Increase Your Vocal Range

Most articles on how to improve vocal range concentrate on adding high notes, leaving altos and basses feeling left out. Lower voices, this one’s in your case! We’ll explore some ways to add low notes by using your chest voice.

Everyone makes use of the chest voice for usual speaking. In fact, your speaking voice can teach you a lot about your singing voice. The best way you utilize your speaking voice can either help or hamper your singing voice.

When learning How to Increase Your Vocal Range let’s start by exploring your speaking voice. Try making various non-speech sounds: laugh, cry, yawn, sigh. If you have a piano or pitch pipe available, find the nearest pitch to the sounds you made. Now speak a few monosyllables: uh-huh, mm-hmm, aha. Again, discover the matching pitch on a piano or pitch pipe.

Now speak a couple of simple sentences, such as “my name is_____” or “I love to sing”. Once again, find the matching pitch. Ideally, the pitch needs to be the same for speaking as it is for monosyllables or non-speech sounds, but lots of people try to speak with a lower pitch than is natural for their voice. This isn’t a healthy thing to do.

Continue exploring your voice by speaking monosyllables at a range of pitch levels on a piano. Find the lowest pitch you can speak without sounding gravelly. The gravelly sound is called “vocal fry” and isn’t healthy to sustain. Your ideal speaking pitch should be about four to 5 steps above your vocal fry level.

Next, speak sentences or read a paragraph aloud. Experiment with higher speaking pitches to see how high you are able to go. Along the way, note where your voice is most comfortable and where you begin to listen to and feel strain.

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When using your “chest voice“, you’ll feel vibration (resonance) inside your chest when producing tones in that pitch range. Place your hand lightly at your upper chest, with your thumb and fingers resting on your collarbones. Do a yawn-slide (exhale on the syllable “hee” or “hoo” while sliding from the top of your range to the bottom). Your hand should feel vibration while you slide down into your chest voice.

Although it feels like the resonance is occurring in your chest, it’s actually happening within your throat and mouth. The vibration you feel is the result of air moving from your lungs and across your vocal folds.

A easy low-range singing exercise is the fifth slide. Starting in the comfortable central part of your range, use the buzz (puckered lips vibrating as air is expelled) or a syllable such as “vaw” to sing the starting pitch and slide down five steps. In the key of C major it could be G-C, so-do. The slide should be smooth, not bumpy or creaky. Start each repetition a half-step below the previous one.

If you are feeling bumpy or creaky sensations while you descend the scale, you’re probably holding some tension. Stop and do some face and neck relaxation exercises. Gently massage your face and throat, then try again. While you descend the scale, close your mouth slightly from its starting position.

Next, sing an octave scale up and back down, again using the buzz or “vaw”. While you go up the scale, allow your jaw to drop and your mouth to open a little wider, then reverse that while you come back down. It may be helpful to imagine your tone on a path leading away from yourself, with low notes nearest and high notes farthest away. Perhaps even move one hand from your body as you ascend the scale and back to your side while you descend.

The arpeggio is another helpful exercise. Sing do-mi-so-do-so-mi-do on a vowel sound, such as “oo”, “ee”, or “ah”. Start each new arpeggio a half-step lower than the last.

As with any singing technique, adding to your lower range will take time and effort. If you are patient and persistent, you will see positive results and you will notice an increase Your Vocal Range.

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