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How to Sing With Better Timbre

by | May 20, 2019 | Voice | 0 comments

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Recently, someone on Reddit mentioned that his “timbre is trash” and his range was tiny, and he wondered if there was a way to fix it. Since timbre has so many different elements that go into it, it’s impossible to know exactly what needs tweaking in this specific case. But the short answer, is yes, you can definitely improve both your range and timbre. Here’s a quick and dirty rundown on how to sing with better timbre and, as a bonus, how to increase your range as well.

How to Increase Your Range

Lighten Up

Let’s start with range. This can have to do with a number of things. When it comes to my male students, in order to learn to sing higher, they usually need to find a lighter space by thinning out their vocal folds so that their voice carries less “weight” as it gets higher. For some men, it’s worked to start them in falsetto and then work their way down looking for a place to root into a chestier sound without going into a full-fledged heavy chest voice.

Work on Breath Control

Breath control is also really important for range. What happens is that when you control your airflow, pressure will build up beneath your vocal folds, allowing them to vibrate. You need less and less air as you go higher, so if you aren’t really controlling airflow, your vocal folds will just blow open and you won’t hit the higher pitches.

How to Sing With Better Timbre

If Your Voice Lacks Sweetness

You can both sweeten your voice and thin out your vocal folds (giving yourself a more even sound from low to high) by tilting what’s called your thyroid cartilage in your larynx. I know that sounds super intimidating, but you can do it simply by putting a puppy-dog whimper into your notes. You’ll feel this slight tilting sensation, like you’re falling onto the notes instead of going at them horizontally.

If You’re Nasal

If nasality is an issue, you can lift your soft palate, the back of the roof of your mouth. If you suck through a straw, snort, or find that place at the top of a yawn, that’s what it feels like to lift your soft palate. This will also help create some more space in your pharynx, giving you a fuller, less pinched sound.

If Your Voice Lacks Brightness

If your voice lacks brightness and has a dull or hooty quality to it, you can narrow what’s called your aryepiglottic sphincter (the top of your larynx). Again, I know that sounds intimidating, but you can figure it out by singing “nya nya nya” like a bratty kid. It should feel narrow and forward. Keeping the sides of your tongue high and the tip of your tongue forward will also help with this.

Molly Webb

Molly is the founder of Molly’s Music. She is a dedicated singer and pianist whose musical journey spans 2.5 decades, with stops along the way to sing for the pope, pass Certificate of Merit at the highest level, study with Gwen Verdon and Ben Vereen, and record an original album.

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