What is Voice Tuning?
When we tune a musical instrument, we perfect the relationship between the sound wave and its resonating pocket. We match the shape of the resonating body with the size of the sound vibration.
When you voice a pitch, the vocal cords vibrate air into a small sound. Then, the sound waves move to corresponding cavities within your vocal core that are the perfect size for each sound wave. As we learned earlier, lower sounds move lower in your vocal core and higher notes move higher along the inside voice pitch line, or the "Thread of the Voice."
There is a one to one relationship between the vibrations created in your larynx and the resonating spaces for these vibrations. When the size of the space expands to contain the sound waves, the sound waves ring, or reverberate, bounce around. This causes a 'ringing' quality and increases the volume of the tone.
Why tune the voice?
You can’t see your voice but you can feel its resonant center. Tuning establishes this very distinct sensation as your centering point. Instead of pain and voice tension, there is clear sensation of resonance and connection to the center of the tone.
Once each pitch finds its resonating pocket, the entire vocal body magically begins to work at a whole, coordinated level to produce a pleasing vocal tone. The voice range extends and the tone becomes stronger.
When your vocal instrument is tuned, the resonating cavities of your vocal body open, air pressure builds and your voice volume increases. Your vocal tone remains pleasant and strong and you can move up or down in pitch, from soft to loud with control and confidence.
Harmony - Harmonic Motion
When a single tone is tuned, the entire vocal body begins to re-aligns around that resonant center point. One sustained pitch also causes smaller sounds waves reverberate simultaneously.
When you produce one toned pitch, the air is moved at precisely related nodes above the initial tone. These other sound waves are called, “Harmonics” or the “Harmonic Series,” and give our voices a full and rich sound.
You’re going to begin your tuning in your middle range where you can easily sustain one pitch and shape it until it ‘rings true.
Unison = the same
The first, and most important fundamental harmonic relationship is the 1 to 1, or 1:1 relationship.
When two sound sources vibrate at the same frequency, on the same pitch, they sound the same. As One. Uni-son.
110, 220 440 hz*
Sound vibrations are consistent all over our globe. When air is vibrated 110 times per second, it always produces the same pitch. This is true for all sound waves. In music, we have named these vibrations alphabetically, beginning with the letter A.
*The hertz (Hz) is unit of frequency of one vibratory cycle per second.
The designation for 110 hz is “A”. When the sound wave is doubled, or sped up to 220 vibrations per second, (hz) it produces the same “A” sound at a higher pitch. And, when the 220 vibrations are sped up to twice as many vibrations per second, it produces yet another “A”, only higher.
Exercise #1 - Find your tuning pitch
As always, begin your tuning only after your Vocal Core is relaxed in the "Home" position.
Begin to intone the pitch ONLY AFTER you are certain that you are "Comfortably Full" with breath.
- Say your name and address in your every day speaking range.
- Remove the consonants and hum the same information without the words. You will find an easy middle area where there is no constriction.
- Slide your voice up and down in pitch on the inside voice line.
4. Choose one of the pitches below and slide up and down along the pitch line until you match the smae pitch.
Men with lower voices will likely want to begin on A = 110 hz, while men with naturally higher voices and most women will be comfortable with A = 220 hz. Women with higher speaking voices may find the higher A = 440 hz more comfortable.
Exercise #2 - Unison
Begin to intone the pitch ONLY AFTER you are certain that you are in "Home" position and "Comfortably Full" with breath.
- Play the recorded pitch and match that pitch with your voice. If you have a problem finding the right pitch, simply move the sound up or down the thread of the voice until you can "Match" your chosen pitch of either 110, 220 or 440 hz.
- Continue the pitch for as long as you feel comfortable. Feel the resonance.
- Notice if you are pushing against the sound, and gently bring the sound to your inside voice, where the tension easily falls away. Then, simply observe the path of the resonance in your vocal core and how you are making this tone without tension.
- This exercise may seem too simple to be important. However, over time you will notice how one sustained and in-tune pitch opens the entire vocal range. This is the Zen of voice.
This simple technique is the most powerful of all your vocal skills. You can produce a small healthy tone AND detect subtle movements that restrict your voice. No matter how loud and powerful your voice becomes, you will adjust and shift from this subtle level.
110 hz – Low “A”
220 hz – Medium “A”
440 hz – Mid-high “A”
Low – 110 hz, Medium-220 hz, Mid-high – 440 hz “A”
Running Out of Air?
"Sip on a straw"
How do you hold a note without running out of breath? How do you modulate your breath use so that you don’t blow all your precious air out as soon as you begin to sing? Does the sound become uneven and “airy”?
To help control the rate at which you use up your breath, while holding the tone, simply pretend that you are also sipping through a straw.
You don’t actually SIP inwards, but by thinking of sipping, you naturally change how you mediate the flow of your air. Traditional technique to control the breath.
Refer to the 1, 2, 3, 4.. breathing exercise in Lesson Two