Resonating Sound and the Voice – Part Deux

(Ed. Note: This is submitted by Nadeshda. Be sure to give her a rousing round of applause and express your gratitude! It’s much better than the article you were gonna get today!)

SO here we are again, singing and chilling like we mean it , well you better be. Get your favorite beverage, take a couple of sips and let us start talking about this singing business again.

You may wonder how I got involved in all of this, it was through a regular Friday night meet-up discussion about instruments and all things musical. One day I bravely shared some of my vocals and people enjoyed it. This started my involvement with sharing, teaching and learning about ‘How to Sing’ on playguitar. Also, theBuddha asked me too and he is very inspiring and good at getting people busy with all sorts of fun stuff while being excellent at what he does ! (Ed. Note: Damned right!)

Let me get another cup of coffee and while I do that listen to a song I wrote and shared with some of my friends. Shhh, I didn’t warm-up properly for the song but still managed some good tone, I wonder why?

Another Day by Nadeshda

So this phone recording came out okay and I think that years of proper training and proper breathing allowed me to do the sneaky recordings. I shouldn’t but some of these things we will be working through will become second nature to you and sometimes when you are caught in a last minute affair you will sound okay but let’s learn the basics first before cutting any corners, m’kay.

I have sung  in choirs since being a wee lass and swimming since I have been three years old, so breathing properly has always been drilled into me somehow and singing lessons to wazoo has filled my brain with endless information that honestly, sometimes I forget.

I am hoping this series helps me to remember and blesses you in the process.
We really shouldn’t sing without warming up our voices correctly so let’s get on with the lesson.
So without further waffling let us look at:

Resonance

What is it and how can I get it to sound good? This is the question today.

We know it when we hear it and sometimes we feel it on the inside but what is it really ?
I can safely say that it is volume of sound, easy listening and it lingers. We find it in ALL instruments.

What part of our body does the resonating? 

The Vocal Tract which is a container of air and has an opening called the mouth. We know the power source of singing is the ribs, diaphragm and the lungs which in turn push the air through the vocal fold into the Vocal Tract to form sweet, sweet sounds when all things are working together beautifully.

SILLY FACT: The average length of a vocal tract for males is about 17 cm and 14 cm for females.

The shape of the tract helps to solidly the sound and tone and the following video illustrates it perfectly while synthesizing vowels on a 3D MRI. The stereolithography (Rapid Prototyping) produces glottal waves using a Rosenberg-Klatt waveform with 1/f fluctuation of its cycle. Male and female models were used to produce the vowels.

Vocal Tract Model Synthesis Video

So how do I get better Resonance?

I am so glad you ask these wonderful questions as I am going to give you some homework and you will enjoy the results.

Let’s wake up that sweet, sweet sound!

Try the following exercise and repeat until you notice a difference. When you are done, sing a song you are comfortable with.

  • Open your mouth and take a breath through your nose and with a basic speaking volume, sustain a comfortable mid-range pitch, through an “NG” tongue position.

To help you find this tongue position, say the word “Sing” and maintain the tongue position of the “NG”. The back of your tongue will lightly close with your soft palate. Keep the tip of your tongue resting against the back of your bottom teeth. Feel the sound vibration vibrate along the roof of your mouth and under your nose.

2) Do this a couple of times using medium volume and try producing different sounds after your beautiful “NG” sound. Here we go…!

  1. NG-EE (Mean)
  2. NG-EH (Hen)
  3. NG-UH (The)
  4. NG-I (Him)
  5. NG-A (Same)
  6. NG-AA (Apple)During the last two vowels (below), DO NOT shape your lips for the sound. Your mouth should only move a wee bit, just let it flow and let the sound naturally resonate in your mouth. Try these too…
  • NG-OH (Moan)
  • NG-Ooo (Moon)

You are doing great! Congratulations you have completed your second singing lesson; now shut up and go sing me a song!

Comment if you notice a difference in resonance, tone and sound.

Happy Singing!

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Things look different from the stage #10: You’ll spend an inordinate amount of time primping and preening.

