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Finding Your Head Voice

Head voice is a mysterious part of the voice for many singers. Many singers refer to it as their “falsetto” voice, but the two are very different. Falsetto is an airy, weightless sound made by a very loose connection of the vocal cords. Head voice, on the other hand, is a weighted sound based on proper vocal cord closure. The main difference between head voice and falsetto is tone. Falsetto has little to no tone. Head voice can be full of tone.

When seeking to find your head voice, you need to approach it in this manner:

1) Understand that you already have a head voice – you just haven’t found the correct way to access it. Too many singers believe that they just don’t have a head voice at all. That is completely untrue! You have a head voice, you just have to “find” it!

2) Understand that it can take some time before you find your head voice. I was lucky and discovered mine in a few days. For some people, it can take weeks to months.

Now that you have a proper understanding, let’s start unpacking how to find your head voice.

I think the easiest way to find your head voice is by doing lip rolls. Lip rolls automatically aid you in getting the correct amount of vocal cord closure, allowing you to access your head voice in a relatively easy manner. I have placed a video of the lip roll exercise in an article about vocal weight – check it out to see the example.

Now many people go on to say the sound they make with lip rolls is too light to be head voice. However, the people that say this either have only: 1) just discovered their head voice, or 2) discovered their head voice and have not trained it. Keep in mind that your head voice will be weak when you first discover it because you have never trained it before! It will sound similar to falsetto at first, but trust me – with a few weeks practice you will begin to tell the difference between the two.

Another way to access your head voice with more vocal weight is to practice exercises using vocal compression. Vocal compression will bring up more energy into your head voice so that you can feel how it differs from falsetto.

Finding your head voice is relatively simple once you get down the proper techniques. Start with lip rolls and practice them – and seek to master them. They are a critical step in helping you find your head voice. They can also help you develop your head voice.

What are your experiences with finding your own head voice (or not finding it)? I would love to hear from you!

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Related posts:

  1. Developing Your Head Voice
  2. How To Thin Out Your Voice
  3. The Mix Voice
  4. Voice Lessons
  5. Relaxing The Voice
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Comments

  1. davidhills johnson says:

    hi,
    i really love atticles but my problem is i can sing my head but at a range it’s very,very rough i mean very rough please what do i do.
    THANK’S.

    • thomas says:

      @davidhills – If your head voice is very rough, you are most like squeezing too much, which is a sign of a lack of proper cord closure. Have you tried lip rolls before? The lip roll exercise, the “nay” exercise and the “ng” exercise all work to help you thin out your head voice and make it more usable. Cord closure is the key here. When I first started to sing in my mix, it was quite rough. But after practicing those exercises a ton, it was smoothed out considerably and is getting better with each passing day. Let me know if there is anything else I can do.

  2. JM says:

    What does head voice of male really sounds like? I’m thinking that it sounds like an operatic girl singing very high notes. Does the sound of male head voice and female are just the same?

  3. Peter Barnes says:

    Hello,
    I am a singer and guitarist for my rock band, Always Remember Today. Lately, I’ve had trouble hitting the higher notes in our music, usually the ones above F above middle C. I want to use my head voice for this, but i need to ask, is it possible to make your head voice sound like your chest voice? That’s what I would love because I want to make it sound almost unnoticeable when use head voice only to hit the high notes. Can I get some clarification?
    Thanks
    - Peter

  4. Jack says:

    Hello world!I have this problem, when I get into headvoice (using the above method) I get really feint and weak after singing just one song, how do I fix this?

  5. Edi says:

    I have the similar problem actually, many people around me have the stereotype that falsetto is the (pardon me) ‘gay opera-ish’ sounding voice that doesn’t sound like your normal voice, while head voice is the nice sounding one in songs. So i begun to think the airy way of singing is head voice.

    I have been doing Singing Success for some time now and everytime I go into that ‘gay-operaish’ sound I stop and try to go into the ‘normal’ sounding voice.

    To my horror, while doing Disc 2 of Mastering Mix, I realised that ‘gay opera-ish’ sounding strong tune is actually head voice! Because when I put my hand infront of my mouth, there is little or no air.

    Why does my head voice sound so high and opera-ish? Which exercises will help bring it down? (Or I don’t have to since I will be aiming to sing in the mix)

    And do males usually need to go into head voice in modern day pop songs? Or only in songs like those of Michael Jackson’s, for unique situations.

