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Thread: What makes a good voice?

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2002

    Question What makes a good voice?

    First of all, hi this is my first post here...I joined 5 minutes ago.

    This question has been bugging me for a very long time. What is it that makes up a dynamite voice? How much is physiological, how much is the wiring of the brain, technique, training, etc. How far can a person go with training if they weren't blessed with phenomenal vocal talent? I have some thoughts on this subject and I'm curious to see what you think about their validity:

    As far as I can figure it out, there seem to be 3 main components to vocal quality: (1) Resonance, (2) Pitch, and (3) Tone [by the way, if I butcher musical terminology at any point, please let me know...I've been composing and playing instruments for a while but I'm not formally trained and so I'm rather ignorant of the jargon.]. Resonance seems to be related to breath support and supporting my singing with my diaphragm seems to give a lot more resonance; ditto for relaxing my throat. Pitch is tricky because I'm often a half-step off or a little sharp or flat when I sing and I don't notice it when I'm singing sometimes. However when I listen to recorded music or other people singing (even myself recorded) I can easily spot pitch problems. This seems strange because on the one hand it appears I have trouble discerning pitch, but on the other hand it looks like I can because I can tell when pitch is off. As for the tone aspect, what I mean is like the difference between a classical sound and a pop sound. The best I can figure is that this is a combination of breath support/modulation and mouth/soft-palette-tounge-etc manipulation, but I'm not sure. Anyway, I'm probably speculating wildly so if I am off base someone please feel free to rein me in!

    The thing that puzzles me is that it looks like all of the above are things that most people should have the capacity to learn. The exception to this would be if a person were physically incapable of discerning pitch to the level needed, or if the structure of the vocal cords, throat, chest, and other body parts is the determining factor, in which case there would be very little a person could do to improve beyond a certain point.

    Any thoughts (or information, knowledge)?


  2. #2
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Jackson MS

    Tin Ears

    I once had a singing student that had a great voice but had 'tin ears'. His vocal quality and breath support system was great and he had good vibratto technique, but he really could not sing on pitch reliably. It is strange when he was listening to a vocal track he could nail it but on his own it was hit or miss. I finally realized that he had some reative pitch problem. He could start the song on the wrong note and sing relattive to that note all the way through. THere are many people who wish they had as good of a voice as him but he was only good when listening to a track.
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
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  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    In reference to your pitch problems when YOU sing, I have lots of trouble with the difference between the sound inside my head and the sound outside my head. In other words, I can't hear myself from the outside, and when I hear ANYTHING from the outside I have a good idea of pitch.

    I'm getting better. It's a lot of work, but I had the same trouble when I first started playing guitar, where if I was playing the guitar it didn't sound out of tune, but when someone else was, it did.

    Just throwing thoughts into the fray. I searched the internet for voice exercises, and they've help a lot in the past couple weeks. I can't find the site now, or I'd post a link.

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