If You Don't Blend Your Voice, It Will Sound Squeally/Shouty or Break When You're Singing. How Do You Blend Your Voice?

Intro

You’re singing a song with notes that jump around from high to low. When you’re singing those notes, the tone of your voice changes dramatically. Your voice may also break or become airy/breathy when singing the high notes.

Sound familiar?

A very common concern of singers is blending the registers. When singing, we want to have a balanced/blended tone throughout our range. It probably doesn’t sound pleasant if your tone is too heavy for the low notes and too thin for the high notes.

 

Registers

Before we get to blending your voice, it is important to understand vocal registers.

Vocal range is how high and how low you can sing.

Vocal registers are basically the different parts of your vocal range.

The different vocal registers are:

  • Lower/chest register
  • Middle register
  • Upper/head register

 

Lower/Chest Register
This is the lowest part of your range. This is where you normally speak from. That is why the tone color/quality of this register is also referred to as speech quality. When people say “chest voice”, they mean this register.

The tone color of this register is usually heavy and resonant/warm.

If you’re a low voice, this is your comfort zone.

For higher voices, you can sound breathy here if you don’t close your vocal folds tightly when singing notes in this zone/register.

Middle Register
This is the middle part of your range. For many beginners, this register is still comfortable to sing in. This is where throat constriction usually starts to happen if your technique is not correct. So, you’ll need to start widening your vocal tract and lowering/stabilizing your larynx from this register onwards (I talk about this in my free ebook. Download it for free here).

The tone colour of your voice will normally still be resonant. However, if you don’t close your folds tightly, you’ll get breathier as you sing higher. Your tone will also become bright/pinched if you’re constricting your vocal tract.

Upper/Head Register
This is what most people refer to as “head voice”. The notes in this register are high notes for you. They approach the upper end of your range. This is where vocal strain and throat tension occur the most.

Tone color wise - a few things usually happen.

If you’re a low voice and you’re a beginner, you’ll probably do one of the following. You’ll either sing those notes:

  • By yelling them
  • In a breathy tone
  • Not sing those notes at all

If you tend to yell the notes in your upper register, it means you’re not letting your vocal mechanism ‘change gears’ into the head voice setup. Your voice will get damaged eventually.

If you sing those notes in a breathy tone, that means you’re not closing your vocal folds tightly enough.

If you avoid singing those notes, then you won’t get better at singing them.

I’ll talk about how to overcome these issues in the next section.

For high voices, these notes usually come easily to you. You either sound breathy or bright/shrill/twangy or both.

If you ever feel the notes ‘get stuck’ or you get a choking sensation, you’re constricting your vocal tract. Look at this free ebook to find out how to overcome that.

Other Registers
There are also other registers that extend beyond these three registers. They include the flute register, fry register, belting register - to name a few.

For the sake of simplicity, we won’t be going into these registers. Beginner singers don’t usually sing in these registers because you need a solid foundation to sing in those registers well.

 

Blending

Blending your voice is essential if you want a pleasant sounding voice. A well blended voice has a balanced tone throughout the vocal range. The high notes sound similar to the lower notes. No notes stick out in particular (unless it is the singer’s intention to do so).

You know how when you blend milk, vegetables and fruits with a blender and you get a glass of smoothie with a nice texture?

A well blended voice is ‘smooth’ like that.

Before we get to the solutions for blending your voice, I want you to know about passaggio.

Passaggio is your register break points or gear change points. They are the borders that separate the different registers.

There are two main passaggio that we need to navigate when we sing.

The 1st passaggio is where the lower register meets the middle register.

The 2nd passaggio is where the middle register meets the upper register.

It is at these points where the voice tends to get unstable or break.

 

Common Issues of Blending

Yelling High Notes

Causes
This is a very common issue with lower voices. Having thicker vocal folds mass means that yelling high notes feels natural to you. If you’re a high voice, you’ll tend to avoid doing this because you’ll feel pain in your vocal folds very quickly.

If yelling the high notes is the only way you know how to access your head voice/upper register, that means you don’t know how to set up your vocal mechanism correctly for head voice.

You’re also pushing with your breath too hard (because your vocal folds are closed too tightly).

Solutions
Tilt your larynx when accessing your upper register. Doing this will help your vocal folds get thinner - an essential component of head voice quality. Widening vocal tract and stabilizing larynx is also important. Download my free ebook to find out how to do this.

Regulate your breath pressure so that you’re using just the right amount of breath support.

Breathy High Notes


Causes
This can happen for both low and high voices, although it is more common for high voices. This happens because your vocal folds are not closed (adducted) tightly enough. As a result, air escapes and making you sound airy/breathy. Think whispering but at higher pitches.

Solutions
Training your vocal folds to close tightly using onset exercises.

Voice Breaking

Causes
This can happen for many different reasons. You’re either constricting your vocal tract, tensing your tongue/jaw and/or pushing with your breath too hard. The vocal folds aren’t able to vibrate or change length/size smoothly. The movements of laryngeal cartilages are likely to be affected.

Solutions
Widening your vocal tract. Lowering and stabilizing your larynx. Do tongue and jaw exercises/massage to make tongue/jaw more agile.

Regulate your breath pressure so that you’re using just the right amount of breath support.

Read “Closet Singer to Confident Singer” ebook to find out how to do this.

Squeally/Pinched/Overly Bright High Notes

Causes
This can happen for both low and high voices.

You’re either constricting your vocal tract, tensing your tongue/jaw and/or pushing with your breath too hard.

If your tone is overly bright/twangy, it means you’re also lifting your tongue too high when you sing.

Solutions
Widening your vocal tract. Lowering and stabilizing your larynx. Do tongue and jaw exercises/massage to make tongue/jaw more agile.

Keep tongue in a lower position if your tone is overly twangy.

Regulate your breath pressure so that you’re using just the right amount of breath support.

Unstable Voice/Vocal Tone Too Heavy When Coming Down in Pitch

Causes
Going from upper register setup (thin folds, tilted larynx) to lower register setup (thick folds, neutral larynx) too quickly. Breath use is uncoordinated with vocal folds closure.

Solutions
Use imageries to help you get a lighter tone. ‘Think up’ when coming down in pitch.

When un-tilting larynx, do so in a smooth way.

Do vocal exercises with a wide pitch range (of an octave or more).

Regulate your breath pressure so that you’re using just the right amount of breath support.

 

Conclusion

Once you learn to blend your voice well, you will enjoy a newfound vocal freedom. You will navigate the melody of the songs you sing with ease and agility. It is worth all the hard work you put into it.

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