Introduction to pitch
In order to under the highs & the lows in singing it is crucial to understand the concept of pitch. By definition pitch is how high or how low a sound is. For example the sound created from a violin will always be higher than a double bass, even though both the instruments are stringed instruments and have similar body shape. Although their sizes differ greatly.
Thus we can say that the pitches of the mentioned instruments will always end up creating very distinctive sounds. Varying to the extent where we can easily distinguish the two even if we hear a single note.
The human voice
The human voice is also somewhat similar to the example given above. We are all born with naturally unique pitches – as in voices, sometimes resembling our forefathers and similar to our family. So genetics are definitely involved in he type of voice you have since birth.
Mainly the human voices are categorized into the female voice (which is high-pitched) and the male voice (which is low-pitched). This is the first stage of distinctive voice categorization. We further go into defining types of voices into 4 major categories as listed below:
Soprano is defined as female high-pitched voice. Alto or sometimes also referred to as Contralto as – female low-pitched voice. Tenor as male high-pitched voice. Bass male low-pitched voice.
The reason behind this categorization is simple. The more you know your voice quality, texture and type, the better you will be able to customize and train your voice to sing at its maximum capacity. Having said that, it is important to note practicing basic vocal exercises do not suffice at all times.
Sometimes identifying the voice type and applying specific practice, training & techniques pertaining to that specific voice type will assist much more in your voice culture and singing capabilities. In other words what suits your voice type to the highest extent so you will be able to sing at your highest potential.
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Physical characteristics that each individual gets from their parents influence the human vocal range. The airflow, breath support, vibrato, vocal tone, and intonation of your singing voice can all be improved with vocal exercises, but your vocal range cannot be altered. By using a few singing tricks, bass singers cannot become tenors and sopranos cannot become altos.
However, even though your voice type cannot be altered, you may expand your vocal range by learning more high notes and low notes to add to your repertoire.
For example, by utilizing the falsetto, also known as head voice, singing method is the simplest approach to add high notes. It’s more difficult to widen your vocal range when using your “real” voice, sometimes referred to as your chest voice. However, it is possible to extend your voice range by very little with consistent practice, vocal exercises and singing lessons from a qualified voice instructor.
How to approach lower notes
It is crucial to understand the way things work anatomically in our body to access these tips.
The larynx which is also known as the voice box has vocal folds within it. When these vocal folds are loose we are able to hit lower notes easily.
1. Vocal Cords
Understanding how your vocal cords make lower register sounds can help you start singing lower in your current vocal range. Vowel sounds (AA, AE, EE, OH & OO as in U) are what cause vocal projection. When vocal cords are both thick and relaxed, they will reverberate in the low range. Vocal cords that are thicker and looser will generate lower range sounds, just like the lowest note on a guitar is produced by the lowest, thickest & the most loose string (low E) or the strings of double bass which are very thick and thus produce the most bass sound.
A good posture defines your singing. Straighten your spine and tilt your shoulder blades back. Keep looking forward and keeping your head up and chin parallel to the floor. The goal here is to prevent stooping, which might cause stress in the vocal cords.
3. Relax your articulators – the tongue & the jaw
The main causes of stress in your mouth are your tongue and jaw. The ability to sing high notes with a deliberate amount of tension is possible, but on the other hand tension makes it much more difficult to sing low notes. Maintain your calm and staying completely relaxed will help with this process.
4. Use of the jaw while singing
When the goal is the achieve and hit low notes it is best to loosen your jaw and keep your mouth open, this helps loosen your vocal cords. In turn it is easier to approach lower notes.
5. Avoid shoulder singing & notes from the chest
It is advisable to keep your shoulders out/ open while singing. Put all of your physical effort into your mouth. If at all possible, relax your jaw and provide as little resistance as possible for the air to exit your mouth.
6. Technical advice on microphone
When you are singing bass notes, to approach this sound the best thing you can do is to sing as close to the mic as possible.
5 Vocal Exercises for Singing Lower Notes
Even when your voice classes are over, you can continue your vocal training. Try humming for at least fifteen minutes each day to improve your voice and widen your lower range. Find out how low and resonant your voice can go as you hum to test your range.
2. Descending Scales
Try some pitched singing once you’ve finished sighing. A decent choice is to move down the solfege scale from sol to do as follows: sol-sol-sol-fa-mi-re-do. Try doing this in various keys and with various vowel sounds. Approach this exercise with an open mind. The usage of the jaw will enhance your articulation of the words/ solfege and in turn clarify your pronunciation. These exercises are especially useful for all age groups as it helps us identify these notes in our throat. The approach should be careful but easy as mentioned above try and apply as much of techniques explained here as possible.
3. Descending Arpeggios
A chord’s component pitches are spelt out in an arpeggio, which also passes over notes from a scale that don’t exist in the chord. Try singing arpeggios using “sol” as the starting note, “mi” as the next scale degree, and “do” as the final note, which is the root and the first scale degree. Maintain fluidity throughout these vocal arpeggios as you descend to the absolute lowest point in your vocal range. Make careful to try out various vowel sounds and pitches. Use especially your jaw or imagine a ‘hot potato’ inside your mouth- visualisations always help with singing as the voice – is an intangible instrument. So imagination will help guide you and your notes into perfect intonation and pitch whilst you maintain perfect rhythm.
4. Controlling Facial Muscles
For singing lower notes, the ideal face position is one with an open mouth, a relaxed jaw, and a relaxed tongue. You might also try slightly curling your mouth’s sides to appear to be smiling. Your low notes can come forward with more power and control by adjusting all of these face factors.
5. Breathing Techniques for Lower Notes
Start your warm-up with a series of exaggerated sighs without pitch. Then start adding notes and sighing downward, starting with your head voice’s highest pitch and, if you can, descending to a deep bass note. Push yourself to sing lower and lower notes as your voice warms up.
As a result, we are aware that there are several approaches to sing a lower voice note. Our notes and our ability to access them are impacted by our singing style and technique. Join sessions on musicmaster.in to learn more about this subject and vocal culture.