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Head Voice vs. Chest Voice

Updated: Jul 17, 2023

Have you ever wondered what the heck the difference is between your head voice and your chest voice? And how to build each one? Then check out this video. If you're in the mood to read, here's the video!

Your head voice and your chest voice are vocal registers. Simply put, your chest voice is the voice that you speak in and is responsible for lower pitches. On the contrary, your head voice comes into play when you are singing higher pitches.

If you want to build a stronger chest voice, you will need to do vocal exercises that engage what’s called the Thyroarytenoid muscle. This muscle shortens the vocal folds and decreases pitch. Here is an exercise you can do to build your chest voice. If you want information you can check out this article where I go into more detail about building your chest voice.

We are going to make the sound of a karate chop "huh" which will close the vocal folds, and then we are going to say the word "uh". You want to make sure you hold back your breath and don't let it escape when you're doing this exercise. Now, try to sing the word starting on A3 for ladies and an octave lower for guys, and go up in half steps until F4. If you can, you can even go up to A4 but don't go higher. Check out the video at 1:57 to get an example.

The next thing you can do is put a B in front of your Uh since now you know how to sing without air in the tone. If you are letting out air, you can put another B in at the end of the word so the word is now "Bub". Try this on a triad starting on an A major triad at A3 and stop when your top note hits "A4, which would be D major. Check out the video at 2:24 for an example.

If you would like to strengthen your head voice, you will need to do vocal exercises that engage the crico-thyroid muscles. These muscles stretch the vocal folds and increase pitch. If you want in depth information on strengthening this part of your voice, chick out this article.

What you will want to do is sing on an E vowel starting at c5. We are going to put a B in front of that E for the word "be" and do an arppegio from C5 on a major triad going down to C4. Check out the video at 3:08.

In reality, when you sing up and down your range you want to have a nice blend of both head and chest voice muscles. You don't want it to sound too harsh when you are singing down from your head voice. So let's take that B downward arpeggio that we did in the last exercise and then go back up the same arpeggio and then back down. Check out the video at 3:46 for that exercise.

Well there you have it, Head voice and Chest voice explained! In looking at your own voice, what needs to be more developed for you? Head or chest voice? Let me know in the comments!

And don’t forget to download my free warmup guide that covers how to warm up your voice and offers downloadable vocal exercises!

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