Tackling Singing Register Transitions - dummies

Tackling Singing Register Transitions

By Pamelia S. Phillips

Knowing where to make singing transitions makes it easier to figure out how to successfully sing a song. When you know the transition points, you can choose tactics, such as the following, to help you sing through the transitions when you practice:

  • Choose friendly vowels to sing. Closed vowels, such as in the words me, may, and to, are often easier to sing than open vowels such as ah.

  • Imitate a siren to feel the change in the vibrations as you go higher in pitch. That same sensation of the vibrations rising higher in your head applies to your singing. Head voice requires a higher resonance, so the resonance or vibrations should move higher into your head as you go up the scale.

  • As you descend the scale, allow the resonance or vibrations to drop. It may feel like the vibrations are going down a ladder on your face, gradually stepping down each rung as you go down the scale. The resonance should move lower as you descend in pitch. Middle voice requires a lower resonance or vibration than head voice. Chest voice uses even lower vibrations or resonance than head voice.

  • Go gently into chest voice. When you descend into chest voice, you want to drop smoothly into it instead of falling down into it. You can experiment by singing a higher note and sliding down in pitch. Try this slide twice. As you slide down the first time, allow the sound or sensations of the vibrations to just fall.

    This creates a big clunk into chest voice. Then try the same slide again, but think of opening the throat and body as you gradually descend. You’ll make a much smoother transition into chest voice.

  • Open the back space as you ascend. As you ascend, you want the space in the back of the mouth and the throat to open to give those high notes plenty of room to sing. You also get better results by dropping your jaw, not just dropping your chin.

  • Keep your breath steady. In general, you want to keep the movement of breath steady and flowing as you sing. If you’re ascending in pitch, your breath has to move faster. You don’t have to blow more air, but the speed of the airflow must increase..

  • Keep energy flowing in your body. Singing requires a lot of effort, and you want energy to be flowing in your body. Move around as you sing to feel that your entire body is involved in making the sound, especially on the higher notes.