I guess it’s a matter of perspective. I’ll let you decide!

From one point of view, I’ve been doing a horrible, horrible job at time management.

From another point of view, I’m clinically retarded and keep obligating myself to more and more things.

As such, I’m pretty damned busy.

In my defense, I’m busy doing things that I enjoy.

It’s a whole lot of work to make every day the best day ever. Like, seriously… It’s a ton of work. This is the dumbest retirement on the planet.

This morning, the missus said to me, “You’ve spent just over two and a half hours getting ready, and you’re not done!” Then she laughed at me.

I said, “No, I did’t.”

She said, “I timed you.”

I said, “Damn it!” Frustrated with the wealth of truth and damnation (but mostly the evidence) in that revelation, I followed that up with something like, “Should you be in bed?”

Which is when she laughed and said she was up ’cause it’s funny to watch me get ready for a show.

What I’m about to say next is pretty gender specific. You’ll get over it.

If you get your knickers in a wad easily, fuck off. I don’t really care and you’re not in a position of authority over me. You can suck my dick.

Well now… I’m so leaving that in there.

You menfolk may not really understand what I’m about to say.

You ladies will probably understand.

Still here? Good.

Bear with me and unwad your bloomers.

Allow me to explain.

(It’s not gonna help. Not even one bit. I’m so gonna run with this.)

I’ve stuck my dick in a lot of women. Like, unbelievable numbers of women.

I’ve lived with countless men.

In other words, I’ve observed a whole lot of people!

On average, and in my observation, women preen more than men.

The only men who preen more often that than the majority of women are United States Marines, performers, and people getting ready for a Pride Parade.

(If you’re in a hole, keep digging!)

So, ladies, this one’s for you! (Ed. Note: TheBuddha has been sacked.)
Continue reading “Things look different from the stage #10: You’ll spend an inordinate amount of time primping and preening.”

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Son of a bitch! They fixed it.

For those that didn’t notice, the site was down. Some disk filled up, at least the partition did.

This made me pretty fucking happy!

I was pretty pleased with this. I was like, “Hells yeah. I’m not telling anyone to fix the site. I’m taking today off! Labor Day weekend? Count me in!”

Some jackass, probably another hosting customer as it’s shared hosting, went and notified the fucking admins and they fucking fixed it.

That’s not okay. I was kinda hoping it’d be broken until Tuesday, and then I’d have an excuse to just laze around and maybe make something on the grill.

Bastards! Now, nearly 5 hours later, the damned thing is up and running again. I’m going to submit a support ticket asking them to kick the complaining client off the servers! This is horrible.

It’s no longer the best day ever!

So, I’m going to go find something to do that fixes that. I am still pretty much taking the day off.

The worst part about the server coming back online is that it came back after I’d decided that the site being down was a pretty sweet thing! It came back while I was typing out my text submission.

Like I said, “Bastards!”

Son of a bitch. No, it’s like 15:00 Eastern – and I don’t see me writing a damned thing.

Hmm… Fuck it… I’ll bang out a “Things Look Different From The Stage” article. Son of a bitch… I just can’t give up on my consecutive articles streak. Damn it all to hell.
Continue reading “Son of a bitch! They fixed it.”

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Lessons about performing, #44: Leave your spouse home!

So… I was ahead of the game! On Sunday, I had Monday’s article all set to publish at the scheduled time. Monday came and the phone calls started coming in. It’d turn out that I’d be busy until evening came, and then my ass would be sleepy.

I like to share my article links only when I have time to address any comments and concerns. (I’m still not sure what I’m supposed to do with the site when I go on vacation for the month of January. It might be a staycation, I’m not sure.)

Which means I didn’t submit ’em to the respective sites until this morning.

Sadly, only one of you appears to have noticed and read the article on your own. Y’all know I publish ’em once a day, right? Sheesh! Only one of you came to the site, using your own initiative, and read the article! Horrible! I know what browsers you use – and I know they have bookmarking built in!

