How To Sing Powerful Notes In Your Mixed Voice
by C. R. Dick
How can you sing with a pop sound through the passagio and not break into a classical operatic sound?
From The Editor
This is a wonderful question, and arguably one of the more important parts of your voice to develop.
What your looking for here is commonly referred to as "mixed" voice or "the mix".
What this means is you're singing in a similar coordination to when you're in head voice (with your vocal cords "zipped up" or "shortened"), but your resonance is split...
... Half in the mouth and half in the head.
Ok, let me back up and explain for a second. As what I just said was getting a little technical!
First, here's what I mean by singing on a zipped up vocal cord.
When you sing up through your range, you'll get to the point where the full length of your vocal cord cannot vibrate fast enough to get the notes as you get higher.
So in order to get the higher notes, it needs to make an adjustment.
What happens is it "shortens" in length. Just think about this as if you were playing a guitar.
When you "fret" the strings, you're making them shorter. This causes them to vibrate faster, and therefore hit a higher note.
It's the same with a piano. The higher the note, the shorter the string (if you look inside the piano).
So when you're in your mixed voice or your head voice, you're vocal cords will have shortened and you'll be singing on a smaller length of vocal cord.
When I'm talking about the resonance, I'm meaning where your sound is vibrating.
So when you're in your head voice, most of your sound is vibrating up the top of your head.
To get into mixed voice you need a slightly different positioning when it comes to the resonance.
You need to have some of your sound vibrating in your mouth, as well as some in your head.
The key is to find this balance without your vocal cords breaking apart (going into falsetto) or "pushing" your vocal cords to get the note using the full length of the cords.
So how do you do this?
Well there are certain singing exercises that make this transition possible.
I must mention though, finding your mix is one of the more difficult parts of singing.
But it's also one of the most worthwhile skills to develop, as in your mixed voice you can sing wonderful high notes that are powerful and sweet in tone quality.
One of the exercises that many singers first discover their mix in is the "lip roll".
This is because this exercise takes the strain off your voice, and allows you to move up through your vocal registers very smoothly.
If you practice this exercise you'll be able to gently experiment with "leaning into" your notes and moving some of the head resonance into your mouth.
On the video section of this website you'll find a video demonstration of the lip roll exercise, as well as many more that will help you discover your mix.