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View Full Version : Fatigue? Belting D5... :(



Little Plink
11-03-2012, 06:51 PM
Hey UU :)

So occasionally, my band (sadly, no `ukulele) likes to play cover songs to keep us on our toes, and this song was selected:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0_35Db4yGo

The Format is one of my favorite bands, so I was delighted when I found out I got to sing this again.

But once I got started, I found I was having to tighten up my throat to hit notes that had been fine before. For instance, the tenor C to D5 slur at 0:35 and all the A4's before were all good, but by the chorus, it would've been hard to get a G in the fourth octave out. The chorus is low, topping out at E4, so it gave me time to recover for the second verse, and again after that for the slew of tenor C's beginning at 2:31, but soon those became difficult as well, and I remember being relieved when the final chorus arrived.

I consider myself a low tenor or high baritone because I can belt so high, but I have a lower range (down to F2 on a really good day, but normally G#2) which makes me worry that I'm straining myself too much. I'm only 16, but my voice is pretty through with changing as far as pitch I think.

I Googled 'vocal fatigue,' but to no avail. I found many article and blog posts pertaining to vocal fatigue in the hours or days after a performance, but never during. Do you guys experience this as well? Any cures or advice on avoidance of this phenomenon? Other thoughts? Thanks :)

-LP

sillymonky
11-04-2012, 03:12 PM
I am by no means an expert on singing, but I do like to sing and think about what's going on. Another possible issue - have you changed physical condition at all? Sometimes if I'm not getting air like I used to, like if I've gotten a bit more out of shape than usual, I'll find some parts of my range harder to reach. And it could be a voice change, even if it's not a dramatic one. Instead of really changing your voice outright, it might be giving you holes in your range that weren't there before. Sometimes changing the way I focus on how to approach a note can change how successful I am with it - am I coming down on top of it, or sliding up or over to it - the result may sound the same, but the change in the way my brain works can give me access to a different amount of air or a different level of vocal relaxation that will let me hit notes that were harder. And of course, there's also the idea that some songs are easier to do at the beginning of a set and some are better middle and end when you're warmer and then more tired - have you changed the order of songs? Anyways - food for thought. Good luck with it - let us know if you manage to figure it out.

Little Plink
11-04-2012, 04:37 PM
I am by no means an expert on singing, but I do like to sing and think about what's going on. Another possible issue - have you changed physical condition at all? Sometimes if I'm not getting air like I used to, like if I've gotten a bit more out of shape than usual, I'll find some parts of my range harder to reach. And it could be a voice change, even if it's not a dramatic one. Instead of really changing your voice outright, it might be giving you holes in your range that weren't there before. Sometimes changing the way I focus on how to approach a note can change how successful I am with it - am I coming down on top of it, or sliding up or over to it - the result may sound the same, but the change in the way my brain works can give me access to a different amount of air or a different level of vocal relaxation that will let me hit notes that were harder. And of course, there's also the idea that some songs are easier to do at the beginning of a set and some are better middle and end when you're warmer and then more tired - have you changed the order of songs? Anyways - food for thought. Good luck with it - let us know if you manage to figure it out.

I've always been somewhat portly, but have gained some weight recently. Motivation to shave it off maybe ;) I've always noticed that the farther through the set I am, the easier it is to reach high notes and the better they sound, but I lose a lot of low end in times like that. Like sometimes by the very end the lowest I can reach is D3. I sang this towards the end of rehearsal though, normally that's when I'm in my prime. Thanks for the advice :) Anyone else who wants to chime in would be appreciated as well.

sillymonky
11-05-2012, 04:57 PM
I've always noticed that the farther through the set I am, the easier it is to reach high notes and the better they sound, but I lose a lot of low end in times like that.

Story of my life. So I totally organize my set accordingly, but it also means I stretch my range at least a hair top and bottom, which is cool. Though you do have to be careful not to over warm up if you need that low end in your first song or two.

Plainsong
11-05-2012, 05:36 PM
Gaining weight can actually help the voice, it's about the support in the trunk, that's why.. So that's probably not it. Tightening up the throat area would be why you can't hit the notes. I can't hear the song because the vid is disabled on iPads, but in general... What you could do are some vocal warm ups that get you up to the note in question. When everything feels relaxed and comfortable, keep your body in that form that lets you hit that note, and go down to the note leading to it. It's the opposite of what you're doing now. The idea is so that you're voice is in the right position to hit that note before you get there. If you go down and your body remembers it, you should be able to go back up.

Remember it's the trunk doing the work of pushing out that air to get the high note. Not unlike a sneeze. You just have to remember to keep the inside smile in your throat, be relaxed, aim the air at that place outside your body where it feels the most open and natural... And let er rip. If you find yourself still tightening, move your head from side to side very slowly.

