Ep.28 How to Sing – Falsetto vs Head Voice?


A common question my students often ask when
they’re singing, is “Is that head voice or is that falsetto?” Inside this video, I’ll
show you the difference between falsetto and head voice so you’ll know how to sing with
both to choose the best for your songs. Hi, I’m Chuck Gilmore with Power to Sing. The
definitions of falsetto and head voice often disagree. I define them based on the condition
of the vocal cords. Are the vocal cords connected or disconnected? When your vocal
cords are disconnected, you are in falsetto. Here’s a slow-motion video found on Youtube
of the vocal cords disconnecting. This is a scope of voice artist Mal Webb from the
UK. In this video he’s making some unusual sounds. -eeeeeeeeeeee- You can see and hear
the vocal cords suddenly breaking apart. This is falsetto. While in falsetto, you can
see the edges of the vocal cords are barely touching as they open and close. With falsetto
a lot of air passes through the cords. -ahhhhh- Because they’re in falsetto, there’s little
to no resistance to the air pressure from the lungs. You can sing high very easily in
falsetto. -ahhhhhhhh- You can also bring the falsetto voice down quite low like this. -ahhhhhhh-
Some singers can bring falsetto all the way down to where you would normally sing in chest
voice. Falsetto will not blend into the chest voice. In order to get back into the chest
voice, the vocal cords have to reconnect. This usually involves a ‘break’ type feeling
back into a connection. – ahhhhhh- For men singing in falsetto there’s a significant
loss of the lower overtones of the chest voice. I compare it to my Minney Mouse voice. Hello
Hello. My name is Minney Mouse. For women, there is a loss of the lower chest overtones
in falsetto voice as well. This can result in a breathy, airy tone quality. Also, if
I try to lean into my falsetto by increasing the volume and air there is little to no resistance.
In fact, it seems to blow the cords further apart. -ahhhhhhh- Finally, there is some opinion
that years of singing primarily in falsetto is a leading cause of the ‘vocal wobble’ as
you get older. Because the vocal cords have lost their ability to adduct firmly. How can
you tell if you are in falsetto and not head voice when you’re singing on high pitches?
If you can descend the scale and sing into your chest voice without reconnecting, then
you are in head voice. -ahhhhhhh- If you can sing down the scale into chest voice and you
have to reconnect, you are in falsetto, because falsetto will not blend into the chest voice.
-ahhhhhh- Some singers can disconnect into falsetto on high pitches. If you can disconnect
or flip, then you were in head voice. That is, your cords were connected. I can’t do
that after a certain pitch, so that doesn’t work as a test for me on higher notes. It
might work for you. How to sing in head voice. When your vocal cords are connected you are
either in chest voice or head voice. Your lower pitches are your chest voice and the
higher pitches are your head voice. Confusion between falsetto and head voice often occurs
when we are singing the higher pitches. This is because on the higher pitches the resonance
for both falsetto and head voice vibrates in our heads. -ahhhhh- Falsetto -ahhhhh- Head
voice Both resonating in the same place, the head. The difference is with head voice the
resonance is made with connected vocal cords. In contrast, the resonance created by falsetto
is made with disconnected vocal cords. Both resonate in the head cavities. But the vocal
cords are different. Whether connected or disconnected vocal cords, on higher pitches,
they both resonate in the same place. In head voice the vocal cords vibrate in a deeper
fashion. That means they’re opening and closing more firmly from bottom to top. This is true
even more in chest voice. In head voice you can control the amount of air that is being
resisted by the vocal cords. You can be resisting very little air. -ahhhhhhh- I’ll add a little
more resistance to that. -ahhhhh- If I were in falsetto, it’s a little harder. -ahhhhhhh-
It kind of blows the cords apart. -ahhhhhh- With my head voice I can get a little more
purchase with my vocal cords. Because your vocal cords are connected you can easily
add more resistance to air by closing your vocal cords more firmly. You can learn to
sing just as high in head voice as you can in falsetto. But with head voice you can get
more intensity. Also, present in your head voice are the added chest voice overtones
that are absent with falsetto. Head voice, at higher volumes, gives your voice a special
power, intensity and richness that is difficult to produce with falsetto. I’ll do it in falsetto.
-ahhhhh- falsetto -ahhhhhhhh- head voice. Head voice blends smoothly into the chest
voice without having to reconnect. There is no ‘clunk’ into chest voice because the cords
do not have to reconnect. -ahhhhhhhh- So that was falsetto because I couldn’t blend back
into my chest. -ahhhhhhh- That was head voice because I could get back down into chest voice
without having to reconnect. Singing well in a balanced head voice will maintain the
health and youthfulness of your voice because the vocal cords have maintained their conditioning.
Just like physical exercise promotes good health. Which is better? Head voice or falsetto?
In my opinion, head voice is more useful because it gives the voice more vibrance, control
and power. I believe it may be easier to control air flow because the more firmly adducted
cords do not allow as much air to escape. Head voice is more useful because it blends
into the chest voice smoothly. The separation of the vocal cords makes falsetto easier
to sing high notes and lends itself to song styling. If you choose falsetto for an occasional
style choice, I think it’s great. If you have to sing falsetto because you can’t sing in
head voice, you are limiting yourself as a singer. If you flip or break into falsetto
as you’re singing through the middle and into your higher notes; or if you sing in falsetto
throughout your range, your vocal type is likely flip-falsetto. Do you know your vocal
type? I don’t mean whether you are soprano, alto, tenor or bass. Your vocal type is what
you tend to do when you sing. Visit PowerToSing.com and take the vocal test which I call the Power
Test. Take the quiz and discover your vocal type immediately. Visit the Knowledge Center
and learn about your vocal type and download the exercises designed for you. This will
help you progress faster with your voice. I’m Chuck Gilmore with Power To Sing. You
can sing higher with beauty, confidence and power. I’ll see you inside the next video.