You fool nobody!

I spend all those hours, working over a hot letter forge, to smith those words. Y’all can’t even make the effort to visit the site and actually see if maybe there’s a new article and I just didn’t submit it…

Anyhow, if you want to see the article then you can click here. Slackers…

(If you were all actually my guitar students, I’d be pretty grumpy! I’m not really, but I’m gonna pretend I am.)

I need a damned secretary. Hmm… And an editor…

But, enough about that… You should already know your shame! I needn’t berate you with it.

This next rule is one that is actually a bit contentious and some people just can’t figure out how to follow it. It’s a good rule. Trust me…
Continue reading “Lessons about performing, #44: Leave your spouse home!”

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Lessons about performing, #43: Dealing with Hecklers!

Holy balls! It’s Sunday night and I’m writing Monday’s article – early! I really am getting past my pissy fit and seem to have mostly mended my creativity bone. I didn’t even go see a doctor!

What I did do was make myself keep writing, even on days when I really didn’t want to. I didn’t even use my “holy shit” article. That one is still in the queue.

It seems to have worked and I know it’s worked for me when I didn’t want to practice playing guitar. Either way, I seem to be a bit more excited to write again.

If you don’t know what I’m doing, I’m really not sure what to tell you. You should be paying better attention! Sheesh! I’ve told you this – like 42 times already.

In the upper right, there’s a link. Click it. It’ll take you to most of the rest of this series and you can see what rules I’ve already put out there. I’m not even gonna link it. You can spot it on your own.

It’s also a few articles behind. My creativity bone isn’t completely mended and I’d have to click the ‘back’ page like twice in order to get the various URLs – and I’m still being pretty lazy and only doing the work that I want to do. You’ll adjust and I’ll update it, eventually.

Basically, nobody takes the time to tell musicians how to actually make a living with their musicianship. I’m making an effort to write down all the rules I can think of. They will not make you a rock star. They might make it so you can eat and pay your rent.

If you’re expecting these rules to make you a rock star, you’re in for a bad time. If you’re expecting it to be easy, you’re sorely mistaken. At best, you can hope to make enough money so that you’re able to reach the upper parts of middle class. You’re far more likely to be impoverished.

That’s just statistics. Following these rules will give you an edge. I know, ’cause I’ve done this for decades. I’ve been involved in the industry for longer than you’ve probably been alive.

Notably, only a (small) portion of my income has been from music. However, it has been my sole source of income. For a while, and more than once, it has been a very necessary income.

It is possible to live on money generated entirely from your musical skills. You can even feed your children and spouse with this income. It’s just a fuckton of work.

If that’s the path you want to take, this series is meant for you. However, you should know this already – ’cause I’ve told you this quite a few times now! Seriously, these intros are a bad idea! Someone should fire the editor.

Alright… On to today’s lesson…
Continue reading “Lessons about performing, #43: Dealing with Hecklers!”

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Things look very different from the stage, #9.

I love VNC. It’s awesome.

I am a passenger in my own car. Why, you might ask? I’m still not fit to drive. I got none sleep. None.

You’ll understand, as I share my adventure with you.

For those that don’t know, this is the most “blog” type of posting I do. I try to make the rest of ’em education, interesting, and sometimes funny enough to make you smile. These pretty much skip the whole educational part.

So, if you’re reading this and expecting me to impart some wisdom or lore, you’re doing it wrong.

These have been mostly aimless and I’ve never really been sure who the target audience is, but they do all have something in common. In each one, I’ve tried to share things that you’d probably not have experienced – unless you had spent some time on the stage.

This one is no different. Though, it’s exceedingly difficult to type in a car, I can only imagine it’d be much more difficult if I were also driving!
Continue reading “Things look very different from the stage, #9.”

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Lessons about performing, lesson 42: Repeat shows!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled content! I told you that I was back!

It should be noted that the articles may not come at a specific time, unless I get back into writing them all and scheduling the publication time. Right now, that doesn’t appear to be happening. Tomorrow doesn’t look much better.

