Black Hole Sun YouTube Singing Tutorial
If you’ve heard Chris Cornell’s acapella version of Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun, no doubt you’ve noticed just how incredible his singing was – and just how difficult this particular song is to sing. Sure, there’s other Soundgarden songs with a higher range, and tons of grit, but Black Hole Sun sits in such a tricky range for many singers that even some of the biggest YouTube vocal coaches come unstuck and start to push and strain by the second or third line. I’ve put together a singing tutorial that will take you through my own cover of Black Hole Sun and show you exactly how to sing like Chris Cornell without pushing and straining.
Keeping an open throat is paramount to singing Black Hole Sun, and developing aspects of your vocal technique like balanced onsets, middle voice and resonance tuning will allow you to sing with absolute ease while building an extensive vocal range.
Learning how to sing like Chris Cornell takes time, perseverance and practice. Are you ready to take your voice to the next level and build the powerful and extensive range required to sing Black Hole Sun?
How to sing Like Chris Cornell
Often the biggest obstacle that budding singers face is their own perception and lack of understanding about how the voice works. Chris Cornell wasn’t pushing and straining, no matter what anyone tells you. As you can see from my Black Hole Sun YouTube tutorial above, singing should be a strain free, easy and joyous pursuit. If something doesn’t feel right, then you’re not doing it right.
The essence of Open Throat Technique is the way that you manage your vowel sounds. As you can see from the Black Hold Sun YouTube video above, my speech vowels are rather different to my singing vowels – while singing and speech make use of the same mechanism, they are ultimately unrelated in their process and application. A great place to start with Open Throat technique is to shape your vowels the same way that Chris Cornell did for a resonant and powerful sound:
Each vowel sound allows a particular frequency to resonate, and in essence creates the illusion of the words that we wish to sing. I bet when you currently try to sing Black Hole Sun you get stuck on certain words, or even the first few words, right? That’s because you’re not shaping your vowel sounds correctly.
Soft Palate Singing Technique
Did you know that there is a special way for the soft palate to sit when you sing vowel sounds? That’s right, the soft palate actually needs to be CLOSED when you sing each vowel sound, essentially blocking any airflow from entering your nose. Now, as you can see from the Black Hole Sun YouTube cover we just watched, the character of your vowel sound actually alters your resonant space, ultimately raising the soft palate while it remains closed, stopping any airflow into your nose as you ascend in range.
If you suffer from a nasally singing voice and a nosey sound when you sing, this is due to an improperly controlled soft palate, which in turn allows airflow through your nose and creates the imbalance in resonant frequencies that you recognise as a nasal singing voice. With proper training of your consonant groups, you will soon learn to toggle the soft palate open and closed where needed to allow momentary release of air through your nose where permitted for certain consonant sounds.
Open Throat Technique
A term that gets thrown around alot in YouTube singing tutorials is Open Throat Singing or Open Throat Technique. Now, while I personally understand how to apply the premise of open throat singing to all me to sing Black Hole Sun with ease, the term itself is abstract and confusing – how can you open your throat when you sing?
Bear with me. To sing with an open throat, or sing with Open Throat Technique, you must first CLOSE the soft palate, achieve CLOSURE of your vocal folds and also impart a narrowed character to your vowel sound as you ascend in range. Open Throat Technique actually requires many elements of closure in your singing voice to function properly.
As you can see from Open Throat Singing, classical singing terms are often archaic or even a figure of speech, so it’s important that you understand the true meaning of each of these terms before trying to apply them in a practical manner when you sing. The idea of Open Throat singing is that you sing without your throat, making a better interpretation of the phrase as Absent Throat Technique.
Singing terms like Open Throat and Appoggio are often hijacked by YouTube gurus selling expensive singing courses for use as their own personal marketing terms – make sure your voice coach can explain to you the practical application of any of these terms, from appoggio to vibrato in a practical and useful manner that doesn’t rely on secrecy or abstract instruction.
A great place to start with Open Throat Technique is the free foundations short courses available here at Bohemian Vocal Studio, and then when you’re ready to take your voice to the next level with professional vocal coaching you can book a Skype Session and we’ll get started developing your voice so you can sing Black Hole Sun with ease!
If you have any questions about singing Black Hole Sun, feel free to leave any feedback or questions below!
Kegan DeBoheme is Bohemian Vocal Studio’s resident vocal coach and voice expert. He teaches professional singing and voice technique to students all around the world and enjoys providing tutorials like this one on how to improve your voice.