Voice Range of Carnatic Vocalists

Miscellaneous topics on Carnatic music
thenpaanan
Posts: 532
Joined: 04 Feb 2010, 19:45
x 33
x 23

#76 Re: Voice Range of Carnatic Vocalists

Post by thenpaanan » 03 Oct 2017, 00:21

melam72 wrote:
29 Sep 2017, 08:59
Wait for another 40-50 years. When his voice starts to age (and it will start to age, believe me), he will lose his voice immediately and will sound pained and strained.

He will then be, like GNB, prone to shruti lapses, and, like GNB, we hope that he has another disciple with the same dynamism as him to cover for his faults.
40-50 years of singing life is acceptable in my opinion. Many western singers postpone performing some particular pieces to the end of their careers because they know their voice will be ruined after that. But some of them do perform those pieces at that later stage. After all you want to sing for musical fulfillment as well and sometimes ruining your voice may be the price you have to pay to perform some pieces. At least they seem to doing with the knowledge of the consequences. The question is whether our singers are paying a much steeper price. If your voice "goes" after 10-15 years that should not be acceptable to anyone, least of all the singers themselves.

-T
0 x

shankarank
Posts: 2804
Joined: 15 Jun 2009, 07:16
x 2
x 100

#77 Re: Voice Range of Carnatic Vocalists

Post by shankarank » 03 Oct 2017, 10:33

Jeez - the voice ( and implicitly the sound) has been the topic for a decade in this forum - what with old threads revived and others cross referenced - still this man claims the reverse : https://youtu.be/y4e2llnNmds?t=663 . And that is the crisis preventing many to listen to the music since from my center of the world days! :lol: If only they'd understand what viSranti is they would not have fretted about this so much :( ! :lol:

All of them worried about everything but music :!: :o ;) :lol: :roll: :roll: ( no high brow emoticon - ::sigh::) :lol: :lol:
0 x

SrinathK
Posts: 1915
Joined: 13 Jan 2013, 16:10
x 101
x 338

#78 Re: Voice Range of Carnatic Vocalists

Post by SrinathK » 06 Oct 2017, 10:33

Listen to GNB at the 30 min mark in this RTP :- https://soundcloud.com/mahesh-bhuvanesw ... ottai-1964

Now that I'm listening it on a better recording - there's definitely a register change to mixed voice to hit those higher notes - it's seamless, but I can tell. This concert is also one of his best on tape. In the andolika alapana, he sings a brigha going up to N2.

And this gave me an insight into just why GNB sometimes had a few difficulties in his later years around the G3-M1 point in the upper octave. His voice at times sounded like it slightly struggled with stability and manuverability, but then he would go higher to the P, D1 and even the N1 -- that is impossible if he was just belting it out with chest voice. In your normal voice, if you can't reach M1, there's no way you can go higher without shouting or your voice breaking into a falsetto. It is possible to momentarily go higher by using the momentum from a fast run up the scale, but you can't stay there, and your voice will break.

Yesterday when I tried getting a smooth passage from chest to mixed voice, I had the exact same problem, and then I realized it. It was a register change that hampered him at that point. This might not have bothered him when he was younger and he had more upper range.

And this -- the 1964 concert (listen to 2:07:40 for the upper octave brighas) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVE8SyhNCQA -- that's not belting, that's mixed voice.

If you listen carefully to some high pitched singers, you will notice that as they come down from hitting a high notes, there may be a note where their voice slightly gets a bit hoarse or soft -- that's not strain. That's a register break. I have found it's always harder on the way down than up.

Now let's look at NC Vasanthakokilam - listen to mAyE tvam yAhi at 17:50 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1CkdJ9w9KY and with how much power she hits the upper N2 (M1 in madhyama shruti) in guruguhOdayE (it's almost like her voice explodes like TR Mahalingam's). If you pause and listen closely, there seems to be just a bit of strain on sudhA -- that's not strain, that's a register bridge. This is as good as it can ever get.

