The head voice is associated with the head register and less commonly used than your chest register which is recognised as your speaking voice or speaking pitch. As it is a higher pitch you may recognise it as the voice you use when trying to get someone's attention or whooping. Last time you may remember we said it is possible to have too much head voice in the chest register, it is also possible to have too much chest voice in the head register. As mentioned in last month's blog, a balanced voice will tend to have a strong chest voice and head voice and a mix of both in the middle. Lighter or heavier voices in either register should be a style choice but we should always start with Vocal Balance.
How is this achieved?
In last month's blog we discussed how a muscle group was responsible for shortening and thickening the vocal cords and so responsible for lower pitches (imagine a bass note or the lowest, thickest string on a guitar). The head voice, in that case, uses a separate muscle group for lengthening and thinning out the vocal cords and so is responsible for higher pitches (imagine a treble note or the highest, thinnest string on a guitar). To be able to reach the higher notes we need to be able to thin out the vocal cords as we ascend and so there should be more of this muscle involved in the singing process the higher we are in the voice. We also mentioned that this can be adapted for different styles etc.
How do we do it? We can explore our head voice by speaking or singing on closed vowels like OO and EE. We can sing them in the head register in a hooty voice (imagine the sounds an owl makes). For male singers the head register starts around E4 and for a female A4. Using scales with larger spans, like an octave and a half, or scales that start in the head register and descend are particularly useful in finding head voice. Quicker scales also help to thin out the voice. We can also begin to add consonants that glide like a W, or softer consonants like F which do not block the airway encouraging airflow. Repeating these sounds can help to build muscle memory and help the singer discover a new function and muscular coordination in their voice.
However it is worth mentioning that this is just a building block to better control and balance. We don't want to become so light and thin that we cannot thicken up when it matters. This is why it is always better to have a Vocal Coach guiding you through the learning process.