Seeking resources on falsetto singing
February 17, 2016 7:51 AM   Subscribe

Looking for practical resources for "male" singers (i.e. folks with a history of high testosterone) looking to improve at singing falsetto.

Things I am finding a lot of:
  • Judgmental stuff from classically-trained writers about how falsetto is ugly and bad and fake.
  • Nonjudgmental but impractical stuff from early music folks about how "real" countertenors are these mysterious unicorns that come along once in a blue moon.
  • Think pieces about gender and Prince / Michael Jackson / Frankie Valli / Justin Timberlake / Antony Hegarty / whoever, or like that recent NPR thing about how OMG straight white men in rock are using falsetto again.
  • Trans voice training stuff saying "Whatever you do, don't use your falsetto range, it will make you sound like [transphobic stereotype]."
Things I would like to find:
  • Vocal-hygiene advice (how to project well, protect your voice, etc) that doesn't just say "Falsetto is bad for you and you should avoid it."
  • Techniques for improving your tone, range, volume, etc as a falsetto singer.
  • Vocal exercises geared towards singing falsetto.
I'm pretty agnostic on genre — I'd be open to info from a classical or early-music point of view, but I'd also be very interested in info from genres where falsetto singing is seen as "normal" and not a curiosity (soul, R&B, pop, ...barbershop? ...hair metal? honestly, whatever is out there).
posted by nebulawindphone to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
genres where falsetto singing is seen as "normal" and not a curiosity (soul, R&B, pop, ...barbershop? ...hair metal?

You can add bluegrass to that list.

It's a key feature of Bill Monroe's Blue Yodel Number 7, for example.

It frequently crops up as one part of a multi-part harmony in all-male ensembles. Another example: Johnson Mountain Boys

Here's a thread from r/bluegrass on singing that touches on falsetto.

That said, in bluegrass it tends to be of a more "nasal" variety, so that might not be what you're going for.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:20 AM on February 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


That said, in bluegrass it tends to be of a more "nasal" variety, so that might not be what you're going for.

Nah, any style is fair game. (Though my impression was a lot of the high vocal parts in bluegrass aren't really falsetto — just men singing up at the very top of their "natural" range. But I'd be happy to be proven wrong on that, and I'll definitely give these a listen when I get home.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:25 AM on February 17, 2016


You might search for 'head voice' which is the nouveau term for falsetto these days. See what you turn up.
posted by DandyRandy at 10:30 AM on February 17, 2016


Yodeling can be a pretty good exercise for falsetto singing. But you'll need either a soundproof room or an understanding partner.
posted by monospace at 10:52 AM on February 17, 2016


This kind of thing is pretty common in Hawaiian music.
posted by cubby at 1:02 PM on February 17, 2016


Cool! Do you know of any practical advice on technique or voice training that comes out of that tradition?
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:40 PM on February 17, 2016


Sorry, I am just a listener. If you uncover any good writing on the subject, please post it to the blue cause I want to read it!
posted by cubby at 6:38 PM on February 17, 2016


I found this WikiHow - Sing Falsetto - and while I'm not any kind of vocal coach or pro singer, it doesn't look total whackmobile or anything.

Maybe loosen up your search terms? Check out YouTube vids? TBH, doing really simple Googles (like "head voice vs falsetto" without the quotes) seems to get me no small number of possibly useful results (video results for said example.) Maybe some of your search terms ("training", maybe?) are causing you to get a ton of hits from classically-trained people with Strong Snotty Opinions.

Vocal-hygiene advice (how to project well, protect your voice, etc)

Projection comes from the diaphragm just like regular singing (IME), and I would certainly think vocal hygiene is vocal hygiene regardless of the range you're using.
posted by soundguy99 at 9:14 PM on February 17, 2016


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