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View Full Version : singing poblem - range problem



UkuleleJarr
01-19-2010, 12:23 PM
well when i practice, i get out the keyboard and start at middle C.....La

i work my way down until...well the next D i cant get that C to C

same up high, accept i get stuck on the A

this range is really getting me down, any ideas on expanding it effectively???

bunnyflower
01-29-2010, 11:16 AM
Practice regularly! Every day, do some vocal exercises.These are easier to do if you have a keyboard in front of you to bang out chords while you sing. You can do these in the shower though too. :)

One example: start at middle C, and sing the C chord going up, then down. So it's C E G C G E C. Try different consonant and vowel combinations. For this exercise, I like to use "me" and "ah." I sing "meeeeee" going all the way up until I hit the top C, and then switch to "ah," and sing that going back down too. Make sure you have your mouth open wide! When you get back to the middle C, then, go up a half step to C#, and repeat the "meeeeeeee-ahhhhhhhhh" chord progression. Keep moving up the keyboard by half-steps. The top notes may sound strained at some points; that's ok, keep trying, but, if it's hurting to sing something, stop! You don't want to hurt your vocal cords. After you have gone as high as you comfortably can, you can go back down by half steps, and keep going down the keyboard as low as is comfortable. Then work your way back to the middle again.

The more you do exercises like this, eventually you'll stretch your range, and be able to sing both higher and lower.

Plainsong
01-29-2010, 12:15 PM
Wouldn't the long e sound tend to close the throat though? I agree that it's great exercise, but what if he's got incorrect technique to start with? It could do more harm than good. I know I should stay out of the voice threads, but mainly because my advice is always the same.... get lessons. Get someone in there with you to point out the things you are doing right, and the things you are doing wrong. Otherwise, you could just be wrecking your vocal chords. I know it's not the quick sexy solution, but it's the one where you end up with an improved voice and nothing icky done to your vocal chords. Sure that won't matter now, but it will as your voice ages. Another plus to getting lessons is that we are the worst critics of what our voices sound like. The instrument is our own bodies, so what we hear is different than what the world hears. It's good to have someone else in there to point out the good and bad.

Pippin
01-31-2010, 07:57 AM
You can widen your range more slowly and comfortably by singing songs that gradually push you higher or lower while continuing to focus your mind on keeping your throat relaxed, and supporting your voice from the diaphram. I knew years ago that I had reached a good point when I could sing John Denver's "Eagle and the Hawk" without straining.

kendra
02-05-2010, 06:41 AM
Range has EVERYTHING to do with breath support. If you are able to build up your diaphram muscles (which you can do without straining your voice in any way) you will see that your range naturally improves.

Try saying a series of breathy "Ha's" (ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, etc.) while contracting the diaphram. (your diaphram is the muscle that extends just below your ribcage and just above your stomach) It should visably go in and out as you repeat the "Ha's". It may feel really silly, but the point is to strengthen those muscles so that when you try to hit higher and lower notes, you will be able to fully support the air that you need to push through the vocal chords to get those hard to reach pitches.

I also use a weird technique when trying to "warm up" the vocal range. I start at the top of my range (do this very softly with a "Fa" or "ee" sound) and extend the Fa sound all the way down to the bottom of your range. Don't try singing, but simply keep a continuous tone from the top of your current range to the lowest point in your current range and then go back up from lowest to highest. Like I said, don't try to "sing" this, but rather just lightly try to keep that light continuous tone with a sort of swooping up and down. This helps me to open and relax the throat a little bit. Be careful and don't try to force it.

And yes, lessons are always a good way to go.

