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Exploring Different Vowels in Song Belting

You may have noticed that most song belting exercises use the vowels ay (the ay sound as in day) and a (as in cat). Those two vowels help you find the forward resonance you need for belting. Of course, you have to sing more than those two vowels in belt songs, so you want to find the same resonance on other vowels.

You can find that same resonance a couple of different ways:

  • The first option is to modify the other vowels so they’re similar to ay. This suggestion is good to try when you’re first beginning to belt. Modifying the vowels means that you’re trying to find the same resonance on all vowels that you got when you were singing the ay or a.

    If the phrase you’re about to sing is “I'm not at all in love,” you want to pretend that the words look more like aaah’m naaat aaat aaaal aaaan laaaaav. That combination of letters makes no sense unless you understand that you’re pretending that the vowels you’re singing in that phrase use the vowel a as in cat or are really similar to the a vowel.

    When you find the same height of resonance that you had when singing the a vowel, you can sing the actual vowels within the words and keep that high resonance. If you find ay more helpful than the a vowel, pretend that the vowels in your phrase are all similar to ay.

  • The second option to help you maintain high resonance on a variety of vowels is to speak the sound nyah to feel the high resonance. You can go back to Track 55 on the CD to hear this sound demonstrated for you. When you feel the high resonance of nyah, say the words of your song and try to keep the same height to the resonance.

    When you can speak the words and keep the high forward resonance, sing the words of your song and try to find the same height when you sing. If you’re having trouble belting, you’re likely having problems with the word right before that troublesome note. For example, if you sing the phrase “I'm not at all in love,” you may have trouble with the word all.

    If you focus on getting the right resonant sound for the word at, you can maintain that same forward resonant sound on the word all. It’s tempting to open the space in the back and allow the aw sound in the word all to fall back into a very open and head voice–dominated sound. Instead, you want to keep the sound in the front of your face.

    A visual that may help is pretending that you have a Jim Carey mask on your face that can expand as you belt higher. The mask is a visual of your face lifting up or expanding in the front of your face.

When you’re more skilled at belting, you’ll be able to sing the real vowels in your words without having to modify or change them. You still want the high resonance, but you’ll be able to sing the real vowel in the word.

For now, keep modifying until you’re confident that the resonance is both high and forward. You’ll also find later that you don’t need to use the forward resonance all the time when you belt.

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