Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Is it true that belting causes vocal nodes?

No, it is not true that belting causes vocal nodes. Vocal nodes are caused when the vocal cords do not come together. The cords or vocal folds must adduct cleanly and stay pressed together for closure. The firmer and more complete the approximation the better.

Fiber optic studies of the vocal cords show that in the properly trained Belt singer, the vocal cords are held together even tighter and for longer periods of time than in the classical voice. The nature of the Belt technique itself favors proper approximation, even more so than in the classical voice.

When the vocal cords (folds) are thrown together without vibrating air passing through them, a rather hard attack is heard and can be felt. This attack is called a "glottal." It can happen to any kind of singer, classical or belt. Proper closure can be taught as a correct principle of support and production. It can be taught to a belter or a classical singer. Belting does not cause glottals-faulty technique does!

Vocal nodes are a serious concern to all kinds of singers because of the damage they cause to the vocal instrument. However, nodes are a result of improper singing technique, speaking and yelling improperly, clearing one's throat continually, or numerous other problems but NOT correct Belt singing.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

What is Belt Voice?

The Belt voice is the most common sound used in today's popular music as well as many forms of traditional music in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. It can be described as a sound which has a more "spoken" or "forward" quality to it. People think of it as loud or like yelling, although Belt can be sung quietly or loudly. Belt is becoming the most common voice used in Musical Theatre. It is distinguished from the deeper more traditional sound of Classical, often called Legitimate voice (though the inference that Belt is somehow illegitmate is objectionable,) associated with Opera and Sacred Music.

Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez, Barbara Striesand, Shania Twain, Janet Jackson, Ann Wilson, Cyndy Lauper, Reba McEntire, Avril Levine, Bonnie Raitt are among the many female pop stars that use a belt voice for most of their songs. Michael Jackson, Don Henley, Al Jarreau, Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, Billy Joel and Steve Perry are a few of the male pop stars who usually sing in the belt voice.

Belt is not chest voice nor is Belt an extension of the chest voice into the higher register. Neither is it a nasal version of the head voice mixed with chest. (Chest and head voice are forms of classical voice and are distinctly different from safe proper Belt production.)