One of the oldest tests of vocal technique is called the “Messa di Voce.” In English the translation would literally be “placing the voice.” Basically, the Messa di Voce is performed as follows: a tone is begun at pianissimo (very soft) and then slowly and smoothly swelled to fortissimo (very loud) and then diminished slowly and smoothly back to a pianissimo.
With the Speech-Level-Singing technique, a singer never places their voice at all; they allow the voice place itself. When a singer is first training and developing their technique, it is suggested that they vocalize at a medium (mezzo forte) volume. Once the larynx has been stabilized, and the bridges have been balanced they can find dynamics in singing. When a singer is performing any dynamic changes they don’t physically try to “do” anything. They maintain a comfortable speech-level posture and then intend to sing at a particular volume and allow the voice to swell or diminish accordingly.
The intention of the singer to sing louder sends a signal from the brain which causes a symbiotic increase of air pressure and equal increase in resistance to the air pressure from the vocal folds; this results in a stronger sound wave (louder tone). Obviously, the intention to decrease volume would cause a decrease in air pressure and cord resistance and a softer tone. The muscles that cause changes in volume are involuntary. The singer’s job is not to create volume, their job is to maintain a speech-level posture, and resist the temptation to assist the tone in any way. Beyond this, the intention to get louder or softer is all that is required. Some signs that a speech-level posture has not been maintained during a change in dynamics are: the tone becomes unsteady, vibrato is absent (or the rate of vibrato changes), the pitch falters, the vowel widens, the larynx rises, too much air pressure begins to build up under the cords, or the tone breaks into falsetto.
This blog is not owned or operated by Speech-Level-Singing International, it is owned and operated privately by Guy Babusek. The views expressed herein are strictly his own.