“If you want to talk to me, define the terms.” – Voltaire
We have to get to the same page. There are too many pages. There are too many tricks, tricks and tips spoken and written by people who do not share the same terminology. This causes problems, misunderstandings and controversy.
When it comes to science, we can find ways to describe things so explicitly that speculation and opinions fall under the weight of verifiable truths. Chaos has arisen from myths and we can distinguish between reality and seek agreement when truth frees us from the past.
Common names of voice registers:
Low middle voice
High middle voice
The main voice
Super Head Voice
Chest Voice got its name because the singers felt a nice vibration in their chest when they sang in the lowest part of the voice. The thoracic voice is not really a sound in itself, but it is a register. The magnitude of the sound waves is such that the chest vibrates in the lowest register.
The low middle voice is just above the chest voice. It should coincide with the voice on the chest and may sound exactly the same, except that it is in higher tones, above the actual voice on the chest.
The high middle voice is below the main voice, but it is above the low middle voice. Some prominent vocal trainers do not distinguish between low middle and high middle and call it all the same. Some prominent vocal trainers call the middle voice Mix or Mix Voice or Mixed Voice. It’s misleading in that it sounds like a singer could or could mix two singing registers, and that’s not as easy to prove when you observe the vocal cords, when the singer slides from the chest to the lower middle to the high middle voice. . . You don’t have a magic mixer or a food processor in your throat that mixes sounds in an imaginary way. Medium voice registers, low and high, are not a combination of head and chest voice. They are among these registers.
Head Voice got its name because the singers noticed that they felt vibrations in their heads as they sang higher than they usually said.
Super Head Voice is above Head Voice. It’s also called a whistle, but it’s not a whistle. Some call the voice of the super-headed flaskolet, which is a real “mechanical” whistle.
To sum it up, voice registers are ranges of voice, but they are not sound or tone quality. Some singers and vocal coaches do not know this and refer to the registers as a specific tone quality or timbre. The best music schools, conservatories and universities are accurate and unambiguous and do not confuse or misuse terminology. This is a great time to get to the same page. In this way we can gain a deeper understanding of the structure and function of singing. We could even get along.
Sound, tone and color
The sound travels at a speed of about 750 miles per hour. We don’t have valves in our heads as such that would allow us to direct the sound or place the sound to any visible extent. We don’t even have muscles that widen the pharyngeal cavity, so they can’t actually “open the throat” or “keep the throat open.” Do not blame me. I did not design or build a human body.
When the vocal cords are in close proximity, when air flows through them, we will have a sound called a full voice. A full voice is a sound we make in which we can “project” or have power or volume. Many singers and some vocal trainers refer to the full voice as the chest voice, but these terms are accurate and not interchangeable. The thoracic voice is the register and the full voice is the sound. The register will be exact notes in your own vocal production. You may notice that they differ slightly upwards or downwards on any given day, but not too much. Don’t call a full chest voice. You can sing in full voice in every single register. When you do this, you do not pull the chest voice higher. This is a common mistake. You can scream or shout and do what some call “pulling your voice behind your chest,” but it’s screaming, not singing, and it’s potentially harmful to your vocal cords.
You can’t sing out loud with a shortening sound and you can even feel pain if you try. The production of a breath tone is achieved by the fact that the vocal folds are not added enough to make the whole voice sound. As a result, air escapes and we can hear this in combination with the tone of the vibrating vocal cords. The breathable tone could be called a sound characteristic or coloration.
What are vocal cords? Vocal chords exist only when three singers sing together at three different pitches. Some vocal trainers talked about vocal cords, but they meant vocal cords. Doctors don’t usually speak vocal cords because they’re not ropes and they’re definitely not “chords.”
Video stroboscopy revealed that the vibrational action of the vocal folds is relatively complex. The use of a microphone that allows the measurement of frequency vibrations, and their combination with stroboscopic light, allowed doctors and speech therapists to visually observe the actual function and structure of the voice as it is in action. Videos about it can be found online.
You can think of a full voice as a solid sound and a breathable voice as air in it.
Remember this: “If you want to talk to me, define your terms.” – Voltaire
We hope that there has been some clarification of the definition of terms on the basis of modern science, not on the basis of myths.