How do you recognize who is singing a song without even seeing their face? The answer is TONE and it is simply the distinct character, colour or quality of the (singing) voice.
Two things work together to create the sound you produce: the vocal cords and the spaces through which the sound moves (throat, mouth and head).
While some people are born with light or bright (sweet) tones, others are born with dark (husky) tones. Some find themselves somewhere in between. As a singer, no matter what tone you’re born with, you can produce different vocal colours by mastering the following:
A. HOW YOUR MOUTH IS SHAPED
Your mouth shape and the way you use it can vary the tone your produce per time.
You can produce a dark tone by doing the following:
• Closing lips around the teeth
• Dropping your jaw (this also works for hitting low notes)
• Extending the lips like a kiss
• Getting the tongue in the way while singing
You can brighten your tone by:
• Raising your cheeks and chest
• Keeping your tongue at the base of your jaw but not blocking your throat
• Singing against bared teeth
• Opening the mouth more while singing
A simple way to demonstrate this is to sing a vowel sound and try out these mouth shapes while keeping your volume consistent then hear the difference in the way your voice sounds. In all of this, it’s important that you are relaxed and not forcing sound through because that will create the exact opposite effect of what you want.
B. GENRE OF MUSIC BEING SUNG
The tone for contemporary singing is different from classical therefore, the genre of music being performed determines largely how you deliver it. Classical singing generally requires darker tones while brighter is what obtains in contemporary singing.
C. AIR ADDITION OR REDUCTION
More air released produces a softer (or sometimes breathy) tone while less air released produces a rounder and brighter tone.
On a general note, you can do the following to create a brighter vocal colour:
Sing the vowel sounds while keeping your jaw open at each sound. Chances are that your jaws will close in on the ‘I’ ‘E’and ‘U’ sound. A way around this is to place two (or three) of your fingers or a small-sized apple in your mouth (without biting) as you do this exercise. After a while, sing a line of any song and note the difference. This helps to re-program muscle memory and gives the tongue enough room to work in.
Think Down when singing higher notes. Instead of ‘reaching’ for higher notes while singing, program your mind to think you’re singing a low note. Sing the high notes without pushing through. Not only will you produce a great sound, you totally eliminate strain from your voice.
Tone building exercises are also great for creating a bright and sweet vocal tone. In my online Course titled ‘Improve Your Singing Tone in 30 days’. I demonstrated exercises and techniques you can use to create a richer singing tone.
P.S: I designed a freebie for those who want to be more confident in their vocal delivery. Please click HERE to get it and share it with as many singer friends as you like.
Remember these again:
;Developing a good singing tone comes with consistent exercise and practise.
Tone can be either dark or light depending on how the mouth is shaped and the genre of music being sung.
About Titi Oloyede
I have over 20 years of singing experience. I host Singing Tips
Tuesday on my social media pages and founded The Singing Hub.
I have been featured on reputable music blogs such as 360 Nobs,
Emphatic Dynamo among others.
I have been on several recording projects and stage performances both as a lead and background vocalist within and outside Nigeria. I am passionate about helping singers achieve their dream of delivering top notch vocal performances all of the
Follow me on instagram: @titi.oloyede
Follow me on Facebook: The Singing Hub