Introduction to singing: Singing is like talking // N°2

in #gemslast year (edited)

In the previous article (I want to learn to sing), in an ironic and mocking way, I hinted at the complexity of singing. And that in the end the passion of singing will not be crushed by the difficulty of singing. Now, in an unusual way, my study in singing will become a small column, which at the moment has no name, but is a column dedicated to singing. Therefore this article, very briefly, will begin to remove those rough edges of the theory to see that behind everything it is not entirely complicated. I am Samuel Pavan, singer of the Antonio José de Sucre choir of the Universidad de Oriente, better known by the name of UDO, by its Spanish initials. I hope you enjoy these articles.


Although it may not seem like it, speaking is a way of singing on a smaller scale. Why? Well, when we speak, we emit, more than others, melodious, harmonic sounds, in one key, which have a particular color, etc. At a minimal register, it runs similarly to singing. We will try to exemplify it, to understand ourselves better. When you have a conversation with several acquaintances in your social groups, have you noticed that one has a louder voice, another more serious, others in a more natural way? Think for a moment, try to recall a conversation where more than three people participated. Have you noticed that their voices sound different? It is that each person makes use of different resonators, of particular tones, intonations, coloratura, etc. Now, that doesn't mean that when they sing, that voice is going to sound that way. Very attentive to that particularity. The way they speak is not going to determine the way they sing, or at least not in all cases.

Vocal instrument

If imagination and memory are not enough to understand it, it is better to see it in a more theoretical way. The vocal instrument is the voice. And to understand it, one must first understand that it consists of three parts (something that he had already said in the previous article): the respiratory system, the voice system and the resonator system. Why is it important to know? Well, simply, because by not understanding how the mechanism for speaking and singing works we can easily spoil it. There are many ways to spoil your voice, and if you want to be a singer you don't want to do that, do you? Also remember that the voice is an instrument that cannot be repaired or changed.

Then, the respiratory system is made up of: nose, trachea, lungs and diaphragm. And in a terribly basic explanation, air enters the nose through the trachea, reaching the lungs, expanding the rib cage where they are, and the diaphragm dilates to give more space to the lungs. The strength of the voice comes from the diaphragm, this is key to understand. The power of the voice does not come out of the throat or chest. It's from the diaphragm.

Then there is the voice apparatus that is made up of: the larynx and the vocal cords. And it is in this place where sounds are produced. Beware of this, most not all. Because the phonetic study has shown that not all the sounds that we produce when speaking are produced with the vocal cords, and in the same way it will happen in singing.

And last but not least the resonators that are hollow spaces within the body, although there are scholars and singing scholars that the whole body works as a resonator. But within the song, allusion is always made to the resonators that are located in the chest and in the head, which are: the bony palate, the paranasal sinuses, the cavum and the pharynx.

The voice mechanism

The voice mechanism in a very simple way is about air inspiration that fills the lungs and lowers the diaphragm. In the aspiration the vocal cords vibrate to create the sound that is going to be directed to the resonators, which are going to work as amplifiers and better their quality, in most cases, before being ejected. Isn't it so complicated?

Now, if at this point you are thinking that your voice is a little hoarse or does not have a pleasant tone or color or for you your voice does not sound good, do not worry. Remember that the way you speak is not going to determine how you sing. At the moment it must be understood that they are similar processes. And that this process can be improved to achieve better sound and quality.


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