Your voice placement may have changed.. That place outside your body where the voice sounds its most open, it's just a feeling and different for everyone, but it does change. If that's happening, just go slow until you find your new placement.

If the voice is cracking and uncontrolled like you're going through puberty again, it can be helped with a new voice placement but it's mainly fatigue. Your voice doesn't like those notes, and you'll have better luck by just not talking much on the day you have to sing.

Some have complained that I'm a snob when I talk about voice stuff, so please know that I don't mean this in that way at all. I just picked up a lot of technical voice stuff from the greatest teacher ever, back in the day.

sillymonky
11-06-2012, 02:18 AM
Though I'll say weight and being out of shape aren't the same thing. I'm very much not thin, but I'm often in reasonable shape. When I haven't been exercising as much, I'll lose lung volume capacity. Can't push it out if you can't bring it in.

cheesegasuki
11-11-2012, 10:37 AM
Have you ever had any vocal training or voice lessons, either in a chorus class/glee club/musical theater rehearsal?

My voice has gotten a lot better after regular karaoke sessions and singing along to my ukulele. Muscles make your voice. Treat your singing like exercise. Always warm up before singing (scales, simple songs that can be sung softly/loudly/in any key). Fill your lungs from the bottom up and support your voice from your diaphragm. Strengthening your abs can help with that. Rest your voice after a long performance/practice session. You'll find your range will expand upwards and downwards if you take care of your voice.

bigsciota
11-16-2012, 05:26 AM
But once I got started, I found I was having to tighten up my throat to hit notes that had been fine before.




I consider myself a low tenor or high baritone because I can belt so high, but I have a lower range (down to F2 on a really good day, but normally G#2) which makes me worry that I'm straining myself too much. I'm only 16, but my voice is pretty through with changing as far as pitch I think.


These two stood out to me. First of all, there shouldn't be a "tightening" in your throat when you try to hit higher notes. That's what's leading to your fatigue. While the vibration does start in your vocal chords, the sound production is in your head and your chest, and that's what you should be focusing on when you're trying to get those notes. Try creating more space in your mouth by raising your soft palate (the top of your mouth in back that isn't bone). Think about the way the back of your mouth/top of your throat reacts when yawning, and try to feel that.

The second thing is that your voice never really stops changing. You're right in the middle of it, and even though your speaking voice may be more settled, your singing voice is going to be shifting until your mid 20s (most male opera singers, for example, only start really getting great roles in their late 20s/early 30s). So don't be surprised if you can hit something today you couldn't hit six months ago, or vice versa.

Also, I second the whole warming up/practicing/maybe taking lessons thing. Singing is about training muscles to do what you want them to do, so it's very similar to a sport. Treat it that way, and think about how you can exercise regularly to stay in shape.

Finally, if it feels bad, stop doing it. Good singers know when a song or role is not comfortable for them, and they will turn it down rather than risk vocal injury. See, for example, this article about Renee Fleming, one of the most famous opera singers in the world:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/01/arts/music/01norm.html

She would have gotten six figures to do it, but she knew it was out of her reach, and no one blamed her. I've had problems with agreeing to do things that don't fit my voice, and I can tell you it's no fun. So make sure whatever you sing is comfortable, and there's no shame in saying no if it isn't.

Plainsong
11-16-2012, 05:39 AM
Didn't I already say all that? Inside smile, sing from the trunk, tightening is wrong, voice placement changes... I'm not trying to be rude, but sometimes on forums you get that feeling that you say something and no one read it.

JamieFromOntario
11-16-2012, 06:07 AM
Strengthening your abs can help with that.

Perhaps...

But, you must, must, must do lots of stretching if you're going to do ab exercising. There needs to be space in your lower trunk for diaphragm to move to. If you build giant abs, you lose space and thereby lung capacity.

I remember going to a vocal workshop where the teacher expressly advised against toning one's abs.


Otherwise, all of the other posters have given great advice. Beware of tightening up. The last thing you want is nodes, and tightening one's throat is the first step on that path.

Plainsong
11-18-2012, 12:22 PM
Yeah, my teacher advised against the same thing. I wish she wrote that book that she always planned to. :(


Perhaps...

But, you must, must, must do lots of stretching if you're going to do ab exercising. There needs to be space in your lower trunk for diaphragm to move to. If you build giant abs, you lose space and thereby lung capacity.

I remember going to a vocal workshop where the teacher expressly advised against toning one's abs.


Otherwise, all of the other posters have given great advice. Beware of tightening up. The last thing you want is nodes, and tightening one's throat is the first step on that path.

cheesegasuki
11-24-2012, 10:02 AM
Strengthening the midsection (as opposed to shaping your abs into a ripped six pack) also helps you maintain good posture and keeps you flexible. Most people will benefit from light ab exercises.