Actually, I might have to do tomorrow’s article today.

Why? I have a show tonight. I may not even make it back home until sometime tomorrow afternoon. I’ve already called and reserved rooms for the band. We’re staying in a hotel tonight.

Can you say party with fans? It could happen!

This ties in nicely with today’s lesson, by the way. See, we’ve played this venue before. This is actually the first time we’ve played the same venue that we’ve played in the past. It will not be the last time.

So, as a quick refresher, I’m writing the various rules for performing musicians. They’re rules that nobody else seems to take the time to write down. They’re lessons I’ve learned, often the hard way, about making money in an industry known for abject poverty.

Following these rules will not make you a rock star. They probably won’t even make you famous. What they will do is give you a better than average (which is a pretty low bar) chance at making an income high enough that you don’t have to beg on the street corner.

If you’d like to see the previous entries on the list, there’s a link in the upper right. It’s not actually complete, by the way. I’ve been slacking and haven’t added the most recent rules.

So, let’s get back to work!
Continue reading “Lessons about performing, lesson 42: Repeat shows!”

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Things look different from the stage, #8.5.

Yup… Creativity bone is still broken. I did some digging and it looks like I’ve actually been doing this every day for 12 weeks. So, I’m not surprised that my creativity bone is broken.

So, I figured I’d keep it up but I’m going to tell you about the show we did last evening – or at least a small part of it. Why? ‘Cause I gotta tell you something and, besides, I think it’s moderately interesting.

I don’t really write these articles often. These are blog-like articles and they’re a bit about what we see from up there. People seem to like hearing about it, so I might as well share. It’s not nearly as exciting as people seem to think.

In fact, we had no strippers, mounds of coke, or nude groupies backstage. We didn’t even really have a backstage. Shit, we didn’t even have official dressing rooms. But, it does look different from up there. We’re watching you while you’re watching us.
Continue reading “Things look different from the stage, #8.5.”

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Things look very different from the stage, #8.

Well, my creativity bone is still broken. ‘Snot like it’ll keep me from pounding the keyboard, but it does mean I’m not very punctual.

For those that don’t know, I use WordPress as my “CMS.” That’s Content Management System, and it does all the back-end work for me. It’s really meant for people who want to write blogs but most of what I write doesn’t feel quite like a blog.

These things do. These are the little diary-type things. I don’t write them for every show, but I’ll write one for this one.

I’m still not sure for whom these are written, but I enjoy ’em and folks read them. So, here we go…
Continue reading “Things look very different from the stage, #8.”

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Lessons about performing, lesson 42: Don’t do shit for exposure!

It’s amusing how bad at predicting the future of this site has gone. It has somehow gone from anticipating making a few posts and being done with it to the point where I try to get something out there every day for you.

I got a question from a guy we’re going to call “Bob.” Bob is not his real name, but he asked why I do this – if I’m not making any money at it.

Well, Bob, I enjoy it. I also like the idea of helping people. People seem to enjoy the work and I enjoy seeing the comments and hit counter go up. No, they don’t click ads, but I’m rewarded in other ways.

Yes, I’d like the site to break even. I don’t much care about a profit, so breaking even is just the goal. Anything additional would go to some worthy cause, perhaps some sort of gift for the regular readers.

Bob followed this up with asking why I didn’t seek out sponsors. Well, Bob, I’m pretty lazy and I might someday want to write reviews – and I’d like those reviews to be untainted with the smell of bias. So far, I’ve written mostly nice things, but I have plenty of not-nice things to say.

So, there you have it, Bob. Those are the answers to your question. They have not a damned thing to do with today’s post, but I’m going to put it here anyhow.

No, today’s post is something different. It’s yet another lesson that you might want to learn. This one has some caveats, but we’ll try to address them.

I’m not going to write my longer intro, ’cause I was busy answering Bob. If you want to see the complete list of rules for performing musicians, see this link.

Now, onto today’s article…
Continue reading “Lessons about performing, lesson 42: Don’t do shit for exposure!”

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