Why do people have different vocal ranges?

The voice of every individual is as unique as one’s fingerprint. While your Alexa might not be able to tell the difference between two people, the human ear is certainly capable of pointing out differences in voices. So what creates these differences and what do the differences mean for our singing?

Firstly, the biggest factor in shaping your voice is your training. A good singing teacher can near enough get anything from a singer with time, dedication and persistence. There’s very little that will stop most people being able to hit a certain note, though there are outliers and some biological limitations that should be seen as gifts rather than limits. Obviously, if someone has a naturally low voice, there’s not much point learning to sing solely high notes, especially when good bass voices are hard to find. Continue reading “Why do people have different vocal ranges?”

What is perfect pitch?

Perfect pitch is one of the most enviable talents a musician can possess. It is the ability to identify and recreate a note, though it comes in two forms.

The first is absolute pitch, the ability to recreate notes without using a reference point. Someone with absolute pitch would be able to identify the note produced by everyday sounds such as a car alarm or could recreate a piece of music perfectly. It’s is believed to be a very rare occurrence with estimates suggesting that 1 in every 10,000 people possess the trait.

The second is relative pitch, which is the ability to work out the relation between two notes by using a reference note. For example, someone could play a reference note, like middle C, and then play a second sound which the listener could identify based on the reference note, i.e. “two octaves above middle C”. Unlike absolute pitch, relative pitch is a fairly common skill amongst music students, as it is the same skill we use to sing melodies by ear. Continue reading “What is perfect pitch?”

Keep the Summer going!

We’ve had our first proper bit of autumn rain now, which means the summer sun is soon to be a memory. Once the sun goes, most peoples moods go with it. The sun gives us much needed energy, and we’re at our most sociable during the long summer days – at the beach, seeing friends – and this also gives us that extra pep.
With Autumn and Winter now looming, most people expect to feel a little less than their regular selves. More nights in alone, less new experiences, fewer people. Sounds bleak, doesn’t it? But all hope is not lost! Fortunately, there is a way to bump your mood up, maintain that positive human contact, and keep you smiling until the sun comes back. Continue reading “Keep the Summer going!”

Stormy Summer Singing

It has been inauspicious start to the summer season. We were thinking it would be all beach weather and barbecue but English Summer weather, true to form, has thrown us for a loop again. So while we’ve spent the last few weeks thinking about how the heat can effect your voice, perhaps its time for us to talk about how storms can change your tone? Continue reading “Stormy Summer Singing”

Is spicy food affecting your voice?

If you’re anything like me, the start of barbecue season also means food with a little kick. Summer just doesn’t seem right without a jalapeño or two, but is spicy food affecting your voice?
I’ve always heard about professional singers avoiding spice but it seems the issue is a little deeper than it might first appear.

It turns out there are pros and cons to spicy food, but hopefully we can break down the complexities for you. Continue reading “Is spicy food affecting your voice?”

Some Like it Hot – Singing in the Summer

Summer is definitely on the horizon, and with that comes the heat. While it may be great for relaxing by the beach, the heat can actually throw a spanner in the works when it comes to singing. Heat can dry your throat out, pollen counts are super high and we have plenty of opportunities to shout during the summer months. Of course, there’s plenty you can do to battle the heat and emerge in cooler seasons with your voice intact. Continue reading “Some Like it Hot – Singing in the Summer”

Undertone Singing

A few weeks ago, we talked about overtone singing in preparation for a workshop with Lunatraktors, but while doing our research, we came across another fascinating extend vocal technique. While overtones are high ethereal notes that dance about an octave above the normal singing voice, undertones are their inverse.

Undertones are low, droning sounds that occur under the singer’s voice. These are normally produced through one of two methods. Firstly, we have the use of strohbass, also known as vocal fry, which you might remember from our article on the death growl. By slowing down the vibration of the vocal cords, the note produced becomes creakier, or fried, and produces the lowest register notes. Continue reading “Undertone Singing”

Hitting the high notes – Falsetto

We know all about chest voice and head voice but have you heard of “disconnected head voice”, a higher register with a shrill, thinner tone than your usual head voice. This is falsetto, and it often covers the highest notes a person can reach (outside of whistle register at least).

The falsetto voice uses only the thin, leading edges of the vocal cords to generate sound, and although this means it uses less power, it also uses less breath support and can, in time, anecdotal evidence suggests it may cause damage to the throat. Continue reading “Hitting the high notes – Falsetto”