Have you noticed that it is more difficult to sing the way you want in certain vocal areas compared to others? In these areas the voice may change to a different one in an uncontrolled way, which some people refer to as the “voice breaking”, or doing an unintentional yodeling sound.
This does not have to be the case. The skill to be able to sing in a wanted way in the whole vocal range with control is not just the right of certain individuals: anyone can learn to train their voice to work that way.
Challenging Register Changes
One way to explain how the voice works is the register model in which the vocal range is divided into parts. The lower part is called the chest voice, the higher part is called the head voice. The one sitting in the middle of those mentioned before is called the middle register. If a singer has not trained their voice they often experience difficulties in transitioning between different registers.
It is quite common that transitioning from one register to another can be difficult or even impossible to do: the voice may become significantly weaker, singing may feel unpleasant or the voice could feel like it’s totally out of order.
Passaggio, Bridge, Break
In classical singing the transitioning from one register to another is called the passaggio or bridge. Contemporary commercial music singers often use the term “break” that describes the register change. This is heard as an abrupt change of register or the quality of voice.
Every singer’s voice includes register break areas, even when the singer would not recognize them. When a singer has trained to use their instrument in a way that the voice sounds connected and unified throughout the whole range, they have learned to move across these challenging areas in a seamless way. This is a subtle balance of function between the vocal fold vibration, the air flow and the body activation that is reached through activating the functions needed.
There Are Multiple Ways To Move Seamlessly
Depending on what the singer’s goals are, register changes can be practiced in different ways. One singer wants to sing with a speaking like voice throughout the whole range, another one with an opera sound and the third one with a soft voice. Each of these require a different approach, but they all share the need to find the right vocal balance. Often times the whole body is needed in order to accomplish that.
The ability to move flexibly from one register to another opens up new possibilities for the voice – which leads to saying good bye to talking about “problems areas” anymore.