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Can you sing high notes even if your voice is deep?
Does singing high notes damage your voice?
Are there any exercises to help improve vocal range?
There is an exponential interest in singers that sing in a high register. Singing high notes can be challenging for singers, and especially more so for anyone with a deep singing voice. However, it is promising to know that there are singers of various skill levels that can reach high notes while singing. But how do people with deep voices develop this skill? And is it safe for singers with deep voices to sing high notes? We’ve compiled an in-depth guide to singing high notes specifically for deep-voiced singers. We’ll also provide some simple, easy exercises that anyone can utilize to expand their vocal range.
How Can I Sing High Notes With a Deep Voice?
There are many successful singers with naturally deep singing voices that can sing high notes consistently and with minimal strain. While it may be slightly harder for singers with deep voices to sing high notes, it is still achievable through proper training and technique.
There are a variety of factors that determine a singer’s ability to hit higher notes while singing. These factors include things like breath control, proper technique, and consistent training. Aspiring singers must remember that everybody takes a different length of time and effort when learning how to sing higher notes.
It’s equally important to remember that some singers can naturally hit higher notes than others. However, with the right guidance, training, and practice, singers with deep voices can sing high notes. Several successful male singers with naturally deep voices are also able to sing high notes, including the likes of Freddy Mercury, Prince, Barry White, Marcus King, Kevin Parker, and Leonard Cohen.
Vocal Range Explained
Vocal range is a musical term used to describe the span of notes that a singer can generate from their lowest possible note to their highest. This spectrum of notes includes any audible, less distinct sounds beyond a vocalist’s singing range like low grumbles and high squeaks.
The average male singer has an upper-range pitch that is about half as long as a female’s. However, certain male singers are capable of reaching ranges beyond that of the average female.
Professional singers generally have a broader singing range compared to untrained singers, as they have been taught how to properly access higher notes with the appropriate technique.
Trained singers also use a guided practice and exercise routine to expand their vocal range to reach higher and lower notes. Singers with naturally deep voices can learn specific techniques that can help them extend their vocal range specifically to reach higher notes.
Developing Breath Control
Breath control can largely determine a singer’s ability to access and expand their entire vocal range. As such, solid breath control can be an incredible aid in helping singers with deep voices hit high notes.
People often think that breath control involves expanding your lung capacity, but this is a common misconception. Instead, breath control focuses on improving the efficiency of your lungs. Higher notes require a higher degree of breath control, especially when trying to achieve accurate pitching or when there is a need to sustain notes without straining.
The first technique that singers learn for proper breath control is how to breathe from their gut. Lie on your back and place your hand on your stomach. As you inhale, try to push your hand up with your stomach, and imagine that you are filling your belly with air. As you exhale, gently push your stomach back down with your hand. This technique will allow you to fill your diaphragm up with more air and also provide you with a greater degree of control over your volume and pitch.
Breathing Exercises for Better Vocal Range
Lip Trill – Lip trills allow singers to reach the top of their singing range with minimal vocal strain. Relax your lips while keeping them closed and slowly force air through your mouth while humming. Your lips should generate a “brrr” type sound. Using this lip trill, generate your highest possible note and lower your pitch in a sliding fashion. Sing with an upward sliding pitch after this, and try to see how high you can sing without straining.
Yawn – The yawn is the perfect way to relax your larynx for singing higher notes. If the larynx constricts while you sing, it becomes exponentially harder to reach high notes. The technique is simple and fairly familiar to most. Recreate the sound of a yawn, and try to sigh while doing so. Try to hit your highest note at the start of the yawn and slide down in pitch as you sigh through till the end.
Vocal Siren – The vocal siren is a slightly more advanced practice technique but is incredibly effective at expanding your vocal range with proper execution. Using an “ooh”- or “eee”-sounding vowel sound, recreate the sound of a police siren. Be sure to find a middle point with your voice and siren between your lowest and highest notes. Slowly try to expand your range on both sides and increase the speed of your siren as you progress.
Head Voice Explained
When trying to access higher notes, singers will have to reach into a region of their register known as the head voice. A singer’s regular, resting speaking voice is generally in the chest region, and the head voice sits above this region. The head voice has a distinctly thinner and more nasal-sounding character than the chest voice. A great example of a strong head voice are the singers from the band The Bee Gees.
Tips for Better Head Voice
The most important thing to remember for a strong head voice is to relax. Any tension in your diaphragm, posture, or air passage will only make it harder to reach the top of your vocal register.
Try to slide from your chest voice into your head voice by sliding up in pitch. While many singers can access both their head voice and chest voice, it is tricky to develop a strong crossover technique between the two.
Try to look forward or tilt your chin slightly upward while singing to help ease the access to higher notes. Tilting the head up will help prevent unnecessary pressure from building up on your larynx.
There is a secondary region above the head voice known as falsetto. Falsetto sits at the top of a singer’s possible vocal range and has a noticeably lighter and more airy tone than the head voice. Falsetto is typically the hardest region for singers with deep voices to reach, but with proper practice and consistent training, it is still possible.
Tips for Better Falsetto
When developing your falsetto, try to maintain a low volume to avoid straining your voice. High singing volumes can also detract from the whispery nature of a falsetto.
Be sure to maintain a straight and comfortable posture while singing in falsetto, as you will need maximum breath control to do so efficiently.
Trust the crackling or scratchy tone that might accompany your falsetto. This texture is a natural part of certain singers’ falsetto and is caused by the vocal cords stretching.
Can Singing High Notes Damage My Voice?
Trying to hit higher notes and expanding your vocal range requires considerably more energy and effort than most other singing techniques. There are some risks involved with expanding your vocal register, particularly with improper technique or bad habits.
Below are a few basic practices you can use to care for and maintain your voice while singing.
Warm Up – Singing involves a complex combination of muscle movement and coordination. These muscles need to be warmed up before you test their limits. Be sure to practice a slow and safe warm-up and cool-down routine for at least 10 minutes before and after intensive singing sessions.
Hydrate – Whenever you sing, air passes over your larynx more frequently than with regular singing. It’s crucial to keep your larynx hydrated to allow it maximum flexibility while singing and to reduce the risk of strain or injury. Be sure to drink sufficient water before, during, and after intensive singing sessions.
Take Breaks and Rest – Your vocal cords will perform much better if you give them enough time to rest and recover in between tedious singing sessions. Make sure to have a healthy sleep routine, as this is where your voice recovers the most.
Singers with deep voices can rejoice in the knowledge that there is some hope for their aspirations to sing high notes. As discussed earlier, singers with deep voices may require more time and effort than other singers to expand their vocal range, but it is still very possible You can use the above-listed pointers to build a solid foundation for trying to raise your maximum pitch levels and sing high notes safely and comfortably.
Is it possible to expand your vocal range if you have a deep voice?
Yes, with proper guidance and consistent training, almost anybody can expand their vocal range. Some singers have a wider vocal range than others, but everyone can expand theirs.
What is the difference between head voice and falsetto?
Falsetto is higher in pitch than head voice. Sonically, the head voice has a thick and nasal character, whereas the falsetto sounds lighter and has a more airy texture. Falsetto is also generally harder for singers to reach than the head voice.