Plainsong
02-05-2010, 07:45 AM
Not EVERYTHING. I've lost some from my chest voice after a few nasty, lengthy and serious throat infections. It's just Not.There. But who doesn't agree with the importance of singing from yours legs up? It's all great advice, but it won't replace getting someone in there helping the OP. For now I think it's as kendra says. Don't worry so much about the throat past keeping it open and relaxed, and concentrate on the proper breath support. All the other stuff comes later.

ceviche
05-15-2010, 03:32 PM
Cut yourself some slack and transpose your uke chords to another key that's easier for you to sing in. I've done that for the past twenty-some-odd years with guitar (also done with a capo to spare having to learn a new progression). Having trouble covering the range demanded by a song is all the reason you need to transpose into another key. The other advantage to doing that is you might find yourself with the opportunity to learn new chords.

itsme
05-15-2010, 03:46 PM
Cut yourself some slack and transpose your uke chords to another key that's easier for you to sing in.
True.

While regular exercise can help expand the range of your vocal cords, the fact is that most of us have a "natural" range that can only be expanded so far. For example, I'm a natural alto that can go a little higher, but I'll never be a fluid soprano who can sing the top range comfortably.

Transposing to accommodate your range makes the most sense.

jungleturtle
05-15-2010, 06:22 PM
Cut yourself some slack and transpose your uke chords to another key that's easier for you to sing in. I've done that for the past twenty-some-odd years with guitar (also done with a capo to spare having to learn a new progression). Having trouble covering the range demanded by a song is all the reason you need to transpose into another key. The other advantage to doing that is you might find yourself with the opportunity to learn new chords.

Yup, that's what I do, sing it in the key that fits my voice. I've never taken vocal training of any sort, though, I just learned to sing simultaneously as I learned the guitar, so I've never really done vocal excercises. But I often try to sing songs that don't tax my range first and work my way up to the more difficult numbers. When I started singing and playing 10+ years ago, my range was very small, maybe an octave and half. I know it's bigger than that now, although not amazing, but I have improved it just by the very act of singing songs.

penster
05-15-2010, 08:54 PM
I practice singing in the car on the way to and from work. I use a set of pitch pipes. My lowest comfortable note is a G and my highest is a D. I use the pitchpipes to sing down to and sing up to the limits of my range. I also have a range of songs on my MP3 player which push my voice a little in range. Both of those help me.
Penster

jillyronald
09-15-2010, 06:40 PM
Regular exercise can help broaden the range of your vocal cords, the fact is that most of us have a natural area, which may not extend that far. bunnyflower advice a very good and best examples for range problem. And an example is very interesting and needed.

JYUkulele
01-01-2011, 11:21 PM
To make it simpler, the higher you go the harder you push?

Berrie
01-13-2011, 05:20 AM
The warm ups I found easiest to stretch to a higher range were "Pah"s and "Ha"s... rather than "Me"s
Try doing quick short breath Ha's, up and down the scale.
With Pah's - concentrate on a chimney in the distance outside your window and stretch the note to the chimney and back - Paaaaaaa-AAAA-aaaaa.... (you want your voice to reach the chimney smoothly and rainbow like - if that makes any sense ><)

I was always told to try and picture the high note between your eyebrows, to save you from damaging your throat. If you find you're singing in your throat and not hitting the notes, practice lightly - feel where the note is, and gradually build up to singing it louder. You must take care not to work too hard on the throat and damage your vocal chords.

Sorry...I'm not brilliant at explaining! But there are hopefully a few techniques for you to try :)

As most posts have said, it's practice practice practice! As you push for harder notes you are using muscles that you are not use to using, so you need to train them up. If you don't really like the idea of lessons there are "singing warm up CDs" available, some have backing singers to guide you... (I use these as well as piano)

