Crazy Singing Technique and Straw Phonation

I was watching the Recording of the Tony Awards recently and the Performance of Beetlejuice the Musical blew me away. Especially Alex Brightman as Beetlejuice “singing like this eight shows a week”.

So I wondered how?

Fortunately, there was a tweet showing his technique under laryngoscopy (basically a camera down your throat). What happens in this video is that his ventricular vocal cords - also known as false vocal cords - squeeze over the regular vocal cords. The rough, throaty sound you hear comes from these cords vibrating. So this is called Ventricular Fold Phonation.

Learn more

So I had several years of training as a singer, but never really learned about the anatomy of parts of the voice. Fortunately, I found the awesome website Voice Science Works explaining all the Basics, but if you want to dig deeper have a look at a medicine textbook or online resources about anatomy. (Let me know if you have any tips!)

Finally: What is Straw Phonetation?

Basically you sing (or make any other sound) through a straw for a warmup. This exercise might sound crazy but it is backed by science. If you ever sang in a choir or have done a vocal warm-up you surely have done lip trills (fluttering your lips to make a brr sound) in some variation. These types of exercises Semi-Occluded Vocal Tract Exercise, which just means your mouth is partly closed while doing these exercises. By forcing your airstream through some kind of X, pressure builds above your vocal cords (also called backpressure). This way the pressure on the vocal cords coming from below (the lungs) is decreased, helping reduce tension by making the whole vocal cord vibrate instead of just parts.

#singing #technique #vocal