Ep.36: What is Chest Voice? Part 1 of 2

Ep.36: What is Chest Voice? Part 1 of 2

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.


What is Chest Voice - One of the Vocal Registers

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.

What is Chest Voice - The vocal cords come together firmly

  1. The full length and depth of the vocal cords come together firmly (but not over compressed) and create the sound waves and vibration


What is Chest Voice - The vocal cords are shorter and thicker

2.The vocal cords are shorter and thicker (with more mass) and medium or less tension



What is Chest Voice - The resonance vibrates from chest to mouth

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.


What is Chest Voice - Karen Carpenter was known for her chest voice
Karen Carpenter – Known for her Chest Voice


Where are the Pitches for Chest Voice?

What is Chest Voice - For Men All notes below the E above middle C

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. 


What is Chest Voice -Sometimes we think we are limited to Chest Voice Only
A man’s got to know his limitations.

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.


What is Chest Voice - For Women All notes below the A above middle C

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.




What is Chest Voice -Michael Jackson used head voice instead of chest voice when speaking
Michael Jackson spoke in Head 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


What is Chest Voice -Pavarotti uses head voice extensively in Classical Music and Opera
Pavarotti uses Head Voice extensively


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.


What is Chest Voice -Rap uses chest voice predominately
Notorious B.I.G. Rapper

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.



If you long to do more with your singing it is possible. This is the first and most important message. It is possible to achieve your dreams to sing better, to sing higher, to add beauty, confidence and power to your voice! I know this because I’ve experienced a real change in my voice that has enabled me to reach my dreams and desires to sing and perform and really find happiness and fulfillment! And so have my students. I want to help you do the same!

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