Belting is the high-wire act of singing. To vocalize intense high notes while not falling into vocal stress and shouting requires a precise balancing of resonances.
In this episode, John discusses the acoustic aspect of belting to help you better navigate this sought-after vocal skill.
- What is belting
- How belting works
- Proper belting techniques
Let’s get started!
What is Belting?
When you think of belting, you might think of Broadway musical theater or your favorite pop songs. But have you ever wondered what belting is?
For John, belting is a high-wire act for singers who skate right on the cliff’s edge of impending vocal disaster. These can happen when a singer belts, whether overstressing the singing voice or missing the note. Other people think of belting when creating two sounds at once: a chest voice sound and a head voice sound.
How Belting Works
You’ve probably heard more than one singer go for a big belted note, and it doesn’t quite work out. When you are trying to produce a belt voice, it has this balance between intensity on your voice which is helped by using muscles within the vocal folds. These are called the thyroid retinoid muscles.
When a singer belts, they’re kicking in a little more of the muscle to fatten up the cords. You’re also holding back more air so that when the sound wave comes out, it’s stronger.
If you feel that bump that goes up and down when you swallow, that is your larynx. And everything above your thicker vocal folds up your throat, through your tongue, mouth, and lips is the trumpet.
Take note: it’s vital that you filter the sound wave, which will bounce around inside it optimally.
Proper Belting Techniques
If you want to achieve a smoother style or a more classical singing style, you can use your vocal track. You can achieve this by pulling down the high frequencies in the sound.
However, most classical singers, when belting, want to boost the high frequencies. As a result, the resonators will take different shapes, which are called convergent and divergent resonators.
As the name suggests, this belt singing technique means coming together.
The sounds are created when air passes through the larynx and vibrates the vocal cords. The air travels up through the mouth, shaped by the tongue, teeth, and lips. This air shaping causes it to resonate at certain frequencies, producing the desired singing voice.
On the other hand, divergent resonators mean moving away from each other.
The sounds are created when air passes over an obstruction in the mouth, such as the teeth or tongue. This obstruction causes the air to become turbulent, which produces a buzzing sound.
And in a typical practice session, you can use each proper classical technique. Start by using a little more as you warm up in the convergent resonator and just those lighter sounds. Then, go a little more divergent and get into the vocal belting work.
Putting It All Together
I hope this episode has helped to clear up some of the mystery behind belting and given you a few ideas on how to use it in your own performances.
Remember to be patient and let the voice crack rather than yell. As you belt, your resonance strategy is going to change. Take time to experiment and find what works best for you- there is no one perfect way to belt.
Check our website for more information on a vocal lesson and getting a voice teacher. Also, be sure never to miss an episode!