What is belting in singing? Don’t you just love when singers hit those grand notes and you feel that they have sung their hearts out? Whether you are listening to “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion or “Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin. The powerful vocals never fail to impress you. To sing such notes you need to know the proper way. In this blog, we will learn about the vocal technique used for singing high-intensity vocal sounds. The vocal technique is known as belting.
What is Belting in Singing?
Belting refers to the vocal technique which helps in creating powerful and dramatic vocal sounds. In this method, we are using the strength of our chest voice to sing the notes in one’s head voice register. It is the combination of the head voice and the chest voice.
The belting technique has been adapted to various genres of music. From pop to R&B, gospel, and of course musical theatre. We can also simply define belting as a healthy version of yelling or yelling on the pitch.
Is Belting Safe?
Belting helps in producing very intense and loud vocals. This might keep one wondering whether belting for a long period of time can be damaging to one’s vocal cords. Well, the answer is simple. When you are belting with proper technique, breath support, and other correct methods, it helps in preventing the usage of the full chest voice. Instead, it helps in creating a balance between muscles to create sound. Thus, it will not cause any harm to your vocal cords and vocal nodules. On the other hand, if you are not applying the right technique or taking the correct measures when belting, you are putting your vocal cords and nodules at risk of being damaged.
Difference between Chest voice and Belting
We often have seen many people using the term chest voice and belting interchangeably but singing the two terms as synonyms is wrong. There may be related but the two are not the same. Chest voice helps in producing the note from the lower part of the vocal range. Whereas when belting one might use a certain amount of chest voice not the entirety of it.
What is Mix Belt?
Mix belt refers to the combining or mixing of different registers. Bringing the qualities of both head voice and chest voice together and using them simultaneously is known as mix belting. When singing through the head voice and the chest voice we use 2 different groups of muscles respectively. In the case of mixed belting, we use both muscle groups and we sing through the middle part of our voice.
Difference between Head Voice, Chest Voice and Belting
The following audio clips will help in understanding and differentiating between the head voice, chest voice, and belting.
The Audio file 1 is where the singer is singing with their head voice. The part of the song sung is “I’m Not the Only One” by Sam Smith. You will notice that the sound vocal produced is lighter and softer.
The second audio (Audio file 2) is where the singer is singing with their chest voice. The part song sung is “Need You Now” by Lady A. You will notice that the vocal sound produced is much heavier and strong.
The third and final audio (Audi File 3) is where the singer is singing through the technique of belting. The part song sung is “Mercy on Me” by Christina Aguilera. You will notice that the vocal sound produced has the power of the chest voice but the vocal range of the head voice
Learn How to Belt Correctly
There are various ways in which we can learn the art of belting. We will introduce you to a few techniques and ways to belt. Before diving into belting dynamic notes, you must know and understand your own voice.
Method 1: Talk Before You Belt
Always keep in mind that one must have a healthy speaking voice for belting. To have a healthy speaking voice you must do the following:
- Speak to yourself: Try talking to yourself and subsequently recording yourself speaking.
- Listen and try to understand: Listen to the recordings and try identifying the tone and pitch. Which you normally use when you speak.
- Try to chant: By chanting you will be able to find your optimum speaking pitch. The optimum speaking pitch sounds and resonates the best in your voice.
- Bring the same resonance: Try bringing the same resonance and tone of your optimum speaking pitch to other pitches.
- Further, to prepare yourself for belting you must also keep working on your high-energy speaking and resonance.
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Method 2: Recitative Speaking
This following method also involves speaking. In operas, the singers often use the vocal technique of “Speak-singing”. Recitative speaking comes under this technique. Try to speak sentences out loud in a recitative manner. Do not change your volume when speaking in recitative. Remember not to put pressure on any part of your air passage. If you will some tension, stop immediately. This exercise helps in building breathing control, breathing support, and consistent air pressure. All of these are extremely essential for belting.
Method 3: Be Bratty
We have constantly talked about resonance when talking about belting. Forward resonance is very important when belting. To understand and improve the forward resonance you must do the following exercise.
- Use your nasal sound: Try to say the phrase “Nya” or “Nae” repetitively in a very taunting, teasing, and bratty manner. When you say the bratty “Nya” or “Nae” you should feel a buzzing sensation.
- Choose a comfortable note: At first, choose a comfortable note when singing the phrase “Nya” or “Nae”.
- Play through the pitch: Now try singing the bratty “Nya” or “Nae” on different pitches. Gradually go up and down the pitch or try singing the phrase “Nya” or “Nae” on an octave repeat scale.
Apart from the methods listed you can also keep working on your projection of head voice and chest voice. The development of the two will definitely help in the process of belting. As we have already known that belting requires the qualities of both head and chest voice. When belting higher notes singers usually use the support of their head voice to hit the higher registers. It is an important aspect as while belting the sound neither comes from your head nor the chest voice but it comes from the middle part of your voice.
Belting is widely used in the world of music especially modern contemporary music. Christina Aguilera, Carrie Underwood, Monica Naranjo, Aretha Franklin, and Barbra Streisand are one of the few examples of exceptional belters that the world of music has seen.
In the beginning, you might not understand whether you are belting correctly or not. You might not also like the way your voice sounds when you first try to belt. Though with proper practice and by using the techniques mentioned above you can learn how to belt. Belting is sure one of those vocal techniques that bring vibrancy, flare, and a certain amount of boldness to one’s singing. Lastly, keep in mind belting is a very powerful technique so do not rush into applying the technique without proper rehearsal and guidance. Keep learning and happy singing.