Sunday, 7 November 2010

Singing 101: Positioning of the larynx

A really interesting video by WestVoice about the importance of the positioning of the larynx when singing.If you are someone who likes to sing  then this is a really interesting video to watch and learn from. Even if you’re not a singer this video still demonstate’s the good and bad techniques some of our Diva’s have.

This is the transcript of the video if you can not view the embedded video.

The larynx position while singing: The larynx or voice box is located in your throat, which is in you neck. Basically, for males, its at your Adams apple, the bump on your neck. In this video we will discuss why we should our larynx stable while singing, Barbara Streisand is a good example for a neutral larynx.

How do you know when a singer is singing with a neutral larynx?: It’s easy. They[Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey] will sound natural and if you imitate their technique you wont feel like you are pulling, pushing or straining your larynx muscles (neck). Another thing you should know that larynx moves up a bit in vowels like “ooh” and “ee” and moves up and down a bit in vowels like “ah” and “oh”. However there’s a big difference between letting the larynx moves up and down naturally with the vowels and PULLING it up or PUSHING it down.

Singers as they PULL or PUSH their larynx.
When your larynx is HIGH you are not singing with an open throat and your vocal chords are not at rest. To sing with an open throat, you must keep your larynx neutral and lift your soft palate. High larynx doesn’t only take away resonance and make you strain on high notes. It also causes Failure since it is hard to hit high notes when your larynx is high [Christina Aguilera]
Jenifer Hudson’s is also high, hence the strain. When you sing with a high larynx or basically, when you pull your larynx up, you will song like you’re PULLING the note. WORSTCASE SCENARIO of high larynx singing Hudson produces an unpleasant unsustained high belt note]
[Mariah Carey’s performance of you and I] Mariah Carey here started off with a neutral larynx and pushed her larynx down on that vocal run. This does happen sometimes when you try to sing really low. Try to not let it happen. By the way Mariah did awesome in all the other low notes in this song, just to be clear.
However, some singers push their larynx down even they’re not singing low because they want to have a BIG tone. Try to imitate Charice’s singing here and you will notice that you are using your tongue to push your larynx down. Yes pushing your larynx down does make your tone BIGGER but it takes away your vocal resonance and that BIG tone doesn’t sound natural indeed.
Squire Parsons here is also doing it. Another reason why you shouldn’t do this because when you push your larynx down like that, it’s harder to sing lower.
[X-factor contestant] Now this girl is pushing down her larynx like Crazy. Yeah. I will never understand why people do that. Power only comes out when your vocal chords are at rest and your throat is open. You don’t need to have a big fat tone to be powerful.

Enough with the low larynx stuff, this video will discuss the larynx position when belting.
Now watch and learn from Miss Whitney Houston here. She belted ten E5’s, seven Eb5s and one F#5 in 20 seconds! The thing is, when your larynx is neutral, you can sing high notes effortlessly.

Now we will analyse some high clips so the difference between high larynx and neutral singing is even clearer to you.
[example] Pavarotti said when your vocal chords are at rest, you can go to the top very easily...This is really nice! Juan Diego Flores’ larynx is really stable here. Celine Dion has started with a neutral larynx (5.35) now she’s PULLING the larynx up... Leona Lewis did exactly the same thing as Celine Dion... Starting with neutral and ending high. Mariah Carey here maintained power and texture as goes higher[ 6.07] this is because her larynx is stable. She also lifter her soft palate and placed her voice well. Another thing you should know is that when your larynx is not neutral, you’re not supporting from the diaphragm. Shanice Wilson here has a bad larynx [6.23] habit when belting. Focus on how her larynx SHOOTS UP now back to Neutral position. Compare this note from David Phelps [6.39] to Shanice’s. Very Very relaxed! Amazing!
Before I leave you with some notes, lets listen to this great soprano C. She is keeping a stable larynx all the way... Mixing and vibrato also helped her there. Still neutral. No strain..nice nice.


Karen v. H. said...

This was awesomely informative. I only wish there were an answer key for the high/neutral larynx quiz at the end! For some of the singers, I could hear very clearly which it was; for others I was less sure.

Post a Comment