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Critique Me (Lay the Smackdown)

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(@calmerthanyouare)
Active Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 7
Topic starter  

Hey guys. This is my first post. I've been working on my voice for about the last month or so. I had an extremely nasty virus that gave me the 2nd worst sore throat in my life (first was mono) and I've been working really hard over the last few days to get my voice back.

My main concern here is my tone. I have a tendency to sound a bit nasally and that's what I'm focusing on.

Pearl Jam - Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town
http://www.zshare.net/audio/5430194552ac7606/
This is the culmination of me trying desperately to take the nasal sound out of my voice over the last few days. It's especially difficult for the high parts and it's still a work in progress.

Michael Houser - Country Sex Song (it's obscure so don't expect to recognize it)
http://www.zshare.net/audio/54302066a26d4d15/
This is more like what my voice sounds like when I'm not worried about the nasal sound. For some reason it fits fine with this song (or at least much better than a nasal sound fits with Elderly Woman). My apologies on the slight hiss you might here in the background. My mic does that sometimes.

Alright so like I said, I'm sort of singing in two different ways here. I just want to know what y'all think. In case you're wondering, my guitar is a Takamine EF341SC.

Thanks!


   
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(@calmerthanyouare)
Active Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 7
Topic starter  

I'm not sure if people are having trouble with Z-share. It was messing up a lot so I uploaded my songs on another site.

Elderly Woman
http://music.sharemusic.com/_Pearl-Jam-Elderly-Woman-Behind-The-Counter-In-A-Small-Town-Cover/audio/315190/1713.html

Country Sex Song
http://music.sharemusic.com/_Michael-Houser-Country-Sex-Song-Cover/audio/315188/1713.html


   
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(@anonymous)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 8184
 

well, for the first part of the pearl jam song, i can barely hear you. eddie vedder's known to mumble, but he's a loud mumbler. it sounds ok. you definitely sound a bit like him. you're not nasal, but yeah, you can hear the strain on the higher notes. keep working at it. same volume complaint with the second song.
make sure the mic is way above the level of the guitar and on the same level as your mouth and close enough that you get a clear vocal. guitars have a tendency to overwhelm vocals if you record them on the same track.
i like the second song. it sounds more naturally you.


   
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(@calmerthanyouare)
Active Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 7
Topic starter  

well, for the first part of the pearl jam song, i can barely hear you. eddie vedder's known to mumble, but he's a loud mumbler. it sounds ok. you definitely sound a bit like him. you're not nasal, but yeah, you can hear the strain on the higher notes. keep working at it. same volume complaint with the second song.
make sure the mic is way above the level of the guitar and on the same level as your mouth and close enough that you get a clear vocal. guitars have a tendency to overwhelm vocals if you record them on the same track.
i like the second song. it sounds more naturally you.

Very helpful thanks. I think the difference between the two songs is that the second song is more in my range and just generally much easier to sing. I've been working on singing for about the last month or so and I got that one to sound decent fairly quickly. As far as the Pearl Jam song, I think I'm probably straining because I'm trying to simultaneously go high and keep the nasality out. If you weren't hearing a strain you'd probably hear the nasal sound instead. I've already gotten MUCH better on that song so I think a more natural sound will come with time. I really want to hit the high "not my former" part. Eddie sound's like a flute when he sings that. In which parts do you hear the most strain?

As far as the vocals vs. the guitar, I definitely had the mic below the guitar both times. I'm using a crappy computer mic so I'll see what I can rig up next time.


   
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(@jersey-jack)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 189
 

you're not nasal, but yeah, you can hear the strain on the higher notes.

I'm curious about this implied relationship between nasality and "strain on the high notes." I have exactly this issue: Although I can sing scales up to C4 or so, my voice starts to sound strained at around D3 or E3 when I'm actually singing a song. And when I was taking voice lessons, my teacher worked ceaselessly to get rid of my nasality problems.

I thought I had the nasality under control, but now I wonder: Is strain at the higher notes an indication that one is going nasal up there? Or did you mean to refer this to a separate problem?

For the OP: Good stuff! I thought your voice was fine, though I agree with Jasaon's remarks about the mix.


   
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(@calmerthanyouare)
Active Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 7
Topic starter  

you're not nasal, but yeah, you can hear the strain on the higher notes.

I'm curious about this implied relationship between nasality and "strain on the high notes." I have exactly this issue: Although I can sing scales up to C4 or so, my voice starts to sound strained at around D3 or E3 when I'm actually singing a song. And when I was taking voice lessons, my teacher worked ceaselessly to get rid of my nasality problems.

I thought I had the nasality under control, but now I wonder: Is strain at the higher notes an indication that one is going nasal up there? Or did you mean to refer this to a separate problem?

For the OP: Good stuff! I thought your voice was fine, though I agree with Jasaon's remarks about the mix.

Even though I'm fairly new to this, I think I may have an answer. Just so you know where I'm coming from, I've been doing my own reading and I've been using the Singing Success course (I found a pirated copy but if it gets me to where I want to be, I may actually buy it because it's a good product). It seems that keeping a low larynx and hitting high notes are contrary to each other without practice. I've gotten a lot stronger at keeping a low larynx but the sound is still missing something. I've been able to take most of the nasality out of my voice but the tone still seems a little thin; it's just not as rich as I know it could be. I've come to the conclusion that I need to figure out how to manipulate my pharynx/throat in order to get a more full tone. The problem is that different vowels require different manipulations of the throat.

All that being said, I can say for that for me, the strain comes from trying to keep my larynx low and put my throat in a favorable position for a rich sound. I think it's something that will go away as I gain muscular control.


   
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(@moresco)
Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 15
 

Just to chime in, strain is caused by a whole number of things. It's true that a high larynx could cause strain, but it can go up a bit without causing strain if you keep your throat open/relaxed (I always imagine a hot potato in my mouth...strange as that may sound) and make sure your tongue is free at the back. Basically try to keep from engaging all those muscles that don't contribute to the sound but rather hamper it. All of this contributes to strain, so does not having enough air or improper breathing...pulling chest up instead of using your head voice and mix.

Also here's a little tip I found to check if you're a bit nasal. Sing something in whatever range and as you do, plug your nose. If the sound changes, you're nasal and singing too much through the nose (or too much air through the nose rather). You could also just count in the range you're aiming for and plug your nose on 5. That works too, you don't really need to sing a line. But honestly, some air through the nose at times isn't that bad in my opinion.

Anyway, I'm just a student, so I could be wrong! =D

-Brent
theRedPress


   
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