The sound of vocal nodules in the morning
We’ve all heard about vocal nodules and that it’s not fun to have them. But not many people have actually heard how it sounds. How does a voice with vocal nodules sound? Have a look at this video from Youtube where a woman demonstrates how her voice sounds with the condition:
OUCH! For people who love to sing, that would be a nightmare. A few interesting things to note in this case study, though:
Belting too much
The horrible, damaged, sound mostly comes from the midrange. This is the so-called “belt range”. Actually, I just made that up. I have no idea what it’s called. Haha. But it’s the part of the voice that has almost equal mix of head and chest voice.
This part of the voice is what people often try to do when singing karaoke to their favourite songs. Often, with bad results.
This voice sounds like a “scream”. But in fact, it’s not. It just sounds very urgent and very earthy because there’s a lot of chest tones in the mix.
If you think of it in terms of colours, you could say that it’s an almost equal mix of dark and light colours.
Where’s the damage?
Vocal Nodules obstructing the air passage.
You can also hear how the voice returns to normal at the higher registers. In fact, I like her falsetto tone. It’s very round and full bodied, but still very light. This goes to show how bad habits affect our results in singing.
Apparently the singer in this case can relax and let go when singing falsetto tones, but tenses up and clenches the vocal chords when singing in the chest dynamics. This is really quite common among singers who belt.
I have written about this in other articles in this site, so I won’t repeat myself again, but the key is not to scream, but to mix and match the colours of your voice so that it has the same affect on your audience as though you were screaming.
Think about it: why do singers belt? It’s just a tool, a punctuation. It’s used to accent a part of the story that needs more punch to drive home the message.
It’s like when the late Whitney Houston sang in her famous chorus: “And I… will always love you..”
That song is one of my favourite examples of contrast in music and in storytelling in general. The first time around, you can barely hear the chorus. It’s soft, almost whispered. And as the singer relates the story, the emotions build up.
Finally, in the end the singer couldn’t hold back her feelings any longer, and releases this torrent of emotions through her voice. People cry when they listen to her story. It’s beautiful.
That is where the money is. Moving people through telling the story. Belting is just one of those tools you use.
So take it easy. Take it slow. Build on it bit by bit. There really is no rush.
It’s not worth it to try and rush the process, because as you’ve already seen, the damage is huge, and it’s not easily repaired. The voice is a fragile instrument, and the best thing you can do is give it the proper maintenance, because in some cases repairing it is costly or even impossible.
Have fun singing!