News & Reviews
Q&A -w- MELISSA CROSS
this email was sent out on: 08:29:18 PM Tue., July 26, 2005
Q: I started off singing in E standard tuning. Then I tried E flat, but my voice was still shredded at the end of gigs. So, I tuned down to D. What a huge difference in ease and sound! Will tuning down like that cause any damage? .My voice sounds way fatter than ever before. I still hit the high notes, but not cleanly. I notice that a small bit of roughness in the way I pronounce a note helps me get through to the head voice easier. Is this a bad thing to be doing? .I sing in a metal band.


A: Hooray! You found the comfort zone and now you're sailing! Not only is it a good idea to tune down to D for you, BUT, the looseness of the strings will make the band sound a lot fatter too. Many of my clients tune down for the fat, floppy string reason*. You are in good company and you're sounding better, too. Good for you!

As far as the high notes not being hit “cleanly” and the bit of roughness getting to the head voice, hear me NOW! STOP THE INSANITY.! You must stop thinking about transitioning to your idea of “head voice” from your idea of “chest voice”. By imagining your voice in such a way, you acknowledge a “gear shift” in the using of such a non-dynamic and static approach. It makes impossible the successful execution of a solid high note, not to mention an honest, in-the-moment emotional expression. In the “Zen of Screaming” DVD, the training exercises emphasize a goal of having the sensation of no “breaks” in vocal registers (i.e., head voice, chest voice, and falsetto). Not that they don’t exist, but proper vocal instruction for ANY genre of music involves teaching the student how to close the vocal cords as these dynamic register changes are occurring, not in the split second before they occur. Do my exercises in the singing and speech warm-ups and try not to intellectualize it. “Thinking” will prevent the coordination that you need. Also, make sure that you telegraph the pitch a split second before you sing it. Don’t just slam dunk something “up there”. I call that “search and destroy”. Your having found a comfort zone in a lower tuning makes me suspect that you may be a baritone. You may be in between tenor and baritone (quite common) and need a custom warm-up. Check out the Evaluation section at melissacross.com for details


*NOTE: Guitarists may want to consider heavier strings to stabilize the tuning. Additionally, guitar necks may need a set up to stay in tune in order to accommodate the difference in string tension.





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