Singing with Chest Dominant vs Head Dominant Mix

This post about Singing with Chest Dominant vs Head Dominant Mix.  Today I received this question from a subscriber to PowerToSing.com. He was told by a voice teacher that there were two kinds of Mix:  Chest Dominant Mix and Head Dominant Mix.

 

He sent me an example of each one and asked if he was doing them correctly.

 

Frankly, I was confused by the question and after listening to his examples I could hear he was confused too.

 

Inside this video, I’ll share his demonstration of singing with Chest Dominant vs Head Dominant Mix and I’ll give you my analysis.

 

 

Singing with Chest Dominant vs Head Dominant Mix

The cause of my confusion is that “Chest Dominant Mix” or “Head Dominant Mix” attempts to describe a sound.  I’m guessing from the description that it is a mix voice whose main, leading sound is very chest-like, or a mix voice whose main, leading sound is very head-like.  

 

But does that mean pulling up chest voice into the area that should be mix? Or bringing down head voice where mix normally is? What do you mean by mix? Do you mean on all notes or just the high pitches or the low pitches? Are you talking about light chest. What do you mean head voice?

 

Do you see the trouble here? Defining vocal “sounds” is very subjective. Defining vocal sounds using the words, “chest”, “head”, “dominant”, and “mix” can result in endless confusion because these words mean different things to each of us.

 

What sounds like “chest dominant mix” to you may sound like “pulled-up chest” voice with no head voice to me. What sounds like “head dominant mix” to you may sound like a “breathy high larynx” to me.

 

And even if we agreed 100% on the definition of the words, what each of us thinks it sounds like will be different. And what about the pitches and the loudness?  How does that change the sound. 

Singing with Chest Dominant vs Head Dominant Mix So we have endless opinions to infinity and beyond!

 

Perhaps a better way is to describe objectively what is happening physically.

 

Singing with Chest Dominant vs Head Dominant Mix Demo

First, let’s listen to the demos of these two. [Demo]

Which do you think is which?  In the first example I believe he’s working for a Chest Dominant Mix.

 

Singing with Chest Dominant vs Head Dominant Mix Analysis

In the “Chest Dominant Mix” demo the loud volume caused the vocal cords to be over compressed and tight. As a result chest resonance was pulled higher along with the larynx. This caused the vocal cords to break on the Ab4 and the pitch to be flat on the A4. There is some head resonance.

 

The second example he’s striving for “Head Dominant Mix”.

 

In this demo he’s singing softer. The vocal cords are not adducting firmly and crack or flip on almost each scale. Also there is much more air escaping through the vocal cords. This may also be contributing to breaks in the tone as he does the exercise. The cords are in and out of disconnected falsetto and connected tone throughout the exercise.

 

The goal is a balance of air and vocal cord muscle, with the resonance shifting naturally and the cords adjusting appropriately in the correct pitches. This will allow the voice to function optimally in all registers of the voice.

 

When trying to produce a specific kind of sound we almost always add too much tension, over or under adduct the vocal cords, sing too loud, pull the larynx up or induce other physical actions that cause the voice to be imbalanced.

 

Develop a Balanced Voice for an Ideal Mix 

Rather than trying to create two kinds of mix, I recommend developing a balanced voice. This will cause an ideal mix. With time this will give you a mix that is powerful and/or gentle when the music and emotion call for it. It is one mix that has the ability to serve every musical and artistic demand.  

 

I made the same mistakes with my voice. I wanted a more powerful voice, so I added this sound. [Demo]  It took me years to get rid of it.

 

For my friend above here’s the way I’d do that exercise: [Demo] Do it medium volume. Just bratty enough to keep the vocal cords together throughout the exercise. I would say the “Ney” quickly so as to get to the “e” part of “Ney” quickly. It will encourage head voice.

 

When this becomes easy, then do it less bratty and less bratty until you can do a normal “ney”.

 

Then do it with “No” and “Mum”. Work for an easy balance of air and vocal cord muscle. This is the way to real power in your mix. [Demo Power and Gentle]

 

If you liked this video give it a thumbs up, subscribe, and share it with a friend. What about you? Have you added stuff to your voice that you’re trying to eliminate? Tell me about it in the comments section below.

 

Eliminate Unwanted Stuff in Your Voice 

A fast way to begin eliminating unwanted stuff in your voice is to take the vocal test and get your vocal type.

 

Do you know your vocal type? Go to PowerToSing.com and take the vocal test, which I call the PowerTest. Take the quiz and discover your vocal type.

 

Then visit the Knowledge Center and watch the videos about your vocal type. Download the free exercises and start practicing them. They’ll help you progress rapidly.

 

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.

 

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  1. Dear Chuck,
    I’m 78 going on 79. I began singing in the Community Choir in Jan 2015 having never sung before.
    I am now at the stage where I can benefit enormously from your very clear instructions about how to improve and enhance my singing voice.
    I have some excellent books about the basics, and a fine musical director of our public concerts, which raise money for charity, but nothing can compare to the emotional and intellectual understanding that your wonderful, first rate videos provide me, on a personal level. Moreover, I can refer back to them, whenever I wish.
    This video is an excellent example of what I mean, and I see where I have been going wrong straight away.
    Proper job! Thank you so much.
    Charles

    PS: I am quite happy for you to publish my comments.

  2. Thank you so much!! Very helpful! I love your video always! Appreciate it a lot! I also struggle a lot with all the voice definitions… so confusing! If you will get a moment, maybe you could show us how to transfer the way you sound in this exercise into singing actual songs? Because when I warm up it feels like I do it correctly and it sounds like its right, but when I try to sing in a mix (high notes) I either strain my vocal cords (pulling the chest up) or the voice is breaking and flipping into that kinda light mix (no chest) Could you please show us how to transfer from the warm up exercises into singing… Would love to see it from your example.
    Kindly Appreciate it!!!