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#1 2014-11-30 19:19:37

RowboCaup
TMV Forum Member
Registered: 2013-07-17
Posts: 70
Reputation :   

The Lips in Singing

So my previous voice teacher was big on raising the upper lip to show the front teeth, particularly in and above the passaggio. I found that this helps me tremendously to keep the voice resonating freely. Even on low notes, if the voice isn't buzzing on the roof of my mouth the way it usually does, all I have to do is lift up that lip and my voice immediately frees up. When I do this, the voice feels like it is exiting the throat freely/without obstruction. I've noticed several old school opera singers used this technique as well. My current teacher is against anything that has to do with the lips. He tells me to keep them completely relaxed, and also tells me to keep the jaw completely relaxed (to the point that my mouth is barely open). When I keep my jaw so relaxed that my mouth is barely opened, I have trouble producing a bright [a] vowel (it's more of a dark [a]), and I feel like I cannot open my pharynx as much. My questions:

1. What is physiologically going on when I raise my front lip that suddenly frees my voice? It feels like the voice is resonating in a higher/more forward place in my mouth/head (I hate using language like that, but that's what it feels like).

2. Should I keep using the upper lip raise? After I have raised it and the voice falls in place, I don't have to keep it there. I think I can use it as more of a tool to use when I need it rather then completely relying on it.

3. Will keeping my jaw this relaxed continue to hinder my ability to produce a clear bight [a] vowel, and continue to hinder my ability to keep my pharynx completely open? I feel like I didn't have jaw tension to begin with, and that this is slowing down (almost reversing) my progress.

4. Is opening the mouth (dropping/pulling back the jaw) necessary in order to open the pharyngeal space?

Thank you, looking forward to your responses.

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2014-11-30 19:19:37

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#2 2014-11-30 20:35:46

Khassera
TMV Forum Member
From: Oulu, Finland
Registered: 2013-08-02
Posts: 347
Reputation :   

Re: The Lips in Singing

RowboCaup wrote:

2. Should I keep using the upper lip raise? After I have raised it and the voice falls in place, I don't have to keep it there. I think I can use it as more of a tool to use when I need it rather then completely relying on it.

Use it if you need it to place the voice correctly. I usually avoid all tension when I train, but I do use the "bite" whenever I feel the voice loses that really bright twangy tonality. And it's exactly like you say. You use it once and it kinda stays in place for a while.

… Plus it looks pretty badass too!

http://sabotagetimes.com/wp-content/uploads/laynewearingsunglasses.jpg

RowboCaup wrote:

3. Will keeping my jaw this relaxed continue to hinder my ability to produce a clear bight [a] vowel, and continue to hinder my ability to keep my pharynx completely open? I feel like I didn't have jaw tension to begin with, and that this is slowing down (almost reversing) my progress.

Ummmmmm probably yes, if you're still not using the right muscles to control the pharynx and keep appoggio (if that's what you want, which hopefully is.)

RowboCaup wrote:

4. Is opening the mouth (dropping/pulling back the jaw) necessary in order to open the pharyngeal space?

Wait.. Why do you want to open the pharyngeal space? You mean the nasal port? You don't wanna open that, do you? I'm no pro, but I don't like to let the voice leak out of my nose, if you know what I mean. If you always keep a bit of twang in the tone it'll make it easier to sing without nasality. The only way, I've found, to sing with a low larynx, open glottis and denasal tone is to keep a little bit of the "bite" in the voice. And it literally does feel like the soft palate drives upwards. It also feels like you're being throatfucked, though I'm still a virgin in that aspect.

… But in all seriousness, it feels like a tube goes down into my throat when I hit the highest notes. It doesn't make anything tense, it actually does the opposite, it "loosens up" everything. I'd imagine that's what being throat- ahhhhh never mind, I'm rambling now. It's been a long day.

RowboCaup wrote:

Thank you, looking forward to your responses.

Haha, I'm almost sorry to read this!


"'Means are many' said the hag as she wiped the table with a cat."

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#3 2014-11-30 21:01:28

RowboCaup
TMV Forum Member
Registered: 2013-07-17
Posts: 70
Reputation :   

Re: The Lips in Singing

When I say keeping the pharyngeal space open, I mean maintaining the back part of the mouth/throat more open so the sound stays rich/colored/free. I never sing with nasality. I feel like keeping the jaw completely relaxed/barely open, I cannot do that. I can make an audio example demonstrating what I mean if you want...

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#4 2014-11-30 22:02:44

Owen Korzec
TMV Forum Member
Registered: 2011-09-18
Posts: 3109
Reputation :   78 
Website

Re: The Lips in Singing

1. I've been wondering this myself
2. Make sure it is an extremely strong habit and not interfering with your singing, before you decide to let it relax. What you don't want is to tense the lip in the opposite direction - tightening them down or in - and rely on that to create false darkness in the sound.
3. If you feel it it is reversing your progress your teacher probably just introduced it too early. There is a balancing toward getting it to not cause new tensions, but it should at least seem to benefit you a fraction of the time when you first learn it
4. No.

This all being said, be careful how closed the mouth is. It should still be more open than speech.

