What is head voice? | How to sing in head voice

In local singing lessons and Skype singing lessons I’m often confronted with students who are set on the idea of “Head Voice” and “Chest Voice” – most of the time they’re at the end of their wits wondering why they can’t sing in head voice, how to transition between chest and head voice or how to sing past chest voice. The answer?

There’s no such thing as chest voice and head voice

That’s right, there’s no such thing. You have ONE voice that is connected throughout everything register and your whole vocal range – the reasons behind your vocal break are simple, and varied, but not because you’re struggling to find your head voice.

Think about it, your vocal folds simply zip up together and increase the frequency (read: speed!) of their vibrations due to variations and an increase in pressure from your diaphragm, this is why proper control of your airflow is required, the higher you sing – the more pressure you need, but the less airflow you require.

Personally, I find the concept of chest and head voice heavily rooted in the Opera and classical schools of singing, where a Baritone singer was written baritone parts, and tenors were written tenor parts in a very strict manner such as Baritone singers being given one single low E to sing. This works for Opera, but simply doesn’t apply where control and development of your whole voice is concerned – as a natural bass, I find my most pleasant range is actually up into the mid to high Tenor range, so how would this archaic classification of my voice as a “Low E singer” work when I sound best and am rather confident singing higher than the average high Baritone or even regular Tenor? Well, it wouldn’t.

Your voice classification really doesn’t matter, and until you’ve sat down with someone who truly understands how the voice works, it’s perilous to start classifying yourself as this or that because you’re simply limiting yourself and putting pressure, expectation and strain into a voice you should be nurturing and letting develop in a natural, unbounded way.

If you’re modifying your vowels correctly, placing your voice in the right way (ie: making healthy frequencies with your vocal cords), controlling your breath in the proper manner and managing and thwarting strain throughout your range, then Chest/Head doesn’t apply, and the Fach classification matters little when you start to understand your voice type and start using your voice the way it was designed – without strain and in the proper manner.

Check out the below video for how I personally transitioned this imaginary barrier of Chest/Head and built my voice with a very non standard range as a bass:

If you’re ready to start building your own powerful, healthy singing voice with one connected range, book a session with me now!

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.

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