Ep.33: How to Sing Mix – Part 1
How to sing Mix or how to sing with a Mix, is a very common question. Inside this video I’ll define and demonstrate Mix. Warning. Normally I try to avoid this. But in this video I get a little “geeky” about singing.
Note: Beginning in 2016 I’ll be releasing two video vlog posts per week. In addition to the regular Friday vlog a second will be posted on Tuesdays.
How to Sing in a Mix: What is Mix?
A Mix is a mixture or blend of at least 2 things. When singing you are in a Mix if you have a mixture of chest voice and head voice. [Vocal Demo]
If you sing only with chest voice, you have no Mix. [Vocal Demo] If you start in chest voice and sing higher and break or flip into falsetto, you have no Mix [Vocal Demo] because you’ve lost the connection to chest voice.
If, when singing, you bring falsetto down into the area of the voice that is suppose to be chest, there is no Mix. It’s only falsetto. [Vocal Demo]
A Mix can only exist if the vocal cords remain connected. If your vocal cords break into falsetto and do not reconnect, you have no Mix, it’s only falsetto. [Vocal Demo]
Mix is made with connected vocal cords and a blend of chest resonance and head resonance.
How to Sing Mix: Where is Mix in the Voice
There are several schools of thought about when and where you are in Mix.
Some define Mix as only occurring in the Vocal Bridges (passaggi). When singing in chest voice as you sing higher (and while keeping the vocal cords together) the resonance begins to move higher from your chest into your head cavities.
The resonance splits so there is a mixture (Mix) of both chest and head resonance. This split occurs in the bridge or passaggio.
After getting through the first bridge, the singer encounters a 2nd bridge, and then a third bridge. For women there are even more bridges. With each bridge there is a blend of overtones from the register below and the register above.
Lower overtones damping or dropping out and higher overtones coming in. As a result of this process many believe that Mix is only occurring in the actual bridges.
Some believe if the vocal cords remain connected while the resonance has split into both chest and head cavities that Mix is always present both in and in between the bridges.
In other words, everything is Mix.
At this point in my singing and teaching, I think it’s a combination of these two. Pavarotti is reported to have said that singing was like a repeating “figure-8”.
Seth Riggs concluded (and I believe in Seth) that Pavarotti was describing the repeated narrowing into the bridge and opening into the new register and so on upward.
In my opinion, if the cords remain connected there’s always some chest residue…even if very slight. So even in the highest head voice, if the cords have remained connected, that seems like mix to me. Even if it’s 100 to 1….it’s still a Mix. At a certain point, if the cords remain connected, does it really matter if we say it’s mix or connected super head voice?
The problem is what happens to mix when you sing down below the first bridge into chest? You can definitely bring mix down into the chest register. So I understand how that can be mix. But in most voices, you can only do that so long before the chest voice fully takes over.
How then can that be a mix?
How to Sing Mix: Advanced Concept – Maintaining the Vertical
A third concept that is helpful for me is Maintaining the Vertical. This is mentioned in the Book “The Voice of the Mind” by E. Herbert Caesari.
Imagine a vertical sound beam started by the vocal cords and shooting upward into the mouth. In head voice, this resonating sound beam, if it maintains the vertical direction, will angle slightly backward and penetrate into the head cavities above the mouth. [Vocal Demo]
In chest voice there is still a vertical sound beam but it begins to angle slightly forward to engage the hard palate. In my opinion, to lose the vertical while in chest voice is to grab the vocal cord, squeeze and close the throat and jam the sound beam down into the throat. The tone can barely escape and has no roundness, no fullness and no appeal. To me this is not mix.
Maintaining the vertical, even if completely in lower chest voice, creates an upward lift in the tone. The sound beam resonates on the hard palate appropriately. This seems to recruit more than just the chest voice, by adding a rounder, fuller tone as if some head overtones were being activated. Even if it’s 100 to 1, there’s still a quality of mix. [Vocal Demo comparisons]
In my opinion, maintaining the vertical is how you maintain a mix…even in the lower notes of chest voice.
It helps to understand that my vocal type tends to be Pulled Chest-High Larynx. The exercises for this vocal type helps develop my ability to sing with a mixed voice or sing in a Mix.
Do you know your vocal type, what you tend to do when you sing? Visit PowerToSing.com and take the vocal test which I call the PowerTest. Take the quiz and discover you vocal type. Then visit the Knowledge Center and watch the videos about your vocal type and download the exercises designed to help you get closer to Mix.
I’m Chuck Gilmore with Power To Sing. You can sing higher, with beauty, confidence and power.
I’ll see you inside the next video.
(Just for fun watch the outtake)