And I'll give you a chance to ask questions later, but our question for this week comes from Felicity M. in Santa Cruz, Aruba and Felicity writes, "Dear Justin, I've been told if I could sing Messa Di Voce I'd become a vocal god. What do you think?"
Well Felicity that's just an awesome question. And yes messa di voce is one of the most coveted skills in all of singing. It's so difficult that when we can do it we do become a kind of vocal hero or vocal heroine and our voice takes on a quality that's almost divine.
And the Italian word "messa" means "to place" or "put" and "di voce" means "the voice". It's different from "vocal placement". But this is kind of saying, if I can do that skill well I can "put" my voice wherever the heck I want. [hits piano]
But let's talk about why we need to learn messa di voce. Messa di voce emerges from the classical tradition. But really it's not just for classical singers. All singers can benefit by working on messa di voce.
Now, later we're going to do an exercise for it. But think of it this way, if we can go from soft to loud to soft and back, we have control over our vocal cords. This is the very same thing we're trying to do when we work on the mix.
We also talk on the show a lot about laryngeal control. Singers who have mastery over multiple larynx positions tend to be good at messa di voce and vice-versa. So it's great for your laryngeal control.
Finally, it's great for your soulfulness. It's easy for me to say, "to indeed be a god [softly] or, "to indeed be a god" [loudly] or, "to indeed be a god". [shouts] That's easy to do in the speaking voice. But can we have that kind of dynamic and soulful control over our singing voice? That's what messa di voce can bring.
And so next we're going to look at it in a song. Now the song I chose is, "Bring Him Home" from Les Mis. And Felicity, this has a kind of heavenly and prayerful quality to it. And it's really a perfect song for demonstrating how messa di voice can bring a song to life. So let's have some fun with "Bring Him Home".
And you hear how that push-pull of messa di voce gives this song life. Now it's very pretty just doing it softly... "God on high, hear my prayer" But compared to the messa di voce it doesn't have the same life.
The first pillar is breath control. To master messa di voce we're going to need control over our breathing. Yes, when you get louder you need more air and when you get softer you need less. That's how singing works.
But we don't want to be blasting the air to get louder. ♪ Ah ♪ Right? We want... ♪ Ah ♪ I press gently on the gas pedal for that crescendo and then gently take the gas pedal away for the exhale. So it's going to be very subtle. A little bit of pressure goes a long way.
Something like... ♪ Ah ♪ Where the pitch goes up and I didn't mean to. Or... ♪ Ah ♪ And when I take away the volume the pitch goes flat. And I didn't mean to. It's pretty difficult to keep.... ♪ Ah ♪ ...the exact same pitch as the volume changes. So really be mindful of your pitch when you're working on messa di voce.
Next pillar, compression control. In singing, we have a tendency for our soft sounds to be too light, too breathy. And our loud sounds to be too squeezy, too tough. And this is what makes messa di voce so hard.
And then the hardest part of messa di voce is coming back. ♪ Ah ♪ We don't want to go too far loosening. We want... ♪ Ah ♪ compression to stay on duty as the air and volume is taken away. That's the hardest part.
But as we move from soft to loud, you might feel a little larynx movement and vice versa. ♪ Ah ♪ There might be a little bit of drop on the louder sounds and a little bit of raise on the softer sounds. A little is okay, but try to minimize it as much as possible.
The softer sounds have a sort of chestier airflow ♪ Ah ♪ And then as the crescendo happens ♪ Ah ♪ it becomes more absorbent in the head. So it really reverses the instinct of the voice. Which is why it's so hard to do.
So there's your five pillars of messa di voce. And now we're going to try it on an exercise.
The exercise will be HAH-EH-EE-EH-HAH. On, of course, a single note. For our messa di voce exercise we're really going to let vowels be our friend. And use stronger vowels for our softer sounds and headier more stable vowels for our louder sounds. Really reversing the tendencies.
