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Discover your mixed voice!

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Mixed voice: secrets and tips

The secrets of mixed voice technique: How to sing in mixed voice?

Voix mixte c'est quoi ?

Hello dear Yooplayer! I'm going to tell you a secret today and lift the veil on a mystery that has probably been the best-kept trick of singers for generations.

It is an indispensable, enigmatic and essential tool for your voice. Indeed, I'm going to tell you about mixed voice!

First of all, let me remind you of the previous videos on registers !

As you know, the chest voice and the head voice each have their limits. In one case, you can't go all the way up to infinity because you'll get stuck at some point and that can lead to throat tightening.
In the other case, the head voice can go down but risks becoming unstable at some point.

 

What is mixed voice?

You may be wondering what mixed voice is? This vocal technique, located between the chest voice and the head voice, is very trendy at the moment and raises a lot of questions. You've probably already heard this stamp homogeneous and without breaks in the voice, which gives the impression of a fluid and supple voice. But how is the mixed voice produced physiologically? And how can you develop it yourself? In this article, we'll dive into the mechanics of mixed voice to give you a better understanding of this increasingly popular vocal technique.

Understanding where mixed voice comes from

I'm going to give you a little scientific reminder to better understand mixed voice. When it comes to our voice, there are primarily two laryngeal mechanisms, two main ways our vocal cords vibrate. There are two other mechanisms, but I won't discuss them here. The first mechanism, denoted M1, corresponds to the rather low part of our range, while the second mechanism, denoted M2, corresponds to the high part.

Typically, M1 is what we call chest voice, while M2 is often head or falsetto voice. These two mechanisms correspond to a physiological reality, that is to say what happens at the level of our vocal cords. The terms “chest voice” and “head voice” refer more to the acoustic rendering, that is to say to what we hear and perceive.

However, for most singers, there is a passage, even a large passage, between the two mechanisms M1 and M2. This passage is often difficult to cross because the step is high for most of us. It is therefore important for our vocal health to respect this passage and not to force one or the other of the two mechanisms.

To use my friend Aurélie Ravera Lassale's analogy, it's like shifting the gears of a car. The higher the sound, the faster our vocal cords vibrate. Staying in M1 in our treble is a bit like being in second on the highway, which is not very efficient and even dangerous for the engine! It is therefore necessary to change the mechanism to move towards the treble.

Why use mixed voice?

To be as clear as possible, when we sing, we have two modes of sound production: “chest” mode and “head” mode. But there is a “passing” note that separates the two, and if you want to sing higher than that note, you have to go into “head” mode. It's a bit like having a car with two gears: you can drive in 1st, but if you want to go faster, you have to shift to 2nd.

If in variety, it is common to sing in chest mechanism, and go directly to head mechanism on a high note. In many other styles of music we prefer to make the rise in the treble, and therefore the transition from one mechanism to another, as progressive as possible.

  • A passage/break

When our vocal cords move from M1 to M2, there is a significant adjustment that occurs. However, this change does not always happen smoothly and smoothly. For most singers, there is a hole, a gap, even a ravine between M1 and M2. This passage can lead to skipped notes, a quavering voice, a feeling of loss of control and some frustration. Unfortunately, this passage is often found in the center of our range, which complicates the situation even more.

  • Eliminate this passage

However, some singers manage to eliminate this passage, but it often requires many hours of practice. They find a way to produce the sound that masks the change in mechanism, so that it is almost not audible. They then have the impression of being between the two mechanisms, without really being in chest voice or head voice. They mix the two and create a mixed voice feel, with a bit of chest voice and a dose of head voice.

  • Exercise: How to sing in mixed voice?

Navigating between chest voice and head voice and vice versa requires going through the famous break between the two mechanisms. This break can be kept for aesthetic reasons in certain pieces, while in others, we want to hear a single voice from bass to treble. This is where the mixed voice comes in, which allows you to erase this break and obtain a fluid transition.

In the middle of the voice, around this break, the passage zone is not that steep. Indeed, the chest voice rises and encroaches on the head voice and vice versa. So there are notes that we can sing either in the chest or in the head, and this is where our adventure begins.

The first step to acquiring mixed voice is to use your feelings and take time for yourself and your body. Acquiring mixed voice takes practice and patience, because your body must assimilate the movement so that it becomes automatic and you no longer have to think about it.

How to sing high notes in mixed voice?

The first step will allow you to isolate your breakage and find where it is exactly for you in order to be able to shape it. To do this, we will use a sound (“I”), always using the famous “siren” and slide from the chest voice to the head voice until this breaking point. We're going to use mental images to help your body assimilate the movement, so don't hesitate to use your hand to virtually “twist” your sound upwards.

Repeat the exercise several times then notice from your sensations when the shift appears. This will allow you to find where exactly your break is and start working on it. Mixed vocals are an incredible tool for singers, and with hard work, you can use it to add a unique touch to your voice.

Go further with mixed voice technique

Despite our impressions, science assures us that there is no hybrid vocal mechanism between the chest voice and the head voice, but rather an alternation between these two mechanisms for the mixed voice. However, some subtle adjustments are necessary to move from one to the other smoothly and without altering the quality of the tone. These adjustments concern not only the production of vocal mechanisms, but also their resonance.

Resonance is also one of singers' best allies when it comes to finding a mixed voice. Although the discovery of this vocal technique requires perseverance and practice, it offers a wide range of musical possibilities, and it is a real satisfaction for singers to be able to master it.

Mixed voice a mystery?

Although the theory is exciting, researching mixed voice can seem complex.

And presto, we go a little further in the discovery of the mixed voice! But be careful, each singer and each teacher has their own vision and their own method for working on it.

For some, mixed voice consists of using the laryngeal mechanism 1 and modifying the shape of the resonance spaces to obtain the desired sound. But other singers have developed two mixed voices: one that starts from mechanism 1 and tries to imitate the sound of mechanism 2, and one that starts from mechanism 2 and tries to imitate the sound of mechanism 1.

Everyone has their own method and descriptions, and this shows that vocal technique is not unique. This can complicate the work but it also allows you to enrich your technical palette and open up to new perspectives.

 

👉 How work on your mixed voice in singing ?