  6. Renny says:

    What if lip rolls tickle too much?

  7. Jonathan says:

    I found my strong head voice after doing numerous exercises. The best exercise I ever did, that let me access my head voice right away, was to sing a “maw” sound, on an arpeggio octave ascending scale, starting on C3, moving to E3, G3, then C4, and back down again, moving up a half step each time. Here is a great video by Tony O’Hora regarding the Laryngeal tilt that has to happen in the larynx, as well as how to perform the exercise. STICK WITH IT! It may not happen right away, but LISTEN to what he is saying. High notes are sung with way less air than is needed for chest notes. This sounds backwards, but it’s entirely true. I can hold out my high notes in my head voice, making it sound like a chesty belt voice, for 15 seconds or more.

    You really want to sing high notes? Study the following:

    -Appoggio (proper breath support)
    -Laryngeal Tilt (happens automatically when you employ):
    -Vowel Modification. You CANNOT sing “eee” in a head voice. If you try, you will most likely strain and fail. You have to “modify” it slightly to take the weight of chest voice off the vowel, by making it more, “ih” but THINKING “ee.”

    I hope this helps you.

  8. Jonathan says:

    Oops, forgot to link the video!

  9. Jonathan says:
  10. Janine says:

    I’d be more inclined to follow this guy if his arpeggios weren’t out of tune…

  11. Todd says:

    Actually I am rather in a difficult situation, My Chest voice is very sucky…. My headvoice is rather okay… And my mixed voice is superb, I supposedly sound like a female with powerful voice… this is something that is true BUT… My chest is really bad… I kinda “swallow” when reaching down for chest notes… In fact my chest voice is never manly sounding ,… When in mixed voice my chest voice seems to “shoot” into my head voice naturally , But I cant keep it to stay where it is to sound manly. My head voice is very nice… I wan’t to go further with it so will do these practices. But how do you train chest voice? To give you a good example of my voice listen to “The Greatest Love of All” Maybe youll understand what I mean when I say shoot lol. Somebody help me PLEASE Toddautman@yahoo.com

  12. Brett says:

    so im a new singer and im currently starting to become better at singing but i just cant get those high notes to save my life.. i do use my diaphram but i just dont understand where im sappose to FEEL it in my throat to be able to reach those notes.. i used to do scales for about 2 weeks then gave up becuz i have a lack of patients haha.. is there any tips, videos suggestions ANYTHING would be apreciated! :)

    • thomas says:

      High notes take a long time to develop. For me, it took nearly 6 months before I began being able to hit high notes with relative ease. It takes a lot of time for your vocal cords to get adjusted to the new coordinations they need to make to hit the high notes. Hang in there! :-)

  13. Student says:

    Hello and thanks for a great article.

    Finding the head voice appears like figuring out how colours or headaches are to other people, only they can tell. So, when doing the lip roll (I’ve just started practicing to learn how to sing properly) what exactly are we to listen for (instead of “looking for)?

    I hear the sound of the lip roll, voiced or unvoiced, but have no idea what to listen to to be able to tell if head voice is found.

    Thank you

    • thomas says:

      I would listen for the “hooty” quality in the lip roll. It is literally like the sound an owl makes. It’s that easy sound that should be coming from your lip rolls as you ascend the scales. This was a good indicator for me that my head voice was going in the right direction.

  14. Daniel says:

    Hey. I think I may have been singing in head voice for a long time and thinking it was falsetto. It’s exactly the same pitch-wise, but it’s not airy at all. It’s a very shrill, piercing sound. It doesn’t sound normal at all. Am I right about that being head voice?
    Should I be aiming for mixed voice? Will that sound less artificial?

    • thomas says:

      If your head voice is sounding shrill, you may be pushing your voice too much. Head pure has a pure, clean sound when done right. Try bringing that sound lighter while maintaining the same compression on the cords.

      Mixed voice will come when you have begun to mellow out your head voice. That will give your mix something to “mix” with. Mixing chest voice now with your shrill head voice isn’t going to make mix voice sound any better.

  15. Ell says:

    Im trying to really strengthen my head voice because im in theatre and choir and it would just help so much but my problem is, i cant find any really good information. Can you help me please? Ive been trying for so long and i feel like ive done everything…

Trackbacks

  1. [...] mix voice is essentially a blend between chest voice and head voice. The mix voice has the energy of chest voice while maintaining the light weight of head voice. It [...]

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