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- March 11, 2017 at 5:28 pm #535333J.P. KentrosParticipant
I’m at a loss and I can’t find any literature on this very specific thing…
I have a Bass in my choir, he is an 11th grader (so 16 or 17 years old), who can sing a Low D by “inhaling” while phonating. He can go even lower while doing it… but I asked him to stop because I didn’t know if it was healthy or not.
The student can control the pitch incredibly well while he’s doing it. I had no idea that he was even doing something different… it just sounded like him. He is the one who approached me asking if this is something he should be doing or not. When he showed me that he was creating the sound while breathing in, instead of out, my mind was blown.
I told him I would do some research and we will figure it out…. but now I can’t find any writing on the matter… It seems pretty rare and specific.
Any thoughts or ideas on where I can get some knowledge about the matter?
Thank you very much for your time!
J.P. KentrosMarch 12, 2017 at 9:09 am #535337Michael J. SeredickParticipant
Do not encourage him to continue doing what you describe. I always improved the sound of my bass section by emphasizing warm-ups in their upper range. Work the upper range and the low notes happen with comfort.
Flashing back to repertoire I chose for high school choirs, I don’t recall an abundant number of low D’s. Singing low is not an indication of Bass Manhood anymore than singing high for a Tenor is an indication of Slow Puberty. Choose your repertoire carefully. I always favored Renaissance composers for high school choirs. Singing center-pitch with focus on blend, limited range, dynamics, breath control, diction and dynamics are important building blocks to enjoying choral music at age 17, and beyond. I also favored unaccompanied choral arrangements.
If the boy you describe continues exploring his unorthodox technique, others around him may be challenged to do the same. That’s not good for you, or your roster. Best solution? Your choice of warm-ups and repertoire.
Broadview Heights, OhioMarch 12, 2017 at 10:21 am #535338kelly birgfeldParticipant
He isn’t technically “singing” that way, it’s most likely a vocal fry/edge vibration which isn’t overtly harmful but it’s not a true tone with the vocal fold closing as they are slack when they are vibrating. Add a little constriction in the throat and you can control it but not too much!
His folds are likely not thick/long enough to actually hit the tone in a real approximated way so he figured something out…. good for him lol! 🙂
It isn’t the greatest tone to produce so I wouldn’t encourage him to do it (very drying!), on top of it there won’t much resonance to hear so it won’t add much to your ensemble anyway!
Hope that helps…March 12, 2017 at 4:03 pm #535343Craig HawkinsParticipant
This is something that I’ve done since I was a young boy. I can’t explain how I do it, I just know that I can. I’ve never tried singing while inhaling, however. I don’t believe that this is harmful if not done for extended periods of time. I wouldn’t encourage him, but at the same time I wouldn’t cause him to worry either.
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