What is my voice doing by Christina Clements

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What is my voice doing by Christina Clements

Hi there. I’m currently a soprano and was recently admitted into an opera company (yay!). Now, I’ve only studied singing for less that a year, but I have an amazing teacher who I’ve made great progress with in a short amount of time using the bel canto method.

Now, she considers me a “dramatic” soprano. At this point, I can hit a pretty solid A and I’m starting to get the hang of B minor and even B. I found an exercise online for how to increase your range though…It’s basically by thinking of a really high note in your head and sliding up to it with no inhibitions. So I tried this a couple times and amazingly, I think I hit a C (I wasn’t near a piano). But something odd happened in the process. Once I got to the point where I was in the B-C range, by voice did a little jump. Almost like it broke…but I was able to continue on upwards anyhow…kind of like a yodel. Is trying to reach these notes bad for my voice?? Or could that be the so-called “whistle” register? I’m so confused…It never hurt once when my voice broke. I did it a few more times just to make sure it wasn’t a flub and it kept doing it at the exact same point consistently. I’d like to know if I should continue this exercise or not and if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Thanks very much!

Re: What is my voice doing by ST Administrator

Hi Christina,

It would be impossible to provide a specific evaluation without hearing/observing you sing but from your description it sounds like you may be experiencing a passaggio or bridge area of your voice (see http://www.vocalist.org.uk/passaggio.html )

The exercise you describe is often referred to as Sirening or the Siren and as long as you are not straining, tensing or forcing yourself to reach these upper notes should be fine 😉

It is unlikely that you have accessed the ‘whistle’ register but probable that you have accessed what is often referred to as ‘head’ voice.

Don’t be afraid to discuss this with your teacher at your next lesson!

Hope this helps
ST Admin

Re: What is my voice doing by Christina Clements

Thanks for the reply! I was wondering though…is the whistle register purely for high C-E coloratura sopranos or could I eventually learn how to do it with a B range? If so, are there any safe exercises to practice with, because I some people tend to think that it eventually destroys the voice. Thanks again 🙂


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