The Differences With Your Recorded Voice
As a voice student it is often shocking to hear a recorded playback of your singing. It often sounds dramatically different than how it sounded in your head. This is because we hear our own voices very differently than the voices of others.
When we listen to someone else talk or sing we are hearing the sound waves vibrating through the air. These vibrations travel directly from the singer or speaker to our ears, giving us the full spectrum of sound.
When we are the ones talking or singing we are hearing some of the sound in the air, but we are also hearing sound that is vibrating in our head. Sound waves travel through the bones in our skull to the inner ear, giving us very different sounds.
No one else but us hears this particular sound.
Talking vs. Singing
Singing changes this experience even more. Low pitches (as in speech or chest voice) travel in all directions, so some of the sound travels directly back across our face to the ear.
It’s just like the popular sound systems that have very small speakers and a separate bass module.
You can place the bass module practically anywhere in the room because low frequencies are omni-directional, meaning they travel everywhere.
The small speakers have to be mounted and pointed toward the listening area. That’s because the higher frequencies created by these speakers are directional. They travel in a straight line wherever they are pointed.
When we sing high pitches they shoot out in one direction, the sound travels straight forward from our mouth. Most of the sound our ears hear directly are reflections as the high frequencies bounce off a surface like a wall right back to us.
Our bones also don’t transmit higher frequencies very efficiently so we also get less of the sound traveling to the inner ear. This is another reason why high pitches are harder to sing, we simply don’t hear them as well.
The listener however has a very different experience when listening to us sing high pitches. These sound waves shoot straight towards them, so the higher pitches are very powerful to them.
Got To Have Feel!
Singers often make the mistake of trying to make high pitches sound as intense to them as they do to the audience. This causes the singer to use excess muscle and to strain.
The key is to learn what correct high pitches sound and especially feel like when singing. The experience is usually very different from what the beginning singer expects. The notes are often lighter feeling than you would think, due to the way sound works.
Don’t worry though, correctly sung high notes may not feel as big, but they sound huge to the listener.
A skilled voice teacher can guide you into the correct balance for high notes. Your job is to not only remember the coordination necessary but to take a mental snapshot of those sensations.
Get these sensations into your nervous system and you are well on your way to nailing those high notes.