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Developing Clarity in Your Singing Tone

Certain styles of music don’t require clarity in the tone, but you want to be singing a breathy tone by choice instead of having no idea how to sing clearly when you really want to. Sighing helps you focus on finding this clarity of tone. It allows you to make sounds without worrying about singing precise pitches, which you needn’t bother with for this exercise.

Start a sigh at a comfortable pitch, and maintain the sound of a sigh as you slide down pitches. The sigh can also be called a siren. Sigh or siren as if the sound moves up and down a three-story building. If your sigh is clear, continue your exploration and move to higher pitches.

If your tone isn’t clear, try to make a more-energetic sigh. Adding more energy to the sigh means connecting your body to the sigh. Engage your entire body in sighing by moving as you sigh. Move your body in such a way (leaning, bending, stretching) that you feel as if your entire body is surging and sighing.

Using this exertion of energy when you sing also helps you find clarity in your tone. Your breath is flowing to complete a specific physical movement, which helps with the onset of tone. Filling a room with a clear tone is easier than filling it with a fuzzy tone. Without a microphone, you need a clear tone to be heard when you sing.

Younger singers often have a breathy tone, caused by lack of coordination. To create a clear tone, you need to use correct technique without adding pressure. Doing so involves getting the breath ready and then adding energy just described. If you have a breathy tone, work on your breathing skills to better understand that movement in your body.

When you’ve polished your breathing skills, focus on tone production. Your tone may also continue to change as you mature, which is normal. Just remember what good technique feels like and keep working to make it a habit in your body.

If you aren’t sure whether your tone is clear, record your practice session and imitate Marilyn Monroe’s unfocused tone when she sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President”; then imitate Pavarotti to find clear tones.

The point is to find out what your tone sounds like and know when a clear tone is appropriate. You can use a breathy tone if you want that style and sound. Norah Jones has a breathy tone, but she’s an example of someone singing pop and jazz music, using that tone on purpose.

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