64 comments

wow thanks I want to get back into Singing. ive praticed for almost 10 years. falsetto is my head voice. I'm a tennor2. I can hit base.

This video helped me realize that my D#5 is indeed a heady mix, since it connects to my chest voice. It just doesn't sound very pleasant, it sounds screechy and kind of pushed.

Aren’t they the same, that’s how I sing, both high and low and with generous vibrato, this one is live to camera, enjoy a Beth Hart song,
https://youtu.be/Su7XrtVYWxk

I had voice lessons in college and, not be mean but, they didn't seem to teach me anything. I've been looking at musical things online and learning what I should have been taught in college. The few videos I have watched of yours point to my problem areas and make me feel like I am one step closer to understanding my voice. When I tell people I don't know how to sing, I mean I don't know how to do mixed voice, at least as I have understood from your video.

I always thought that I was unable to go head voice but I just discovered that I spent my life singing with it–

One thing I want to ask, does my highest note using head voice can be considered as the highest point or part of my vocal range? This video really opened up my mind between falsetto and head voice. Thank you for this wonderful video😃

Is there a video where someone sings in head voice and then compare it to falsetto? This video kinda helped but I still get confused with both lf them

When I was a little, i can reach high notes.. Like songs of mariah.. But then now, im 15..it bacame hard… What can u say teacher? How can I reach those high notea again

Personally, Ive found that I tend to have more control when it comes to falsetto than head voice. When I sing the song Señorita, for example. I always tend to sing it in falsetto, as when I try to control the pitch changes (idk if they're called that, that's just what I call them. The capitals highlight the changes "i love it when you CALL me seÑORIta"), it just blends together we'll, and sounds better overall. When I do it in head voice, it tends to be deeper, and off.

I can sing in falsetto quite high, however a lot of times I get a break in my voice, like air stops coming out and theres no sound, even when I know I can definitely hit the note I'm reaching for and I have good breath support. Any way to fix this?

Sounds like you're still in Falsetto but you just have that control to switch to head voice when you want.
Amazing videos Chuck, thank you.

Can you do a reaction to Dimash? He’s arguably the best singer in the world. Listen to he SOS from the singer show from China. He’s a Kazakhstan singer who entered a Chinese competition. Would like to hear your professional review of his singing.

I have a question again 😅, is itpossi le to go higher in your chest voice from your mimit toyour head voice… like go higher than your chest voice limit before to go to head voice ?

Great to have stumbled on a teacher who actually knows what they're talking about.

There's so many "vocal teachers" on youtube whose advice is "breathe from the diaphram" – given while pointing to their bladder.

This is like discovering a very important feature in your smartphone after decades of usage.

I would never realized how my singing voice came from if I don't watch this video 😂

Youre repeating yourself quite often 😅
And you still didnt tell me HOW to sing in head voice… I really would like to connect my vocal cords while singing high notes but nobody tells me how i do or at least how i could try that…

My friend made fun of me doin head voice and though that maybe im doin it wrong then, thanks to this vid. I was doin it right and I still don't know why he made fun of me I guess he was just doin that cause he is a little jerk when his girlfriend is around.

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