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Ep.29: How to Sing – Fix Abrupt Changes in Tone

Ep.29: How to Sing – Fix Abrupt Changes in Tone


Even the most experienced singers who know how to sing have had their voices crack or break while singing.

How to Sing - Fix Abrupt Changes in Tone
A young Mariah Carey cracks on a high note!

Often singers can feel a break starting to happen as they sing higher or lower. To avoid or cover up the break they suddenly go very light or heavy. This can be as embarrassing and distracting as a break or crack.


Inside this video, find out why this happens and how to sing without the abrupt changes in the tone quality in your voice.


Hi, I’m Chuck Gilmore with Power To Sing.


Learning how to sing without the abrupt changes in tone can be very challenging. First, why does this happen?


In Episodes 27 and 28, I mentioned several reasons why we get breaks, cracks and flips even into falsetto when we don’t want it.


Some of the most common reasons include

  • A rising larynx
  • An open or wide vowel
  • Too much vocal cord thickness
  • Blasting too much air
  • Singing too loud
  • Poor breath support


Sometimes singers are already in falsetto and are trying to get back into chest voice but crack while reconnecting into chest.


All of these engage the external muscles of the neck and throat which squeezes the vocal cords causing more tension and reach.

How to Sing - Fix Abrupt Changes in Tone by not squeezing!


Getting into this trouble many singers break into falsetto because they have to. Or, they’ll suddenly go lighter or heavier in order to prevent the crack as they sing the notes.


Even if they don’t break there’s still an unwanted change in the tone quality, intensity and flow which detracts from their singing and performance.


The problem with this is the sudden change is really obvious to everyone…unless they cover it up with some kind of style effect or unusual vocal inflection…or they move the mic closer or further away. Anything to make the problem seem less obvious.


What’s the solution to all this? Two things will solve the majority of these problems.


  1. A stable and resting larynx
  2. Maintaining connected vocal cords


How to Sing – Fix the Abrupt Changes in Tone with a Stable Larynx


Here are two exercises to encourage a resting Larynx and connected vocal cords.


  • Lip and/or Tongue Trill
  • Dopey Gee


Use these exercises on a 5-Tone scale like this. [Demo both]


For men, you should start on the bottom note on g below middle c and do the exercise 6 more half-steps until your starting pitch is the C#4.


For women, start on the bottom note at middle c and also go up 6 more half-steps until the starting pitch is the F#4.


The second exercise, the Dopey Gee, will provide the same benefit. [Vocal Demo].


Both the above exercises encourage a low and resting larynx.


A second way is to use the exercises in the song itself in the trouble spots. [Vocal Demo]


How to Sing – Fix the Abrupt Changes in Tone with Connected Vocal Cords


A third exercise can be used to help maintain connected vocal cords. However, the larynx is raised higher than your speech level on this particular exercise.


  • Bratty Ney


Use this exercise on the same pitches as in the previous exercises and in the song where you’re having trouble. [Vocal Demo]


As soon as you can keep your cords connected, discontinue the bratty sound.


Sometimes singers are so frightened as they feel the crack coming on, they habitually lighten up or go breathy. This becomes such a habit that this is how they sing every song.


The “Bratty Ney” is a great way to retrain the vocal cords to stay firm and connected. In this case you may need to add a little more volume, being careful to keep that bratty sound as you do.


If you suddenly go light or breathy when you sing to avoid the break, it’s possible your vocal type is Flip-Falsetto. There are exercises just for you in the Knowledge Center at PowerToSing.com.


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 immediately discover your vocal type. Then visit the Knowledge Center and learn about your vocal type. Download the exercises for your vocal type and immediately begin to improve 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.


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