Johabi
02-15-2011, 07:23 PM
Technique is really important when it comes to singing in general, but it definitely helps range too. There is a lot of technique to be learned from voice lessons, but some simple things that can help expand your range are good posture and breath support. I've noticed that whenever I'm slouching I have a note or two knocked off my range. I also like to sing songs that push my range. Singing scales are a great way to help as well, but I find that if I do them in front of a piano, I'll know where my range usually ends, and I'll psych myself out and won't be able to sing any higher. As for expanding your range down (I'm a natural bass), I like to do what I call The Mr. Kool Aid warm up, which is where I do his signature "Oh yeah!" lower and lower. Silly? Yes, but it works for me (and might work for other people too). Most importantly, you should sing as much as possible. I do it whenever I'm alone so that I can mess up when I'm reaching for a note and not worry about what others think. Oh, and another thing for guys: You have a falsetto. It can be a fun and useful tool that can add about an octave to your range if you learn to (and are willing to) use it. I hope that helps!

uke4ia
03-20-2011, 05:31 PM
Back in the '80s, I saw an ad that a local musician I had a couple albums by was giving voice lessons. So I went. It was a one-time lesson that he put on cassette, with a bunch of exercises to warm up before singing. I've now digitized it into iTunes and still use it regularly.

The exercises focus on 1) visualizing that your sound is coming from a spot in the back of your skull and not from your throat, and 2) breathing so that you put the effort of singing on your diaphragm rather than your throat. The idea is to keep from straining your vocal chords when you sing. Make your diaphragm do the work, and think about your skull rather than your throat so you aren't subconsciously tightening the throat muscles (this is what singers refer to as their "head voice"). The exercises then help to loosen your throat up further. By doing this, I find I get a better tone and add several notes to my range.


There are probably lessons on YouTube that will let you accomplish this. If not, take a vocal lesson or two, and see if the instructor can give you exercises that you can repeat on your own.

buddhuu
09-13-2011, 05:57 AM
Cut yourself some slack and transpose your uke chords to another key that's easier for you to sing in. I've done that for the past twenty-some-odd years with guitar (also done with a capo to spare having to learn a new progression). Having trouble covering the range demanded by a song is all the reason you need to transpose into another key. The other advantage to doing that is you might find yourself with the opportunity to learn new chords.

I always transpose to a key I can manage, but some songs still challenge my narrow range. Let me think of some:

Carrickfergus - Dubliners
Sing All Our Cares Away - Damien Depsey
Many Rivers to Cross - Jimmy Cliff
Big River - Jimmy Nail

I generally find the lowest note in the song and pitch that comfortably. If I can't hit the highs then I just cheat by replacing the very highest note with a lower note from the same chord that plays under that bit. That tune variation trick usually works ok, but in some songs it's the notes that really stretch your range that give the dramatic or emotional effect, so I'd like to expand my range a bit.

puhahajk
09-20-2011, 08:05 PM
To make it simpler, the higher you go the harder you push?

NO, that's exactly the wrong way to do it.. the higher you go the more head voice you mix... I can elaborate on that but the harder you push the more strain you put on your chords and the more strained your chords are, the better the chance that they get messed up..

Why has nobody suggested lip rolls??? lip rolls are the EASIEST way to increase your range and one of the few exercises that you can really see/get results from in a reasonably short amount of time.

If anyone wants to learn to sing properly online, check out Brett Manning and his associates at SingingSuccess on youtube. I'm not trying to advertise his company or his products or anything, but he's given me some great tips over the years.

Quick Tip: If you want to increase your range so you can hit higher notes, try to sing as if you were speaking, as in keep your speaking tone, and as you go higher and higher, focus on ringing the sound from the back of your throat and letting some of that sound come out through your nose.
the "science" behind this: when a person speaks, his/her voice "resonates" through the nasal cavities and the throat. so when you talk, you should be able to feel vibrations on the bridge of your nose and on your adam's apple at the same time. Also, you should be able to feel vibrations on your head as well as on your chest. This mixture of resonance in your head and resonance in your chest is also known as "mixed voice" and that's the most commercially popular uhh 'technique' used. But it's not really a fancy technique because you use your "mixed voice" when you talk.

^Sorry if that didn't make sense. I tried my best to explain mixed voice in a nutshell but that whole thing might've been really confusing...