Fantastic work. We just got one more to do and I want you to keep in mind all those principles, alright. You're going to control the breath. You're going to feel the change in compression. You're going to notice your larynx's stability. You're going to feel that resonance move up and in on the strong one. And of course, watch your pitch.
Here we go with the last... ♪ HAH - EH - EE - EH - HAH ♪ ♪ HAH ♪
Awesome, awesome work. So I hope Felicity and all that you are feeling heavenly. I hope you are feeling divine. I hope you are feeling like vocal heroes. Because if you've done this messa di voce, you really are.
If you're looking for a vocal course to do at home, you can download the Voice Lessons To The World Vocal Course. This is a 12-part course that takes you on a singing journey from beginning to master. Hundreds of vocal exercises that you can do at home, or in your car, wherever you may be.
What's bright and dark? Well, there's the note that we're singing or speaking and then there's overtones above that note. And if we emphasize the higher overtones it sounds brighter. If we emphasize the lower overtones it sounds darker.
Lifting the tongue root like in an E vowel is another thing to make it sound brighter. And then lowering the soft palate using nasal resonance is another element related to brightness. It doesn't have to but it's a part of our brightness.
It's super important that you find twang in your speaking voice before you find it in your singing voice. Because if you can do it with your speech it becomes very easy to translate to your singing. However, if you can't do it in your speech it's rather difficult to apply to your singing.
Or you might try an auctioneer. Twenty five, twenty five do I hear twenty five, Twenty five to that man over there. Thirty, thirty, do I hear thirty, thirty to that woman in the back. Forty, forty, anybody forty, forty sold to Sergey M. in Murmans, Russia.
Or you might do a robot character. Hello my name is Justin Stoney and I'm the founder of New York Vocal Coaching here in New York City. Don't lose that joy, don't lose that passion, don't let people tell you that you can't sing you and I both know that's just not true.
Or maybe the best one would be a nerd character. Um, well, I just thought that maybe we would have a voice lesson and then after that we could go get our allergy shots or maybe see a movie, I mean whichever one you might think would be better to do. [hits piano]
So if I take "nan", for example, ♪ Nan ♪ I start to find that edge, that cord closure within the twang. Then I go back over into my song... ♪ I am titanium ♪ And then all of a sudden I can start to get that belt happening up on upper notes.
Then, brightness independent of other factors. I don't want to have to spread to be bright. I don't want to have to crank the larynx sky high to be bright. I don't even want to have to use nasal resonance to be bright. Nope, those things are different.
*訳注：先ほども出てきましたが "Apple" の "A" と同じ母音なので「ナーン」と「ネーン」の中間くらいの音ですね。ジャスティンの発音を真似してやってみてください。
With this one we're going to have guys and ladies on the same pitch. Not up and down the octave, but the same pitch. So we're going to be starting too low for most ladies, and going too high for most guys.
It's okay to flip to falsetto, it's okay to flip to head voice. But if you can, stay in a mix. It's not going to be too loud. We're just going to keep it really bad sounding, really twangy. That's really the purpose of this exercise.
Fantastic work with those twanged up sounds! So it's been a great day finding out what twang is, how it can be used in the speaking voice, the singing voice, the benefits of it, and then you guys did such a great job adding some of those qualities to your voice.
You also might be interested in our Voice Lessons To The World Vocal Course. This is a 12-part vocal course with hundreds of vocal exercises, it's a good resource for you on your journey from beginning to master singer. To download the course go to www.VoiceLessonsToTheWorld.com.
Finally, if you'd like free vocal tips sent to your email every single day you can sign up at www.DailyVocalTips.com. Fresh vocal tips delivered to you from your good old pals at New York Vocal Coaching every single day.
In singing, good breath support is foundationalto everything that we do. Now what does that mean? That means don't go slamming a bunch of air at the vocal cords. Any civilian can exhale, but a singer knows how to release a small steady breath when they sing.
