Mixed voice, or a better term for it, Middle voice, is the point in your voice where you transition between Chest voice (your low register) and Head Voice (your high register). You can think of it as the direct center of your voice where you ‘chest voice muscles’ are competing with your ‘head voice muscles’ – at the moment, it’s likely that your voice either wants to flip up into a light ‘heady’ sound, OR, you start to PUSH and you pull up your chest voice. If you want to fix your break and sing higher with more power, book a session with me in the Skype calendar to your right ->
To get rid of your break, you should actually be transitioning into middle/mix tonality BEFORE the break happens rather than waiting too long, and you should also be singing HIGHER in the mix register before handing off to a fully released head voice.
There’s only ONE voice – not two, not three
When we say “Chest Voice” and “Head Voice”, the reality is, it’s the SAME voice, but it’s not being connected or handled properly by your singing technique. The way to connect these two registers is to move into the middle tonality as you transition from your low register to your high register. It goes a little something like this:
As you’ve seen from the video I put together for you above, once you can sing with middle tonality, your whole range will connect really easily and you’ll do away with your vocal breaks.
You need to COMBINE your techniques
It’s important to also keep up your vowel positions, placement, diaphragmatic breathing and breath control as you’re moving in and out of middle voice. If we’re going to break it down into steps, you should be approaching your voice something like this:
- Diaphragmatic Breathing
- Open Throat
- Vowel modification/Vowel positions
- Breath Control
- Middle/mix tonality
- Delivery and diction
If you follow this simple approach, your voice will grow exponentially each time you practice.
Middle voice is a TONE, not a register.
Listen to my voice in the short video above, can you hear how the tone of my voice changes from being a baritone into something a little more pleasant? That is one of the characterists of middle voice, it’s pleasant and gentle. Now, when I say “gentle”, I don’t actually mean “light” – you sing with full resonance, correct cord closure and you still need to control your airflow properly, so you can think of middle voice as “Pleasant AND assertive”. Think about it as though you’re trying to get the attention of the back row of children in a noisy classroom; you don’t want to YELL at everyone, but you don’t want to be buried under all that noise, so it needs to be pleasant AND assertive at the same time.
Learn to pick MIDDLE VOICE in other singer’s voices
I can list a few for you now – singers that have a very pronounced and distinct Middle tonality to their voice. For starters one of my FAVOURITE singers ever, Paul Rodgers. If you listen to anything off the “Fire and Water” album, you’ll hear just how pleasant his voice sounds – but it’s not weak and airy, it’s pleasant AND assertive at the same time, commanding even!
Secondly, Sebastian Bach – another of my favourites. You can clearly hear how he leans heavily on his middle voice tonality to ascend into his (rather impressive) higher range – if you listen to a song like “In a Darkened Room”, you can especially hear how BRIGHT and PLEASANT his voice sounds, but again, it’s not weak of breathy, it’s assertive!
Another great example would be my all time blues hero, Freddie King – if you listen to anything from the ‘Burglar’, ‘Getting Ready’ or ‘Woman Across the River’ albums, it’ll soon be evident to you that he’s not actually roaring and belting throughout his whole range – he starts out very ‘kind’ and ‘pleasant’ with his tone, and then builds up to the really powerful belting and bellowing that he was known for.
Can you pick the Middle tonality in any of YOUR favourite singers? List them in the comments below and I’ll let you know how they’re doing it!
You tone is like a pyramid
The base of the pyramid is “Chest Voice”, the middle of the pyramid is “Middle Voice” and the very top of the pyramid is “Head Voice” – think of that next time you’re practicing your vowel positions and practical vowels like I’ve shown you, it’s going to make it MUCH easier to attain the ‘pleasant and assertive’ tone that is Mix Voice.
What is mix voice?
Thinking of the pyramid analogy above, when you sing in your middle range try not to push your chest voice or keep a ‘boomy’ sound. It’s important that you ALSO don’t sing with a light and heady sound in this range, you need to BUILD your mix voice so that you can sing with power and transition between your registers with ease and confidence.
If you’re ready to start building your mix voice and middle register, book a session with me in the Skype calendar to your right and I’ll show you the BEST mix voice exercises that will truly power up your middle voice singing.
Let me know if you have any questions or feedback below – don’t forget to let me know which of your favourite singers you think are using their Mix voice!
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.