Maneuvering In and Out of Chest Voice while Singing

Knowing when to make the middle-voice transitions can be tricky. As you sing each descending or ascending pattern, notice how it feels — you should be able to feel your chest voice wanting to take over or give up to middle voice.

Knowing what’s too low for your middle voice and what’s too high for your chest voice allows you to figure out where you need to make the transition from middle voice to chest voice. Practicing the exercises helps you make those transitions smoothly.

Descending from middle voice to chest voice

The following exercises work on your transition from middle voice into chest voice. Because you just found your middle voice, you may not be sure what the difference is in the feeling between chest voice and middle voice. The pattern in the following gives you the chance to explore the differences in sound, vibrations, and feeling.

This pattern moves from middle voice to chest voice. The sensations are a bit different, and moving down in scale enables you to feel the changes as you move into chest voice. As you move into chest voice from middle voice, you want to open the space in your throat instead of pressing down. The resonance gradually moves lower as you descend.

  • Guys: Gentlemen, this pattern challenges you to sing from your middle voice to your chest voice. The first time you hear the pattern played, you sing the first two notes in your middle voice and then move to chest voice. As the pattern gets lower, you can move into chest voice sooner. Notice the slight difference in feeling between the notes in middle voice and the notes in chest voice.

  • Dolls: Sing the first repetition of this pattern in middle voice. Make the transition into chest voice on the bottom note. As the pattern gets lower in pitch, you may need to switch to chest voice sooner. No matter how low the pattern goes, always sing the top note in your middle voice.

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Ascending from chest voice to middle voice

The exercise in this section moves from chest voice back up to middle voice. This may be difficult for you in the beginning. Just as it’s easier to gain weight than to lose it, moving from middle voice to chest voice is often easier because it’s like getting thicker and gaining weight.

Moving from chest voice to middle voice is about losing weight. Practice the middle voice patterns until you’re confident of the sounds and feelings of middle voice. You can then work this exercise, which moves from middle voice to chest voice. When you’re really confident, try the exercise in the following illustration.

Remember what it felt like to make that transition from middle voice to chest voice? The feeling gradually got thicker as you went down the scale. The reverse happens in the following pattern. You need to gradually lighten the sound as you ascend in pitch — the vowels listed help you move from a heavier chest voice sound and lighten up as you ascend into middle voice.

If you find a lighter chest voice sound that moves easily from the bottom into middle voice, you’ve found the gold mine. If you aren’t sure what it should sound like, listen to the singers a few times to hear the differences.

  • Guys: The first two repetitions of the pattern are in chest voice. The third repetition moves from chest voice to middle voice on the top note. Allow the sound to lighten or use less pressure as you ascend.

  • Dolls: The first couple of repetitions start in chest voice and move to middle voice on the top note. As the pattern gets higher with each repetition, you can transition to middle voice sooner. Try to sing the top notes lighter than the bottom notes.

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