We asked Singdaptive instructors what advice they might have with regards to blending vocals. Today, we hear from leading vocal and performance coach, Simone Niles, and voice teacher and choir director, Mandy Bryant, on their tips for blending with other singers.
Tips from The Team Transcript: As singers, we all have our individual tonality. It’s like having a fingerprint. We have our own unique sound print, which is something that’s worth celebrating. But how do you find a good blend when you’re singing with someone else who has such a different tone than yours?
Well, blending has many sides to it and tonality is just one part of the equation. Things that may also affect blending is how you shape words, diction, and vowels. Another factor is volume contrast or volume balance when you’re working with someone else. Also keep in mind that sometimes the differences in tonality can actually be complimentary to whomever you’re singing with.
So if you have a softer voice and you’re singing a higher pitch along with a person who’s singing a really loud, compressed or “tinny” sound, adjust your volume slightly and you can actually create a much better blend. So even though your tonality may be different than those around you, simply exploring volume contrasts can lead to a better blend. And like I said before, you can also explore vowel shapes, and diction, matching when you can. Remember that blending comes in many different forms. So explore tonality for sure, but also look at vowel shapes, diction, and volume contrast. Happy blending.
Tips from The Team Transcript: I love this question because it’s about more than one person. Not only is singing about your vocal chords, but it’s also a lot about your ears and listening. The biggest thing when it comes to blending with another singer is to truly listen. Not only listen to that other person, but listen to yourself in comparison. Oftentimes, if you’re a gifted musician, you can hear when blend happens. You just have to be willing to put in the time to listen to that other person. When you’re listening, truly listening, with intention, you can make little adjustments to your resonance, breathing, vowels, and consonants. Little adjustments to mirror what that other person is doing will help to truly get on that same wavelength.
So one thing is to remain hydrated. One of the biggest mistakes I see a lot of singers doing is they don’t drink that much water generally, but then when they’re performing, they drink a ton of it. That’s actually not the best way of doing it. Keeping your body hydrated throughout the day, week and month is going to do amazing things for your vocal cords. If you are just drinking water in the moments that you’re about to perform, you’re just keeping it lubricated. Whereas if your body is actually hydrated and you’re putting in the time to do that throughout your day-to-day life, you’re actually creating hydration within the vocal folds and within your body. Your body will definitely thank you for it.
In my band, there are three singers and we’re really focusing on ending everything at the exact microsecond. So vowels and consonants are happening in the same way at the same time for that really clean sound. So not only are you listening, but you can also look over to the people or the person that you’re singing with and match their vowels on your face. If they’re singing an ‘ahh’ and you’re singing an ‘ooo”, obviously that blend isn’t going to be quite what you need it to be. So matching vowel shapes and using your ears are critical in this process.
The Singdaptive Team feature a collection of contributions of thoughts from Singdaptive founders, instructors and currated vocal experts.
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Janine Le Clair
Gregory A. Barker