Page 13 - Voice for Life Yellow Workbook
P. 13

 Accessing the falsetto voice
Experiment with high notes to find your falsetto voice (ask your choir trainer or teacher to help you with this). Having located the sound, sing the following exercise with your falsetto voice. Choose a comfortable starting note.
The word falsetto comes from the Italian word falso, meaning ‘false’. This implies that the falsetto sound is unnatural; however, it is an essential part of every voice. In both men and women, it is rather like the sound made by the young voice before puberty (the larynx changes slightly at puberty, altering the sound of the voice).
In men, falsetto is easy to hear because it is different from the usual or ‘full’ voice. Women and children also have a falsetto voice, but it tends to be slightly breathy and difficult to project. It is not particularly useful for women or children to exercise their falsetto range, but it is very useful for men, as it can improve the tone in their full voice, particularly the higher register. For tenors, using falsetto is important while their voices are developing. The following exercises are for men only.
wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah
Repeat this exercise using the five pure vowels listed in the Diction section (page 14).
     
               Producing the correct falsetto sound
When singing falsetto, the sound should be gentle and not harsh. If the sound is strangled, it is because the larynx is being pulled up by the wrong muscles in the jaw. The movement of the hyoid bone and larynx should not be restricted (see pages 9 and 10). If your sound is gentle and rounder, you will notice a slight upwards movement of the hyoid bone and larynx, but there will be no tension.
The sound may be weak and rather breathy at first, but with practice it will become stronger and more efficient. (Listening to a recording of your falsetto voice can be helpful until you are accustomed to the sound and how it feels.) It is important to get the correct, released sound, as this will help to provide space above the larynx and in the throat. Don’t allow the muscles to restrict or squash the larynx in any way.
  Avoiding a strangled sound
If your falsetto produces a strangled sound, try the following. Repeat the exercise shown above. This time, precede each vowel with a ‘b’ (e.g. bah, bah). Next, repeat the exercise using a rolled ‘r’ (e.g. rah, rah). You could also combine these to create a ‘brrr’ sound to precede each vowel.
Also, practise the ‘Releasing the larynx’ exercises on pages 10. This will help you make a free sound without allowing tension in your voice.
Always listen to yourself critically to ensure that you are making the correct sound. What you hear when you sing or speak is different from what another person hears (you will have noticed this when hearing a recording of yourself speaking). By recording yourself singing, you can hear things that are good, and things that need improvement. If you do this regularly, you will hear how your voice improves over time.
  Module A: Using the voice well 13

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