Ariella's Vocal Notes- Blog

Where oh where has the head voice gone

By Arumuga ganesh

This can be a sore subject for some on both sides. The female voice consists of both a chest and head voice. For me to develop the voice, is to develop the WHOLE voice. It used to be that people had opportunities to hear developed head voices on women all the time. Young girls would sing soprano love songs in movies, musicals had leads as sopranos, but today it seems that the head voice is shown off less and less.

Today, to hit a higher note, girls take their chest voices up as high as they can. This is called a belt. There are some belters out there that are fantastic, such as Idina Menzel, Barbara Streisand, Celine Dion, Lea Michele, and Kelly Clarkson.

Unfortunately, high belting is not natural, easy, and/or healthy, for most singers. The natural way to go up in the voice is to develop the head voice. There are many different variances of how that develops; from a light folk head voice, to a fully developed operatic one with many in between.

So many young girls come in to begin to study with me and get their voices to about a C above middle C in a vocalize and then tell me they can’t sing any higher. Often times, I have to force them (kindly of course) to break through what they consider to be today’s acceptable sounds to enter into their own head voice to take their voices up. It is amazing how many notes you can add to your range if you use your high voice. And there is no pain or strain if you do it correctly. Unlike the high belt, which can really stress out the voice.

Its something to think about. I think though, that it is sad that people are loosing touch with that type of voice. The head voice is natural, and beautiful. It is also a part of the voice that develops later on in the teenage years and matures with the singer over time. It takes some work and dedication to get it right, and is well worth the pay off.

To connect the voice from the bottom range to the top without stress is important to be able to do. It is a tool that every singer should have. Whether used in performance or not, it should be developed in the vocal warm up.

I love a good high belting sound, so please don’t think this entry is against belting. I am just sad that the art of the developed head voice is not celebrated enough. If there is not a big enough influence of that sound on younger singers, they will not try to emulate them.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this

Sing well

Ariella Vaccarino

Written by Ariella Vaccarino creator of Voice Lessons To Go (singing lessons on CD) and author of Vocalize!

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