Now we know from episode 1 of the show that there's different kinds of breathing types. There's clavicular, there's rib, and there's belly. Whatever breathing system you choose, make sure you're not taking in too much and make sure that the air you let out is small and smooth.
Vocal registers are things like head voice, chest voice, mix, falsetto, different territories of your voice. Your head voice is kind of like your flexibility and your chest voice is kind of like your strength.
The mistake that singers make is only developing one of the registers. So a singer says, "♪ I ♪ would like the power of chest voice" and only does chest voice. Or another singer says "♪ I ♪ would like the sound of head voice" and only does head voice. Another singer says, ♪ I wanna rock and mix ♪ and only works on their mix voice.
Your larynx is essentially the house for your vocal cords. So when people say don't sing from the throat, really they mean don't strain. You have to sing from your throat. [Hits piano] That's exactly where the sound making happens.
Now if you remember from episode 4 of Voice Lessons To The World, we talked about larynx and style. I'm at an opera birthday party... ♪ Happy birthday to you ♪ I'm at a choral birthday party... ♪ Happy birthday to you ♪ I'm at a musical theatre birthday party... ♪ Happy birthday to you ♪ I'm at a pop birthday party... ♪ Happy birthday to you ♪ I'm at a rock birthday party... ♪ Happy birthday to you ♪ And I have different styles that I can do with different positions of my larynx.
Maybe shoulders are raising or maybe the sternocleidomastoids (whoa) are squeezing. Maybe my jaw is coming a little bit too far forward or maybe from NBC Nightly News my tongue is pulling too far back. Um, Miss Piggy, are my digastric muscles too tight? And we want to take these physical tensions and basically say "hiyah!" to them.
Now nasal resonance does not mean sounding nasal. As we talked about in episode two of the show. If I want to sound "nasal" I can widen the embouchure, I can raise my larynx, or I can even narrow my epiglottic sphincter.
One of the hardest things to do in life is just to be ourselves. And vowels have this very same problem.
We've talked already about a few vowels on the show. The e vowel and the O vowel. And if I take the E vowel something like this might happen... ♪ Me ♪ It changed to "ih" at the top. But really I wanted... ♪ Me ♪ ...the vowel to stay itself and not shift to "ih".
Now there's times to modify our vowels for all kinds of different reasons. But our step one is to make sure that we're singing pure vowels in our technique and also in our song work. Making sure that the vowels are themselves.
Look, quite frankly, singing is one of the most amazing things that we can do. It's our bodies and our spirits expressing what's inside us that needs to come out. It's one of the greatest opportunities we'll ever have in life.
So I want you to promise me that you don't let friends or familyor enemies or voices in your head talk you out of it and say... "Oh no maybe I shouldn't do this." No, you need to sing for you and you need to sing for joy.
I also encourage you to download our vocal course. This is a 12-part course that takes you on a journey from beginning singer to master singer. Hundreds and hundreds of vocal exercises that will help you reinforce these concepts and grow with your voice. To check that out you can visit www.VoiceLessonsToTheWorld.com.
Now Daquan, thank you so much for that awesome question. Because we get this question all the time which makes me know you guys are thirsty for more vocal information. Hungry for a vocal course designed just for you.
So there it is, our vocal course. We are so, so excited about it. And I hope that you are so, so excited about it too. Because, you know, people always ask me- Justin don't you ever miss performing? And I say no I don't! Because I am hopelessly devoted to you as singers.
That's the feeling that I get from this, is that now something that I've created is going to be benefiting all of you. And so as a teaching artist, I'm so thrilled that this is going to be out there for you all to enjoy.
So let's talk about what you can expect in the vocal course.
This vocal course is truly epic. Twelve whole parts! Three beginner, three intermediate, three advanced, three master. Hours and hours of content, hundreds of vocal exercises. There's a male course and also a female course.
