Vocal Folds And How To Use Them When Singing
One of our My Singing Lessons students was singing one of his usual songs during class. However, he wanted to sing in a more edgy and powerful tone, and so I got him to make some adjustments to his singing. Almost immediately, i noticed that his pitching went slightly off key, and he was not really able to grasp his pitches as well as he would have if he were singing in his comfortable usual voice.
Our vocal folds are actually really thin and tiny, and our brain is really pretty smart in figuring out how to tell our vocal folds to behave in certain ways that will allow us to change our vocal tone at will. But, when we start to combine many different things together (for example, vocal tonality, pitch accuracy, rhythm and timing) and we start also to try to move out of our comfort zone for singing, and experiment with new tones that we are not familiar with, then our brains start to get fried and our vocal folds start to go slightly crazy, causing our pitching to go slightly off key.
The technical reasons for this was because I was asking him to make his vocal folds slightly thicker, and also asking him to twang more or even to belt, and these created changes in his vocal fold condition, and possibly causing him to use more breath to ‘push’ when he sang, and thus creating some pitching issues. Certainly, our brain is most adept at learning how to accommodate to these new changes, and over time and also with constant practice, my student will learn to pitch well again even when singing in the new vocal tone.
It is interesting to note though that a lot of these things happen without us having to consciously tell our vocal folds to vibrate at certain frequencies, or to behave in a certain manner. Everything happens automatically, and our brain really is a wonderful work of art! So the next time you experiment with different vocal tones in your singing, just remember that your brain is doing its best to remember what you are doing, so that you can repeat these tones in future and not go off key. 🙂