Confused about the difference between Brightness and Nasality in singing?
THE FUNCTION OF THE VELAR PORT IN ROCK SINGING
Nasal singing sucks.
But voice teachers are always telling you to sing BRIGHT and sing FORWARD, right?
Nasal = good?
Nasal = bad?
C’mon guys, which one is it?
Let me introduce you to one important element of the singing voice that not too many people talk about, let alone know how to use properly;
The Velar-Pharyngeal Port
This fancy sounding little sucker is really the key to improving your vocal tone AND learning to sing higher notes.
Oh yeah, it’s also the key to fixing excessive nasality in your vocal tone.
Now, if you breathe in through your nose with your mouth closed – the velar port is open.
Yes, this is a mass oversimplification when it comes to singing, but it’s a great start to learning how and what this port functions.
If you breathe in through your mouth only (without physically blocking your nose with your fingers), this is the velar port closed off to nasal airflow – meaning, there’s no air escaping through the soft palate and out of the nose.
If you’re excessively nasal when you sing – and I’ll venture a guess you’re also lacking an impressive high range at the same time; you’ve got an issue with how you’re controlling the velar port, and ultimately an issue with your vowels.
Now, that’s not to say that we should slam the VFP closed and sing like we’ve got a cold the whole time – velar consonants like M, N and NG for example exit through the nose as the mouth is closed off. In some cases, stylistic choice also calls for the port to be open/partially open – there’s also variance in “how” closed the port is through different registers of the range and also in different voice types.
Now, if you want to talk semantics, you can check out this study of how the velar port functions in classical singers and you can quote it all day long if you’re that kinda guy;
“In the high voice condition, little or no opening of the velopharyngeal port was measured.”
Ergo, if you want to sing high – you need to close off the velar port.
You can try it right now by yawning through the mouth, or even “inhaling” from the position of a K consonant sound (without actually voicing the “K” sound) – you’ll notice your nosed is “blocked off” like we just discussed above.
Raising the soft palate in this way is intrinsic to modifying your vowel, and ultimately developing an insane high range.
But if you take that raised palate position and then let the air ‘escape’ through the nose – you’ll notice the soft palate settles in a lower position, and with a voiced sound can even result in the larynx raising excessively.
Now, I know you’ve probably seen the “sing like a dying cat!” guy on YouTube telling you that the key to good sing is to “sing nasal” – but this is a miscommunication;
The key to great singing is forward placement; ie: resonating within the bones of the face and the sphenoid to create a bright, brilliant frequency placement in your tone.
NOT true nasality that occurs when you open the velar port and hope for the best.
Now, to contradict some of what I said before, the best way to train forward placement is actually to used velar consonants like N, M and NG where the airflow is opened up into the nose – but the key point here is to understand that it’s not ACTUALLY the nasal airflow that is creating the bright tone you enjoy on these sounds, it’s actually two main things; tonal intent and the AES.
When you’re scared of nasality, this can lead you to cut off all bright frequencies within your tone and avoid using twang – which isn’t correct.
But on the flip side, if you’re excessively aiming for a ‘nasal’ tone, this doesn’t mean that you resonate within the sphenoid and bones of the face; it often means you’re “Stevie Nicks Nasal” or “Billie Corgan Nasal” in a true sense – simply letting air escape through your nose.
So, train those nasal sounds all you like – N, M, NG or even switching from these sounds into a bratty vowel like NAY and NYAH; that kinda thing. But when it comes to real singing, with real vowels, in real songs – the velar port needs to close as you ascend in range to ensure peak Height In The Vocal Tract through your break periods and up into your highest registers.
Now, instead of focusing purely on nasality, what I want you to do right now is MASTER the Four Vocal Fundamentals, which I’ll help you do in the video below.
But more important, I want you to understand that the voice is like a jigsaw puzzle with many moving parts. Sure, it’s not exciting to line up ten ducks in a row first – you just want a duck sandwich, right? But you need to ask yourself the serious question – do you want to be an OUTSTANDING, WORLD CLASS, NEXT LEVEL singing, or someone who is just cheating by using true nasality and getting away with vocal murder and cutting off your true resonance?
Watch the video below, then add your details below to receive my AMAZING training guide – “Mastering The Art of Singing”
Now that we’ve got The Four Vocal Fundamentals out of the way, I want to get absolutely SERIOUS with you for a moment.
If you’ve read this far, and you watched the video above – you must really be serious about this whole singing thing.
So I want to help you along by give you a little something extra to help you get started.
In fact, a whole LOT extra.
All my training materials, all in one place – for free.
#1 – Mastering The Art of Singing
This guide is amazing.
There’s more technique, training, insight and knowledge in this one little guide than in many paid training courses – and I’m simply giving it to you for free.
#2 – Vocal Quick Start Guide
I get it, there’s a lot of techniques and concepts to learn all at once in the masters guide, so here’s a footnote summary of everything you need to do to get started today, and how to do it.
If you’re confused about how to get started, or you’re having trouble pulling the trigger on a vocal approach, this guide is now your go-to manual for how to become a better singer.
#3 – Vowel Modification Cheat Sheet
This is what you’ve been waiting for – but noone else is ever going to show you.
Modifying your vowels is the key to extending your range in full voice with no vocal breaks, no flipping to head voice, no weakness and no strain – so it makes sense that most vocal coaches keep this powerful information close to their chest and are quite careful about how and who they share this with.
And I’m going to show you exactly how to do it in this vowel modification cheat sheet – again, completely free.
#4 – Invitation to special Vowel Modification Q&A
Phew! You’re really getting the works here.
Along with the incredible training guides I’m sharing with you, I’m also going to go out on a limb and invite you to my special Vowel Modification Q&A Training Session.
If you’ve got questions about how to sing vowels correctly – this Q&A has the answers.
Add your details below to receive the Mastering The Art of Singing, Vowel Modification Cheat Sheet and Vocal Quick Start guides and an invitation to my special Vowel Modification Q&A Training Session.