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#5 2014-11-30 23:17:25

RowboCaup
TMV Forum Member
Registered: 2013-07-17
Posts: 70
Reputation :   

Re: The Lips in Singing

So then why do singers open their mouths so much? If it really is not necessary to open your mouth much more than in speech, why do professionals and amateurs alike do it?

When I open my mouth/jaw too much, I feel like the resonance almost gets stuck at the soft palate. When I do it open right, my throat feels open and voice feels free. When I don't open much, my throat feels restricted. The open throat has to be related to the jaw. In my case, opening just right does not cause tension, so I think it would be best for me to just keep doing it.

Regardless, I'm going to continue experimenting with the more closed mouth to see if I can find the same kind of freedom.

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#6 2014-11-30 23:50:10

Danielformica
TMV Forum Member
From: San Luis Obispo
Registered: 2011-08-10
Posts: 1552
Reputation :   62 
Website

Re: The Lips in Singing

Protruding the lips slightly forward like a kiss will induce a slightly headier released tone and changes the formant to more head voice dominant. Just sing a bright ee with a smile and then move the lips to more of a kiss and keep singing ee. You will notice. I'm sure your teachers show you this all the time.


DANIEL
WWW.YOURVOCALTEACHER.COM
WWW.DANIELFORMICAVOCALSTUDIO.COM
www.soundcloud.com/daniel-formica

Disclaimer-Anything I write or try to help people with on here are techniques and things that have worked for ME.  They are not necessarily" right" or "wrong" but have worked for ME and my 20+ yrs as a professional working
singer.
Thank you

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#7 2014-12-01 03:04:57

Owen Korzec
TMV Forum Member
Registered: 2011-09-18
Posts: 3109
Reputation :   78 
Website

Re: The Lips in Singing

RowboCaup wrote:

So then why do singers open their mouths so much? If it really is not necessary to open your mouth much more than in speech, why do professionals and amateurs alike do it?

When I open my mouth/jaw too much, I feel like the resonance almost gets stuck at the soft palate. When I do it open right, my throat feels open and voice feels free. When I don't open much, my throat feels restricted. The open throat has to be related to the jaw. In my case, opening just right does not cause tension, so I think it would be best for me to just keep doing it.

Because opening the mouth more is often better depending on the situation.

I think it's foolish for teachers to hold a bias toward opening the mouth more or less. It's okay temporarily for training in a concept to balance out the voice, but when you go to sing, your mouth will likely hover around mid-closed to mid-open. Depending on the pitch, vowel, tone, style, etc.

However it's important to note that generally, the higher the note the more vertical opening you need. When you get to the top of your range, whether it's full voice or head voice, you will likely need the mouth almost all the way open for all vowels. In a lower more comfortable range you can choose open or closed as much as you want depending on the style.

The open throat is related to releasing jaw tension no matter what position the jaw is in. Many people tense it when it gets too open or closed and they have to train to remove those tensions.

So you can have an open throat with any jaw position but only after you've removed jaw tension while singing in all the positions. And that is the goal.

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#8 2014-12-01 14:00:06

Martin H
TMV Forum Member
Registered: 2008-11-25
Posts: 1186
Reputation :   31 

Re: The Lips in Singing

RowboCaup wrote:

1. What is physiologically going on when I raise my front lip that suddenly frees my voice? It feels like the voice is resonating in a higher/more forward place in my mouth/head (I hate using language like that, but that's what it feels like).

Usually, this maneuver ("bite") helps retract the jaw and lift the soft palate. It also tricks a higher positioned tongue and induces twang which normally produces that higher/forward sensation.

Last edited by Martin H (2014-12-01 14:09:17)

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#9 2014-12-01 14:05:35

FelipeCarvalho
TMV Forum Member
From: Brasil
Registered: 2011-07-28
Posts: 2889
Reputation :   61 
Website

Re: The Lips in Singing

And it unrounds the quality, which makes some modifications less evident. If you dont do it, you may compensate the modification by trying to lower the tongue back down (antagonic tension).

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#10 2014-12-02 01:49:08

Steven Fraser
Charter Member of TMV Voice Council
From: Plano, Texas
Registered: 2008-11-22
Posts: 1801
Reputation :   101 

Re: The Lips in Singing

All great ideas from everybody else.


Best Regards,

Steven Fraser

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#11 2014-12-02 06:10:52

RowboCaup
TMV Forum Member
Registered: 2013-07-17
Posts: 70
Reputation :   

Re: The Lips in Singing

Danielformica: Protruding the lips does tend to produce a headier tone, but I find when I do it I tend to exaggerate and overly darken my voice. I also tend to create tension when I do this, so it's something I generally use only for effect.

Owen Korzec wrote:

The open throat is related to releasing jaw tension no matter what position the jaw is in. Many people tense it when it gets too open or closed and they have to train to remove those tensions.

So you can have an open throat with any jaw position but only after you've removed jaw tension while singing in all the positions. And that is the goal.

Owen Korzec: This makes sense, and it took reading this to figure out how to do it (just now). My singing is about to become so much more efficient just from this one concept.

Martin H: I think you are correct about the bite, especially regarding twang.

Last edited by RowboCaup (2014-12-02 06:11:28)

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