And we're going to cover every topic that you could want. Chest voice, mix, head voice, falsetto, flageolet, vocal fry, growls, riffs and agility, vibrato, straight tone, every vowel, every kind of sound that you could want to make on all kinds of patterns.
And now next let's talk about how to get the vocal course.
Downloading the vocal course could not be easier. All you have to do is go to www.VoiceLessonsToTheWorld.com. And all the information and instructions and download is right there so that you can get the course.
Now I know other vocal courses make you get the entire course. But we didn't think that would be fair to you guys so you're welcome to get the entire vocal course or you can get different levels or even different sections so that you can really tailor make the course for what is best for you. We thought that would be a great thing to give you options.
Think of it as a resource. I know it's a great course, I know you're going to learn a lot. I know you're going to make huge improvements to your voice and you're going to have a heck of a lot of fun doing it. That's what it's all about.
So as long as you think of the vocal course that way, I know it's going to really benefit your singing.
Also I don't want you guys thinking this is the end of Voice Lessons To The World. No no no, this is just the beginning. And I will be teaching until I ascend from the piano bench. So don't worry, we're just getting started.
Now Rodrigo that's a spectacular question. Because we work very hard on our vibrato. We've talked about it in lessons in the past and I know we're gonna talk about it more in the future. Vibrato is very important.
A vibrato note, however, does. Take a listen... ♪ Ah ♪ Those are small little pitch bends. Not... ♪ Ah ♪ Not enough to move the pitch away from its fundamental note. ♪ Ah ♪ But, little baby pitch movements within that note.
And we want to be able to control our voices like that. To say I'm choosing to do straight tone or I'm choosing to do vibrato. This gives us a lot of control not just technically but also stylistically.
It's very interesting to me that in the world of voice somehow people started getting the notion that vibrato is the natural way to sing and straight tone is not natural and sometimes people even think that it's unhealthy for the voice, that it's damaging for the voice, and it's simply not true.
But this is not to suggest that vibrato is a kind of thing of the past and straight tone is something of the present and contemporary styles. In fact straight tone dates back hundreds if not thousands of years.
You hear it in a lot of world music and folks music, emerging from different cultures. You hear it in things like Gregorian chants. And even in the classical world, things like baroque and the choral tradition. They all have straight tone present in the sound.
Now, modern examples would be things like pop, rock, R&B, musical theatre, bluegrass, and Rodrigo, you mentioned jazz! Which is definitely a style that uses a lot of straight tone. In fact, jazz would be a style where sometimes singers sing exclusively with straight tone.
So what I'm gonna do here with this song is try my very best to sing with all straight tone, no vibrato at all for the entire piece. Just to give us a sense of what that would sound like to sing with literally zero vibrato. Now jazz is a good style to do that with.
So next I'm going to give you some tips on how to sing with straight tone. And then we're gonna look at an exercise.
There's gonna be two kinds of singers watching this video. Those like you, Rodrigo, who've been doing vibrato for so long that straight tone has actually become difficult to do. And then there's also going to be those who find straight tone rather easy but would like to improve their control over that straight tone.
Try changing the circumstances so that you're not in the same place where vibrato is present in your voice. Learn it in the foreign circumstance and then bring it back to where you're used to singing. That's for those who find straight tone difficult.
For those who'd like to improve their straight tone- sameness is actually going to be the answer.
We need to have sameness of breath. With straight tone breath support becomes even more important. Taking that low breath, and then letting it out slowly but also steadily. Blasts of air, changes of air, will affect the pitch. We really have to master that small steady breath even more for straight tone.
Other elements of sameness are going to be- larynx postion. Doesn't matter which larynx you pick, but you're going to have to keep it relatively the same or else straight tone becomes quite difficult to do.
Or if you like these videos you can download our free app for iPad, iPhone, and hopefully more in the future. Or visit www.VoiceLessonsToTheWorld.com. There's so many great resources, articles, tips, videos, things to help you improve as a singer.