Jose Carreras is one of the The Three Tenors.
Although his body is not so big, he always lets out a really powerful voice.
His voice is attractive, really expressive, and he is classified as a great singer.
Even though he was a good singer when he was young, sadly in his older age, his voice sounds less vibrant after recovering from leukemia.
I’ve found out one feature which attributed to his great voice, and that is the lips.
The following figure is Jose Carreras’s mouth.
Some characteristics are his lip sticks out and there is a space between the teeth and the gums. He also uses many facial muscles, besides the muscles used to move his lips.
For moving the lips, we use the levator labii superioris, the levator anguli oris, the zygomatic muscles, risorius, depressor labii inferioris muscles, the depressor anguli oris muscle, mentails, the orbicularis oris muscle and the buccinator muscle.
In the case of Carreras, he additionally moves the suprahyoid muscles, the depressor septi nasi muscle, the nasalis muscle, the procerus muscle and the corrugator supercilii muscle – all at the same time.
When I reviewed his face on TV when singing (in his younger years), I could see that many extra facial muscles were being utilized. His nose and eyebrows were always in motion in cooridination with his vocals as well as his lips, which I believe greatly influenced his powerful and distinctive voice.
While I hope you found these details informative, know it is difficult to mirror the exact same movements as Jose Carreras. We can study and learn the processes as well as the muscles being used by him, and try to apply those methods to our own style when singing.
I plan to introduce other important features surrounding his voice sometime soon.
I often hear Vocal Coaches say, “try to open your throat when vocalizing.”
I’ll now explain what opening the throat means.
The throat has two layers, when referencing structure. One is inside of the larynx, where the vocal cord is located. The other one is outside of the larynx, where the thyroid cartilage is located. The inside is referred to as the interior, and the outside is the exterior layer.
I’ve asked a professional vocal coach to perform opening of the throat, so I could analyze this procedure, and what I found is as follows:
(1)The hyoid bone moves forward.
(2)The thyroid cartilage moves backwards
(3)The soft palate is then lifted up
(4)The position of the tongue is slightly downward
The above 4 conditions are required to open the throat, and the larynx needs to be in a softened state.
The infrahyoid muscles, suprahyoid muscles, and the pharyngeal muscle located in the throat are all being used when opening the throat.
Luciano Pavarotti opened the throat ideally as follows.
Note1: The preferred condition of the larynx to successfully perform the action of the throat opening has four points to keep in consideration. Those four key points are that the vocal cord can vibrate easily, the arytenoid cartilage can move smoothly, the epiglottis can stand up and the space of the piriform recess is large enough to handle the action.
The following photo displays the status of opening the throat.
Note2:The throat has muscles that can contract but not extend by themselves, that is the reason why if your muscles are not flexible the throat cannot open easily.
Will your singing get better if you repeatedly practice falsetto and natural voice vocals?
My answer to this question is yes, but be patient because it takes a lot of time. Improvement can take months even years depending on how dedicated you are. Keeping a routine and practicing daily, even weekly will lead to speedy progression.
Let me explain the reason why.
The purpose of training is to make the cricothyroid muscle strengthen and in turn, be better controlling pitches.
When vocalizing the falsetto contracts the cricothyroid muscle, and when vocalizing the natural voice expands the cricothyroid muscle.
If you do training properly, you can control high-pitch and low-pitch sounds more easily. When training to strengthen the cricothyroid muscle, muscles must contract to move the cricothyroid articulation.
The cricothyroid muscle has the pendant moiety as well as the oblique part, they create a bowing movement which makes the thyroid cartilage close to the cricoid cartilage. The actual sliding movement concludes in making the thyroid cartilage move far away from the cricoid cartilage.
The above movement expands the vocal cord.
If the vocal cord expands, it makes a high-pitched voice. It makes the low-ptiched voice if the lateral cricoarytenoid muscle moves to contract the vocal cord.
The pendant moiety is responsible for producing the dynamic high-pitched voice, and the oblique part makes the soft and sensitive high-pitched voice.
There are conditions that must be met to be able to move the cricothyroid muscle properly. They are as follows:
(1)The muscles that attach the thyroid cartilage to the cricoid cartilage need to have flexibility.
