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The Mix Voice

The mix voice is elusive to say the least. I have been bombarded with questions lately about explaining the mix voice in more detail, so I figured I would just write a post and hopefully answer all those questions at the same time.

The 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 is developed at the point where the singer crosses his first bridge (or passaggio).  The larynx begins to shift towards more of a C shape when you begin to sing in the mix, incorporating the pharyngeal sound as well (the pharyngeal sound is “nnggg”…or you can just think of the Bee Gee’s). The pharyngeal resonator acts as a connector between chest voice and head voice and holds the mix together to some extent. It is very important that all three resonators (chest, pharyngeal and head) are well developed when singing in the mix voice. If one of the resonators lacks training and/or precision, the mix voice falters.

Sounds like the mix voice is complicated, doesn’t it? Technically, yes – it is quite unique. But mechanically, it is no worse than learning how to play guitar for the first time. (Ok, I realize for some that may have been a nightmare..for others a breeze…but just stick with me for now.) I chose the analogy of playing the guitar for the first time because it is quite relevant for learning how to sing in the mix voice. At first, it is quite tough and can be very frustrating, but the more you practice playing it, the better you get at it. The sames goes for the mix voice.

Speaking in general terms (each person is different), the area when the mix begins to form (or should begin to form) are as follows:

male: Eflat4 to F#4
female: F#4 to A4

Like I said, these are general specifications. Some people begin to mix before the specified notes, others afterward. In general, my mix voice starts around E4 (first bridge) with my next bridge coming right around G4/Aflat4. I have a friend, though, who doesn’t starting mixing until G4 (it must be nice to not have any vocal weight all!). In some instances, I may start mixing as early as middle C depending on the nature of the song. Like I said before, it varies from singer to singer.

The mix voice takes time to develop. I would be telling you a lie if I said I had it nailed down. In reality, I am still working through my own issues with the mix voice. However, I know that it is getting stronger and clearer with every day that I practice in it.

Do you have have any more questions about the mix voice that you would like answered? Ask them here – I’d love to help!

Photo Credits: flo and me (flickr)

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Related posts:

  1. Developing Your Head Voice
  2. Chest Voice
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Comments

  1. Hi Thomas,

    This is very great information as you explain the theory very well, even for someone like me, who does not read music. I’ve been developing my mix voice for two years. It was tough going at first, but after much practice and determination, I find myself using voice mix close to the top of my vocal range. Until now, I’ve never had a term to describe this to my friends, so thank you again for writing this article.

    Ash Wednesday — http://karaokeinsider.blogspot.com

  2. Andrew Mariano says:

    Hi, I was just wondering on how long and why is it so hard to find the mix. Is there anything that can help to find it? I’ve been doing the program for a while…
    how do I find the mix?

  3. thomas says:

    @Ash – Thanks for the compliments! Glad that the post cleared some things up for you!

    @Andrew – It took me about 2-3 months to find my mix. It came to me one night while watching and practicing along with the lesson on SSO called “Ultimate Cord Closure Workout”.

    I would suggest that you work on vocal cord closure and the tiny edge exercises from Technique Lesson 4. Make sure you keep your thumbs under your chin and make the sound deliberate. Be sure to keep the vocal fry at the beginning and throughout the rest of the scale as best as possible. Making those light sounds helped me out so much into actually getting into my mix. I had the major issue of vocal weight..so those light exercises helped me out so much. You could also try the “wee” exercise as well.

    Basically getting cord closure down along with those light weight exercises should help you find your mix.

    How long exactly have you been using the program? And do you have any clips I could listen to so that I could better help you?

    Thanks for the comment!

  4. tarek says:

    Thanks a lot for this article. I was wondering if you know how can mix voice help in developing a classical countertenor sound? I’m already having a fine head voice in which i sing mezzo parts, but how can mix voice help me get a fuller and stronger head voice and a better placement? Thanks a lot

  5. Vanessa says:

    is there a way of singing mixed voice…quieter? also I looked at the blog you wrote about throat tension. you have any tricks for while we’re singing? I have a problem with tension when I sing mixed voice and I don’t really know how to relax it yet. Also, just adding to the mix voice question above, keeping it out of my throat?

  6. Vanessa says:

    Umm…same person as the above comment. Forgot another question. What’s pharyngeal voice? like how does it sound?

  7. abc says:

    I have been doing mastering mix for a long time now (in yrs.). However, I still have a terrible problem of pushing my chest voice. Due to this problem, I have no nead voice. I carry some chest voice (heavy tone) into the pharengeal and edge as well. How can I overcome this to develop mix? When do I know I am there? What can I do to develop head voice without straining (how should it feel and when do I know I am there?)?
    Thank you so much.

  8. Martin says:

    The best and also the fastest way to finding your mix is to skip all those “nays” and “mums” (although they will be very useful to improve your mix once you have found it) and develop a good vocal closure. Remember, singing should feel like speaking. Since everyone can make vocal fry in their speaking voice as well as reduce the volume of your voice on minimum, you should start practicing it above your break as well. Most probably you will find that you are not able to get a light creaky sound into your upper range – instead the sound will be airy or the voice will occasionally skip.
    So – spend 2-3 days making light vocal fry on Aaaah and Ooooh and try to have a continuous presence of edge. It will feel like you can really kick off the vocal chords. The best test is to try saying “Gug” on high notes. If it sounds like “Cook” and the “G” sound is not properly voiced, you dont have the proper vocal closure.
    Hope this helps

  9. Jared says:

    I just have a few questions, because I think I’m mixing my voice but I’m not sure. If you get a chance check out my vocal range on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPrOLskGn2Q .. I can’t tell if that is mixing. It sounds like it, it doesn’t hurt me to do it. But I don’t feel it resonating in my chest or head voice (Like if you put your hand on your chest when you talk you hear it vibrate and head voice you feel your head vibrate), but I don’t feel it resonating anywhere. I’m not sure if that’s a good a thing or not? Also how often should you use your mixed voice? When I use my mix a lot it gets weaker and weaker. But if I use my mix a few times in one day its very powerful so I don’t know what that means. Just if you could get back to me that’d be nice! You have my email since you ask for it in the “Leave a Reply” box, thank you!

  10. Broskii says:

    Hi, thanks for this informational post. I have been researching singing for awhile in addition to singing for most of my life.

    I can sing notes up to A5 [without headvoice, with belting], and F4 without belting], despite being a natural base. Does this mean I have attained my mixed voice? I know my voice well, but I’m unfamiliar with these terms.

    Thank you.

  11. Yao says:

    Hi,

    I’m studying in music(pop voice more specifically)in college. Im 18 years old and i’ve only started to take singing lessons last year.

    I have a great classical voice teacher who helped me a lot with letting go the pressure, kick off the speaking voice and developing a quite strong head voice.

    But the thing is in pop, i feel insecure because head voice is not as loud as chest voice or mix voice!And everytime i doubt, i can’t perform well and that happened a few times. I really want to build it up, i’m working hard! like i said… my head voice is there, but i can’t bring the chest support up without pushing on it! I don’t know what exercises to do would help me… because they all sound like head voice to me.

    Any advices?? thank you so much eh! much appreciated!

  12. Reed says:

    Thanks for solidifying terms and exercises I’ve been taught. It does take time to master this technique. It’s been a long time coming for me. However, I feel that I am able to use my mix voice correctly, but I still want a richer, bigger sound as if I were singing in my chest. Is that possible? Volume is not a problem, but somehow the sound is still different. Can one make different textures so to speak while in the mix?

  13. KABEER says:

    i like ths

Trackbacks

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