using your head voice to sing, you feel the resonance primarily on your head.
Let me also state that the head voice is a classical sounding vocal register and there are vocal styles such as classical music and opera where singers use only their head voice to sing and in these styles it works very well.
To appreciate the head voice, do this simply exercise;
Put your hand on your head and make a pitched noise like a siren ‘’Woo woo woo’’ feel the resonates on your head.
The Mixed Voice
The mixed voice register is one that usually requires the most work to develop. Most people are fine singing in the chest register. This is because a bit of outer larynx muscle interference will not cause the voice to jam up (although it can affect your tone quality). Same goes to the head voice. This isn’t the same when it comes to the mixed voice, obviously because it involves a blend of both the head and chest register.
The mixed voice also functions on a zipped up chord. This is a point where the resonance is approximately half in the mouth and half in the chest. The great thing about the mixed voice is that it shares the quality of both the chest and head resonance. It actually sounds like the chest voice but on a higher note.
Let me say that this register is an exciting prospect for many singers as it gives extra range for notes that sound like they are in the chest register. When you use the mixed voice, your tone can maintains the edge and extra presence despite being sung on a zipped up vocal cord.
Let me finally add that the mixed voice is most used by popular/contemporary singers, so you would do yourself good as a contemporary singer to develop this register.
To be continued…
I am Music Estate’s Music Director