If the muscle is hard, the cricothyroid articulation, it will not be able to move easily and keep control of contracting or expanding the vocal cord.
(2)The cricothyroid articulation can not move at all, and there are three reasons surrounding this issue.
1:The joint to the right and/or left are not functioning properly, causing the movement process to be difficult.
2:The cricothyroid articulation is hardened, physically, and can not move freely.
3:The superior laryngeal nerve, which controls the cricothyroid muscle, is pressured for some reason and obstructs the cricothyroid articulation from moving.
The cricothyroid articulation sometimes suffers temporary muscle damage or fasciitis, due to vocalizing excessively or (straining) too hard.
In conclusion, it is possible to make your singing better if you train by repeating the falsetto and natural voice over and over again. But, if you never get better … it is most likely because the cricothyroid muscle is having trouble moving well.
If you have the above case, I recommend that you fix the cricothyroid muscle to move better.
Most people harden the larynx when they let out their voice, this action makes it difficult to control the voice in detail.
Having hard muscles in the larynx is just a habit of the muscle, not a medical disease.
The greatest characteristic of people who have good voice is that they have flexilible muscles around their larynx.
Make your larynx soft and acquire great voice!
Note:I’ll introduce a way, which you can check the degree of your muscle hardness and also the cricothyroid muscle, which will help you determine if you are using it properly or not. Follow these steps:
First, touch the cricothyroid muscle by your finger gently.
(1) Feel if the muscle fiber is thick enough. (Do not squeeze just feel, and lightly press)
(2)Try to identify the pendant moiety and the oblique part individually by hand.
(3)You can realize when the lower of thyroid cartilage gets close to the upper part of the cricoid cartilage when vocalizing higher-pitched sounds little by little. So, vocalize!
People who cannot naturally produce the above movement, whose high pitched sounds are difficult to produce, it is common to harden the vocal cord muscles to make a high-pitch forcibly. This action is never good ‘in the long run.’ Forced high-pitch vocalization can, make a metallic sounding voice, a difficult to control voice, a hoarse voice, and losing sound level voice for a temporary amount of time. This short time is as long as it takes for the strained/forced/worn muscles to relax and assume their original muscle tone once again. In this case, the worn out singer is not only tired to sing but the listener is also tired to listen to his singing. Be aware if you are using your vocal muscles naturally or forcefully. Practicing production of natural and falsetto sounds with light movements, in time will lead to great vocalization with admirable flexibility of the larynx.
The following figures show the pharyngeal cavity of Luciano Pavarotti. Luciano Pavarotti was a best-selling classical singer and a humanitarian, known for his popular vocal performances with the group the ‘Three Tenors.’
The following figures compares the throat of Pavarotti(A) with another person(B) who has a similar body structure to his.
You can see the pharyngeal cavity of Pavarotti is bigger than the other one. The differences are visibly minor in the above figure, but the differences in sound production are huge.
Our clinic offers treatment that can extend your the pharyngeal cavity.
Please consider it.
Note:Check back, in a future post I will explain the process I have researched and follow, in regards to moving the laryngeal muscle to the effect of Pavarotti.
A suspension mechanism is necessary when a muscle cannot extend by itself. It needs other muscles to support movements and extension.
For example, the suspension mechanism of the biceps is the triceps. The biceps contract and the triceps extend.
The larynx is suspended by the stylopharyngeus muscle. The muscles that support the suspension mechanism of the larynx are the digastric muscle, the genioglossus muscle, and the stylopharyngeus muscle. The stylohyoid muscle mostly contracts to assist in pulling up these muscles.
The stylohyoid ligament exists in the stylohyoid muscle. When the stylopharyngeus muscle and the stylohyoid muscle contract, the hyoid bone and the thyroid cartilage go up. Then, the sternohyoid muscle and the thyrohyoid muscle extend and pull the larynx down.
The stylopharyngeus muscle and the stylohyoid muscle is pulled by both sides which hardens the muscles when the suspension mechanism is working.
Furthermore, the larynx moves toward to cervical spine at this time.
Please be aware that this usually causes LDP. (Larynx Deep Position)