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Vocalizing always involves an interaction of several parameters:. The airstream acts as a power source, giving the air movement needed to start a sound and keep it going. Next we need some kind of sound source and in most singing — that is created by the vibrations of the vocal folds. However, we can theoretically use another source instead — or why not two! Almost all rough effects are created at levels above and apart from the vocal folds.

There are of course names for the specific parts involved too, but as a singer you really do not have to know them. Okay geeks, see links at the end of part 2 of this article here. When they vibrate against things or each other, they act as a second sound source. A second sound source can be active while the vocal folds keep vibrating as usual too, creating the tone. Together the result is a tone with a rough quality. If on the other hand something else than the vocal folds alone is creating the sound, we will only hear the roughness, without a note.

Finally we need something to amplify the sound — a resonator.

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The vocal tract does this for us and has the potential to both amplify and dampen different aspects of the sound depending on how we shape it. These three parts — the power source, the sound source and the resonator, always need to interact in a balanced way for it all to work. If you change something at one end, the others need to adjust too. Therefore there exists no constant state of any parameter, but rather various places of perfect balance, for every different sound you are making.

An effect that actually does directly affect the vocal folds is creaking sometimes referred to as vocal fry. The vocal folds keep vibrating — they just do it in a different kind of pattern that creates the creakiness. This effect is generally produced at fairly low volume and amplified by external means, such as a microphone! Growl and rattle are examples of effects produced at a level a bit higher up than distortion.

And perhaps the most aggressive effect of them all is Grunt. Here there is a whole bunch of stuff vibrating — basically the whole base of the vocal tract. Talk about rocking the house!

Apart from that effects can be created at different levels, they can also be created at different intensities. For instance in more aggressive metal styles, more noise from the effect can often be heard, while in for example a pop song, there might be just a slight raspiness added to notes.

The intensity of the underlying note also has a great impact on how aggressive the sound as whole will seem.

You have the right to. Voice pedagogy is not exactly known for being consistent when it comes to terminology and vocal effects make no exception. Words mean different things to different people. But in scientific contexts, growl may refer to a certain gesture and vibration that is taking place in the throat. What a mess, huh? In summary, just be aware that people use different words to describe stuff. So whenever in doubt, make sure to communicate using real sound samples instead! In this article, I am using terminology as described in Complete Vocal Technique.

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It is indeed possible to both learn to produce effects, and to avoid them if that is what you want. It is just a matter of knowing how to maneuver your voice in a particular way. I also often work with vocalists who already are able to make effects, but need to adjust them so they can last through full tours and recordings. In fact, most people have already made most types of sounds at some point in their life. So yes, anyone who can talk can also make effects. The process is however individual. The sound has to be designed to fit your personal preferences artistically so there is no one size fits all for this.

The same goes for the way we best learn. Find the approach that works for you.

Why you should listen to your inner voice (and how to hear it better)

Today there are many learning resources available some are linked at the end of this article. Understanding how the voice works, and taking use of theory, imagery, psychology, practice techniques, and more, can be incredibly helpful. Not only to help you find a desired sound, but also transfer it into automatised and effortless vocal behaviour, solve vocal issues and fine-tune the exact nuances you want.

However nothing of this can ever replace listening, feeling and doing.

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Those are mandatory whether or not you work with a teacher or on your own. Finally, there are anatomical differences that can influence what one singer has to do compared to another in order to achieve a similar sound.


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There are skillsets to learn for that, just like for anything else. Vocal health when it comes to rough vocal effects is a somewhat controversial topic with conflicting opinions. The following example, once again from that paper on The Odyssey, typifies another instance where an instructor might desire more precision and clarity:. Although Penelope shares heroic characteristics with her husband, Odysseus, she is not considered a hero.

Who does not consider Penelope a hero? The reader might also conceivably think that the student is referring to critics, scholars, or modern readers of The Odyssey. One might argue that the meaning comes through here—the problem is merely stylistic. Yet style affects how your reader understands your argument and content. Awkward or unclear style prevents your reader from appreciating the ideas that are so clear to you when you write.

Thus knowing how your reader might react enables you to make more effective choices when you revise. So after you identify instances of the passive, you should consider whether your use of the passive inhibits clear understanding of what you mean. With the previous section in mind, you should also know that some instructors proclaim that the passive voice signals sloppy, lazy thinking.

These instructors argue that writers who overuse the passive voice have not fully thought through what they are discussing and that this makes for imprecise arguments. Consider these sentences from papers on American history:. The working class was marginalized. African Americans were discriminated against. Women were not treated as equals.

Such sentences lack the precision and connection to context and causes that mark rigorous thinking.

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It is especially important to be sure that your thesis statement is clear and precise, so think twice before using the passive voice in your thesis. In papers where you discuss the work of an author—e. Instead of writing:.

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By avoiding passive constructions in these situations, you can demonstrate a more thorough understanding of the material you discuss. All this advice works for papers in the humanities, you might note—but what about technical or scientific papers, including lab reports? Many instructors recommend or even require the passive voice in such writing. Although more and more scientific journals accept or even prefer first-person active voice e. While you might employ the passive voice to retain objectivity, you can still use active constructions in some instances and retain your objective stance.

Examples include: support, indicate, suggest, correspond, challenge, yield, show. These results indicate a number of things. In some assignments, rather than reporting the results of your own scientific work, you will be writing about the work of other scientists.