Injured Voice: a few thoughts
I read on a forum the other day about this guy who couldn’t reach a high note even though he switched to speaking voice.
Now this is weird for two reasons:
1) normally we associate singing with tension. You know the drill.. we see some singer sing high notes, and she/he seems to scream/yell/belt those notes and they seem really tense when doing it.
2) I wonder how he/she would sound when speaking. A lot of languages use a wide variety of pitches, some very high and some very low. Does he/she flip into falsetto mid speech? That would be an interesting conversation.
What we observe:
Singer is straining to sing that part of the song because its too high. Therefore we make a mental note: “if I’m gonna sing high notes, I’m gonna have to prepare to strain like hell. No pain, no gain, right?
The singer can actually pull off that whole part with a straight face. No problem. That’s what they’ve trained for everyday for at least 4-5years. But why would they? They are actors. They were awarded a role(singer) in a play(the song) and were provided with a script(the lyrics).
They should do their jobs and bring those words to life. So then comes the chorus, which is usually the climax, which usually involves emotion. The singer has to get this emotion into the hearts of the listener. This usually involves tension
Emotions that are so intense that they cause tension. That’s what people pay for when they pay to see a singer. That’s what the actor is doing. Bringing in the cash by giving what the audience wants: a chance to feel intense emotion through the story and the song, thus affirming life.
Anyway, back to the point earlier. The only reason I have for this is that maybe his voice is damaged. There’s no other way that this could possibly have happened.
If you experience anything of this kind, I would advise that you get medical help. Practising in speaking mode has always been beneficial to a lot of people because of the illustration above.
Most people just tense up automatically when singing. But if you can’t get the note out while just plain talking, there might be something physically wrong with your voice.
This is crucial. DO NOT keep practising when your speaking voice is affected. If it’s hoarse, if it’s too raspy, if you can’t reach certain notes anymore with it, etc
That’s the earliest warning sign of vocal damage: when the speaking voice starts showing unwanted changes.
Unless of course, you’re a rock/blues singer and you want that rasp. But you won’t have your range for too long.
Remember to see a surgeon who might advise surgery to remove some nodes of maybe other stuff that only doctors would know. Don’t take risks with your voice.
1) your voice is an organ inside your body. It’s not like a guitar where you can just buy a new one if your old one’s broken. Take care of it.
2) You really don’t know. With a guitar you can see that the neck is bent, or the strings are dead, or maybe the frets are worn out. If your voice sounds weird, that’s all the info you have – it sounds and feels weird. Only a doctor with the proper tools can take a peek and see what’s going on.
That’s all I have for now. Take care of your voice, and more importantly, keep singing!