The Break

I’ll only touch on this briefly as its such a hot topic all the time.
The striation of tissue (that DOES NOT VIBRATE LIKE THE REST OF THE VOCAL CHORDS) has been affectionately called “the break” because it sounds like one. The lightness of the “head” voice stops and the “chest voice” begins right at a place in the middle.

At this exact point no sound happens for a 100th of a second and it seems, as the quality changes form head to chest, that one trips over, or clunks over or smoothes over or SMEERS over (this is when you cover it up and it seems as if its not there, which it still is, of course, anatomically speaking) something.

The vocal break.
Tarzan’s calling card!

The never never land right in the middle of your range.
For some its totally no big deal. A natural quality in the voice not to be worried over or studied. Some people play around with it, use it. Jump over it, pull and stretch it. No big deal!

For some its HELL!

If you are in hell with your break, and you get all scardy cat as you go up your range, like a jittery horse, knowing something you can’t possibly surmount is … coming SOON! And you start pulling your artistic punches, pulling back instead of choosing what’s right for the SONG, the LYRIC and your audience…. this blogs for you!

THE most important thing to remember is….just sing the song. Make that the most important point of focus.
Let your emotion and story telling ability lead the way. And…….(here it comes….)…………………….

…… relax.

Its just a song. You’re just singing. If we hear your break, guess what? We have one, too! So our body recognizes a natural phenomena when it hears one!

ALso, its not ugly OR pretty, it just IS. Its in your vocal anatomy so just get used to it.

To practice controlling the areas on either side of it…pin-point (on the piano) the notes just before it clunks and just after.
Be quiet, soft and relaxed as you plot your break. Allow the vibration to naturally break from one thickness of your vocal muscle to another. Give yourself a bit of time with this. You can do it.

Then practice and strengthen the three notes on either side of the break. In the lower head voice and the mid chest.
Then smeeeer over the break area just for fun… from the top (head) down and from the bottom (chest) up! Play around with these two area’s and get used to the feel of going over that striation of tissue! You’ll sound a bit ‘yoddely’ at first, it’ll bring out the country SANGER in you’all! Go ahead and be Tarzan and learn to love and control the “Oh my god isn’t my break right around here?” zone.

This is just one of MANY little ricks to get yourself nice and friendly with the break area.

Then you can CHOOSE to jump to your head voice (for men “falsetto”) from chest voice.
Or you can CHOOSE to extend, with a little effort, your chest voice. Stretching it past the break area. OR you can pull that falsetto bown below the usual breaking area and get a reall smokey, Mezzo sound.

This came up in a Skype session with a student from Florida yesterday so I thought I’d mention it! LEarning how to traverse the break area is simple part of learning to sing with me. Its never an issue.

Love to all and remember, just because someone once TOLD you you had a “middle voice” its anatomically confusing to say that around your body! Your body only knows whats REAL, not what’s conceptual. So stick with what the body already knows is natural and you’ll stop babying your voice so significantly.

Sing like a kid! Get over yourself!

SIng well and without any fear.

CIao for now.

This is Divy Nelson for

The Singers Daily
May 2009