I recently had a singer email me with the following question: “I am a singer, my voice is shrill and not strong. How can make it smooth, deep and strong for singing?”

The Italian School of Singing spoke of creating a voice with what they called “chiaroscuro,” which is a voice with the right blend of bright and dark sounds. Our sound is changeable depending on where we hold the voice in the mouth. You adjust the sound (brightness or darkness) of the voice by where you direct your vocal stream. If the voice is placed too forward, it can be shrill. If the back of the throat is stretched too much and the voice is placed way back in the mouth, the voice can sound dark and woofy. We are looking for a balance of the voice from front to back. Try bringing your voice really forward and saying, “I’m five!” Children and young people have naturally forward voices, as we age the voice tends to move backwards in the mouth. Each singer or actor has to play with moving their voice from front to back until they find a tone that they like. One important requirement is that the air connect with the roof of the mouth. Many languages, like American speech, do not connect sound to the roof of the mouth, the voice floats out over the tongue. The voice needs to connect to the roof of the mouth to balance air pressure coming from below. Try lifting the soft palate by imaging you are smelling a rose and then sing “um” with the lips closed, allowing the sound to vibrate on the hard palate. Once you feel the vibration of the voice on the roof of the mouth, alternate between a closed mouth “um” and opening the mouth to “uh,” still keeping the vibration of sound on the roof of the mouth. This is how singers and speakers find their best tone, if there is no focal point for the voice, no surface for the voice to bounce off the voice can be shrill and unstable.The hard palate, which covers the top 2/3rds of the roof of the mouth, acts as a sounding board for your voice. Having a focus for the voice also extends the breath, similar to the way the breath is extended in ujjayi breathing. Power comes through practice and by never pushing the voice. The more we go within our body for resonance, the greater the power.

5 Comments. Leave new

  • Hy , i need your help. My voice is shrill. i hate my voice please tell me some exercise to improve my voice.

    Reply
    • Hi Natsha,

      A shrill voice is usually due to the mouth being too open or pushing when when you sing. Start with the mouth as closed as you can when you do your scales and don’t over open it as you get higher. The best is to use an E vowel on low notes then go to an A on the middle notes and to an Ah on high notes. The quality of the voice should not change as you get higher. Also, airflow is what gets you higher, don’t push on your voice. The best of luck, Heather

      Reply
  • Hi ,my voice is like women but I am man how am I able to remove it ………Pls tell me I hate it.

    Reply
    • Hi Shubham,

      This happens sometimes. What is needed is for you to get your voice to resonate more in your body. Try imagining when you make sound that you are bringing it down into your body. It is helpful to say “Ma” and then see if you can get the sound to vibrate the bones in your chest. The more the bones vibrate, usually the deeper sounding the voice. You can then play with feeling the voice in your lower spine.

      I hope that helps.

      Best,

      Heather

      Reply
  • Hello,

    I am having trouble with the forward sound (nasopharynx) doing the “wha” sound. I may push way too forward that it makes me tense , and I am left with a too narrow sound, but I don’t know if it is because when I put the sound too forward, I end up closing my velopharyngeal port or constrict my vocal chords. Can you tell me what happens when you push too forward of a sound physiologically so I can understand what is going on.

    Thank you so much,

    best,
    Lulu

    Reply

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