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Open Throat Singing Technique

Open Throat Singing Technique

How to sing with an Open Throat is a hotly debated topic in singing, and one that I’ll tell you a little secret about – good singing often requires you to sing closed. In this singing tutorial I’m going to explain the true meaning of the Italian singing term La Gola Aperta, which is literally translated as “The Open Throat” – and how this well meaning figure of speech and simple process for building a powerfully resonant singing voice has been turned into a marketing term for expensive vocal courses by singing gurus who package techniques like Open Throat, Appoggio and Compression into the ‘secret’ to great singing, and that only they can teach you these secrets.

Open Throat singing requires you to close your soft palate, close your vocal chords and often sing with a narrow vowel width, in essence closing your throat in all three main elements of your singing.

How to sing with an Open Throat

Open throat singing starts with your posture and foundation, and as I often say, your singing voice is only as strong as the foundation you have built it upon, so make sure you use our free foundations short courses to set up a strong and healthy foundation so you can learn how to sing with an Open Throat the RIGHT way.

The Soft Palate

To sing with an Open Throat, you first need to develop control over your soft palate so that it remains closed on your vowels sounds, and can naturally open on your open resonant consonant sounds like M and N. The best way to build control over your soft palate is to toggle your breathing in and out between your nose and your mouth – opening and closing the soft palate is a skill that you likely already possess, but simply aren’t aware of. We use the soft palate in every day breathing, when we sneeze, when we yawn and sometimes in general speech too – if you learn how to control the soft palate, you will see an almost instantaneous improvement in your singing tone.

Adduction

Second to the soft palate, you need to develop proper chord closure – known as adduction. Adduction requires you to develop control over the level of chord closure you use when singing, and is linked specifically to your onsets and resonance placement. An onset is simply how well coordinated your air flow is with your chord closure, and can be the make-or-break of any budding singer’s voice.



Appoggio

Appoggio is more of a concept than a singing technique itself, and refers to your airflow being controlled solely by extension of the diaphragm rather than expansion and contraction of your ribs using the intercostal muscles. I like to introduce my students to Appoggio singing technique by adding an honorary final step to their posture – a wide rib position. Keeping your ribs wide in this fashion allows you to control your breathing and air pressure by contraction of your diaphragm instead of using your ribs – the best way to do so in your posture is actually to raise your sternum without breathing in, which often results in a wide rib and contracted stomach setup that is excellent for Appoggio breathing.

Vowel shapes

Did you know that vowels are created by a specific tongue shape and vocal tract width in singing? Learning to take the right tongue shape for each of your vowels and then developing your vocal tract width by using Vowel Modification or Vowel Tuning will facilitate an Open Throat.

How to sing Open Throat

If you want to learn how to sing Open Throat, then the first step is develop each of the various elements of your voice, from controlling the soft palate, developing your vowel shapes and through to onsets, consonant grouping and your mix register. By coordinating each of these individual and controlled aspects of singing, you will be singing without strain by singing with an Open Throat.

If you’re ready to take your voice a step further and start developing a powerful, open, healthy singing voice, you can book a session with me now!

Feel free to leave some feedback or any 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.

4 thoughts on “Open Throat Singing Technique

  1. Mike Price here. Edmond, Oklahoma.
    I’ve enjoyed your videos. They’re not only
    helpful but encouraging. I’m 66 and for years have
    played piano pretty well. Tried to sing but have
    always struggled with the passaggio.
    Took some lessons 4 yrs ago for about
    5 months. It helped and
    I started to think maybe I can sing. I’ve
    accompanied good singers over the years but decided
    that I should just play and leave the singing to
    those who can. 5 months ago a drummer friend and I
    started a pop trio. The lions share of
    singing falls to me. (I’m not giving up) I’ve listened to hundreds
    of vocal coaches’ videos and have improved
    even more. (At least I think so).
    Sorry for the life story but I have questions.

    1. On higher notes, (or any notes), is it possible to go from
    falsetto to full mixed tone on the
    same note without cracking?

    2. Sometimes I can sing higher notes but when
    the melody comes down to mid voice,
    it cracks. How do you remedy that?

    3. If I could steal someone else’s voice it would be
    David Gates of Bread or Al Jarreau.

    4. What would you charge me to listen to a
    recent recording of me. I’d send 3 songs
    so you can hear me at low, mid and
    high range if you don’t charge a whole lot.
    Resources are very tight.
    Thanks in advance.
    Mike

    1. Hey Mike! Thanks for your kind words and encouragement, I’m glad I’ve been a help in some small way.

      1. Yes and no. Falsetto is actually an incorrect closure of your vocal chords (look up adduction if you like – I’ll put up a video about this soon), whereas “Head voice” is a proper closure of your chords and can be connected to your “chest voice” by negotiating your mix/middle register via a more ‘boyish’ or ‘kind and gentle’ tonality. There’s quite a few things you need to do to get this to all work together, but it is pretty comfortable and easy to do in the long run – sing with a raised soft palate (aka nose blocked off), modify your vowels as you ascend (Oh/Uh/OO), control your diaphragm via compression and extension, and last but not least learn to vary your placement.

      2. Via the middle/mix voice tonality. Listen to someone like Paul Rodgers as they descend from a high note, it becomes a little ‘boyish’ in tonality, this is mid voice tonality. Don’t try to sing too heavy, but don’t try to sing light either…

      3. ha, that’s not really a question, but nice one! My favourites are Paul Rodgers, Eric Burdon, Chris Cornell… also dig some crazier stuff like Sebastian Bach and Steven Tyler too.

      4. Zilch! Shoot me across a message – the “chat” function on the bottom right of your screen should let you attach a file yeah? Just send me a sample and I’ll do my best to send you in the right direction.

      Thanks again, and all the best!

      K

  2. I enjoyed reading your blog and must also say, nice video. I play guitar and have for years, never very well but good enough for my tastes and have dabbled with singing as well. I love to let my creative juices flow when time allows. I have never really studied singing though. When you mentioned the muscles and body parts used in singing, such as the Diaphragm, The Vocal Chords and The Soft Palate you really got my attention. I have always heard and known that the vocal chords and diaphragm play a key role but not once have I heard of the soft palate playing a role. Thank you for taking the time to teach and instruct. I will be looking into your services once I find a song that matches my particular range that I enjoy singing.
    John
    Swagbeards

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