Anybody can sing, but only a few people have a good singing voice that can reach high notes better than others. These singers aren’t born singing that way, though. Most of them underwent rigorous training and constant practice to hone their craft. They have gone through different vocal programs to learn various singing techniques. Using these singing techniques, they know when to apply either their chest voice or head voice. What is head voice and chest voice, anyway?
We’d talk about these two vocal registers in more detail below.
What Is Head Voice?
The head voice is one of the two primary vocal registers of a singer typically used interchangeably throughout a performance. It is the extent of notes on the upper level of your voice, whereas the lower register is the chest voice. When you sing using your head voice, it means that you’re singing in your high register but that does not sound breathy like falsetto singing.
As you reach high notes in a song and you feel the vibration in your head, you’d know you are singing in your head voice or your upper register. Sometimes, it may sound better than belting without using too much effort and power, which can stress your vocal cords.
This is why every singer needs to learn how to use their head voice instead of belting the higher notes to prevent straining their voice. Every singer is required to develop a vocal technique that will allow them to properly utilize airflow for them to use their upper register well.
What Are the Most Common Vocal Mistakes?
Inexperienced and untrained singers often make simple errors that eventually become a habit if not corrected early on.
Here are some of the most common vocal mistakes observed.
1. Poor Posture
Having good posture is crucial to the way your voice sounds. This is because the airflow will not be restricted when your body is aligned correctly.
2. Weak Breathing and Incorrect Breathing Support
Most beginners get sharp intakes of breath, resulting in breathing patterns that are not deep enough to provide proper breath support.
3. Limited Tone Range
Some singers have limited voice range, making it hard to make a smooth transition from one pitch to another.
4. Poor Articulation
Putting too much tension as you enunciate each word in a song dramatically affects the sound that you produce while singing.
5. No Warm-up
Not warming up before any performance is a big mistake, which might result in not hitting the high notes efficiently and would give too much pressure on your voice.
6. Singing Beyond Your Voice Type
Attempting to sing a song that is not suited for your voice will only result in voice cracks and poor performance.
7. Voice Breaks
Every singer has experienced voice breaks. This usually happens when one is trying to reach high notes without first warming up before the performance.
8. Not Practicing
Regular practice sessions are not enough to improve your singing skills if you don't focus on fixing your vocal weaknesses and problems.
9. Singing Too Loud
Singing too loud, to the point of yelling, makes it hard for the singer to smoothly change pitch from low to high. As such, it leads to vocal strains and fatigue.
10. Singing Too Light
Also, singing too light or breathy is another issue concerning singers though some make it their singing style. Their singing does not show any power within their vocal range.
How to Belt Without Pushing It to the Limit
We have mentioned that singing with your head voice is one sure way of preventing fatigue and voice strain. Does it mean that those professional singers who are good at belting are in the habit of stretching their voices every time they perform?
Let us first define what belting means for those who do not have an idea about it. Belting is when you sing high notes using your chest voice instead of transitioning to head register to reach the higher octaves. It produces a loud and powerful tone that may sound like the artist is yelling instead of singing if it is not done correctly.
Here are some tips and tricks you can do so that you can belt without straining your voice.
1. Learn the melody of the song.
Before you try to perform any song, you have to make sure that you know it by heart and have mastered every line and sequence of the song.
2. Use your diaphragm.
You have to have an excellent support system by ensuring that you have mastered the art of singing through the diaphragm.
3. Be confident.
You will not be able to execute the performance effectively if you don't have the right amount of confidence to do it.
4. Mix it up.
The only way for you to belt without the strain and voice cracks is to learn how to mix your chest and head voices when trying to reach high notes.
5. Practice makes perfect.
Real belting does not mean for you to reach a very high note flawlessly without voice cracks and strains. Instead, it means you singing up to a comfortable range. As you continuously practice, you can upgrade to a harder song, stretching your voice further until you reach your desired vocal range.
1. What are the 6 types of voices?
Below are the different voice categories that are classified according to their specific vocal ranges.
With the help of this list, you will have an idea as to the type of singing voice you have.
This category is the lowest singing range for male voice type. It is typically found between E2 to E4, though some can even reach the notes from C2 to G4.
It is the second-lowest voice range for males overlapping bass and tenor. It is typically in between A2 to A4 but can go down to F2 or go up to C5.
The tenor is the highest voice range in the male voice types. Tenors can comfortably sing between C3 and C5.
The alto is the lowest voice range among female voice types who has a full and rich lower register and typically sings between F3 to F5.
The middle voice range for females is called mezzo-soprano, which can overlap the alto or the soprano and can sing between A3 and A5.
The soprano voice type can comfortably sing between C4 and C6 and is considered as the highest voice range among female voices.
2. Is head voice bad?
Using the head voice is not bad as it helps in preventing fatigue and voice strain. The produced sound is also more smooth-sounding as compared to yelling when trying to hit the high notes.
3. Is head voice the same as falsetto?
Falsetto may sound similar to a head voice, but they are two different voice registers. When singing falsetto you produce a thin and weak sound using the delicate linings of the vocal cords. On the other hand, the head voice has a more convincing and fuller sound as it uses a controlled airflow for a more vibrant tone.
4. Should you sing in your head voice?
Yes, you should sing in your head voice, especially when the note is on the upper range. When you do, you can produce a smoother sounding tone and prevent too much pressure on your vocal cords.
5. How do I hit my head voice?
Singing using your head voice is a singing technique used by professionals to hit high notes in a song without putting too much pressure on their vocal cords. Mastering the use of the head voice can be achieved through constant practice and requires effort and dedication from the individual.
Below are some tips on how to sing using the head voice.
Breathe and Relax
Any kind of breathing exercises combined with diaphragm singing can significantly help your vocal training. It provides you with the ability to hold a note and allows you to practice breath control, as well. To relax is more of a mental exercise where you are required to clear your mind so that you can focus on the notes of a song and sing it with confidence.
Communicate Using Your Head Voice
Learn how to speak using your head voice by saying the phrase "Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin" to enhance the speed by which you transition from the natural sound to the head register.
Find Your Comfortable Voice
The objective of breathing exercises and constant practice is for you to find your most comfortable voice register and improve it without straining and forcing the vocal cords.
Sigh While Yawning
This exaggerated sigh is a straightforward exercise that you can do to improve your head sound.
Listen to Other Singers
You can also explore and listen to other artists and get some inspiration from the way they sing and how they utilize their vocal range.
Keep It Simple
In anything that we do, it is always in our best interest to start from something simple. Once you feel that you are ready for the next step, then you can upgrade to a different level to enhance your skill.
Hum the Letter "M"
Another simple exercise for you to be able to sing with your head voice is by humming the letter "M". Do this while the mouth is open, and the tongue is resting on the upper jaw.
Try to smile somehow as you sing or imagine that you are smiling. This elevates the pallet, allowing the air to move around without too much pressure freely.
Since singing using your head voice is your ultimate goal, you might as well practice it every chance you get until it becomes second nature to you.
Knowing what is head voice and how to use it in singing plays a significant role in your desire to enhance your singing techniques and ability. The main goal is for you to be able to transition from your chest voice to your head voice without too much effort. Transitioning from one voice register to the other should be as relaxed as possible and unnoticeable by the audience. You can always try other breathing exercises that will help improve your singing.