Ep.36: What is Chest Voice? Part 1 of 2
What is Chest Voice? Why do we have such a hard time getting into or out of Chest Voice. You might even be asking, “Is there’s anything higher than chest voice other than falsetto?
The answer to these questions will help you better understand your voice and improve your singing!
Hi! I’m Chuck Gilmore with Power To Sing.
What is Chest Voice?
Chest Voice is one of the vocal registers in your voice. A vocal register is an area in the voice. Chest voice is the lowest or bottom register in your voice. It’s comprised of the lowest notes you can sing up to the next higher register.
The next higher register has various names. It’s sometimes called middle, or the bridge, or the passaggio, or the break area of your voice.
Above the middle register (or the Bridge) is the Head Voice.
Physically What Happens When we Sing in Chest Voice?
When we sing in ideal chest voice three things are happening.
- The full length and depth of the vocal cords come together firmly (but not over compressed) and create the sound waves and vibration
2.The vocal cords are shorter and thicker (with more mass) and medium or less tension
3. The resonance, started by the vocal cords, vibrates from the chest to the roof of the mouth (the hard palate). The lower overtones creates a richer, deeper and fuller sound which anchors and colors the entire voice.
Where are the Pitches for Chest Voice?
Most men’s chest notes are notes below the E above Middle C on the piano.
For men, the chest voice represents the most notes in our voices. Most men speak in chest voice.
Since the vocal change at puberty, we lose the easy access to head voice. Many men don’t know that it’s possible to sing into head voice without straining or breaking into falsetto.
For example, you may not know that this is possible. [Vocal Demo] That’s beginning to enter into the next area of my voice. For many years I didn’t know that I could do that. I would do it like this: [Vocal Demo] And it felt like the top.
But now I’ve learned how to do the following which is very important to know it is possible. It’s what’s after chest voice or what’s above chest voice. Just immediately above chest is this middle area called the Bridge. And above the bridge, or once you get through that bridge then is head voice. The bridge is where chest and head start to mix together. [Vocal Demo]
Now I didn’t know that was possible. It’s important to know that.
For most women the chest notes are below the A above Middle C on the piano.
For women and children, the chest voice represents the fewest notes in their voices. It’s probable most women speak in chest voice.
But I’ve had a few female students who speak in head voice. In my opinion, it’s ideal for all our voices to speak in chest voice. Perhaps you remember Michael Jackson’s voice. He spoke in head voice.
Chest Voice is Used in Virtually Every Song for both Men and Women
Different genres of music will use chest more or less than others. For example, Pop music has a lot of chest. Classical music has much more head voice than Pop or Jazz.
But most every genre of music includes notes we must sing in chest, middle and head voice. Otherwise without a variety of pitches in chest and head voice, the songs risk being boring. Some genres seem to spend most of their time in the chest voice. For example, Rap captivates you with the lyrics and rhythms but are often all in chest voice.
In the next episode I’ll talk about some common problems with chest voice including pulling chest voice too high, which is a vocal type, by the way, Pulled Chest/High Larynx.
Do you know your vocal type? I’m not referring to whether you’re soprano, alto, tenor or bass. Your vocal type is what you tend to do when you sing.
Visit PowerToSing.com and take the vocal test, which I call the PowerTest. Take the quiz and discover your vocal type. Then go to the Knowledge Center and learn all about your vocal type. Download the exercises designed specifically for your voice.
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.