Now among other musicians, MMI in his post 1940s recordings (when he was singing in C-C#) never used a head or mixed voice. His highest note was what he could reach in his normal chest voice. TVS does not use it either - he just has the power and range in his chest voice to sing without strain (and to me he's among the very best in this department) - that's why his voice is still strong. Ariyakudi also sounded like he used only chest voice.
0 x

SrinathK
Posts: 1915
Joined: 13 Jan 2013, 16:10
x 101
x 338

#79 Re: Voice Range of Carnatic Vocalists

Post by SrinathK » 06 Oct 2017, 12:10

The most interesting case would be Brinda and Mukta. Brinda never really used a head voice. Her chest voice had a deep range, so above the upper Sa, she just softened her voice to a near falsetto (yes, you can taper your chest voice to just softly touch a higher note and you can go higher to transition into a falsetto, but this will come at the expense of power and manueverability) -- this is a chest voice - falsetto transition and not a mixed / head voice. Mukta however sounded like her head voice WAS in fact her natural "gear", which explains many things.

Now MS amma, if you listen to her sarOja dala nEtri at the UN concert, that final fortissmo to the upper P -- that's purely chest voice. MS amma was familiar with all these techniques, but discouraged changing registers. However, she could also soften her voice if needed to hit high notes without forcing it as well.

MLV, listen from 2:04:00 here :- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdDefl9E7AU&t=7820s (she hits the upper P at 2:06:45 and goes higher), but there's no belting or shouting - I think right from the beginning MLV knew how to use the mixed voice well, and her lower pitch meant that she also had plenty of upper range in chest voice in her peak days.

Among modern musicians, TMK has spoken to us music club junta about how overcoming register breaks allows the voice to open up to almost 4 octaves. I think he also uses vocal fry for reaching that anumandara panchamam. Abhishek Raghuram also uses a mixed voice for his upper notes (his actual chest voice is a soft baritone). I do not think any of the female CM musicians today use anything other than their chest voices, although the older ladies do use the tapering-falsetto voice. TVG was one person whom I've heard live using multiple registers.

If I had labels to describe how it feels like in your throat - the chest voice would be a ||, the falsetto a () , the head voice a Y, the whistle register a V, and the vocal fry (those low growls) as an IOI.

The actual act of whistling does not involve vocal cords however (that's just blowing air), so it should not be confused with the "whistle register", which actually uses the back of the vocal folds. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kdp4NHWr7G8 -- I will call it "paal cooker" register. :lol:

Perhaps next time we should discuss about Thanjavur Kalyanaraman, he was an expert on this.
0 x

thenpaanan
Posts: 532
Joined: 04 Feb 2010, 19:45
x 33
x 23

#80 Re: Voice Range of Carnatic Vocalists

Post by thenpaanan » 26 Oct 2017, 23:27

I stumbled on to this video of P Unnikrishnan discussing voice culture. It is (surprisingly) reasonable but stops short of giving actionable advice. I don't know if someone has posted this previously, if not here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMIYljhsm2A .

-T
0 x

SrinathK
Posts: 1915
Joined: 13 Jan 2013, 16:10
x 101
x 338

#81 Re: Voice Range of Carnatic Vocalists

Post by SrinathK » 10 Apr 2018, 20:10

Here's Yesudas singing a Thodi alapana (this used to be my hit piece as a kid, till I wore out both the cassette and the player!).

When it comes to using all the registers (chest, a bit of mixed voice, full head voice and even vocal fry to hit that lower Sa) with remarkably precise brighas (and KJY's brighas are laser like in their precision and swarasthanam), this is as good as it ever gets. It's a good example of how the voice can transition across the registers. @thenpaanan, For you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqZbt2xud0s
0 x

shankarank
Posts: 2804
Joined: 15 Jun 2009, 07:16
x 2
x 100

#82 Re: Voice Range of Carnatic Vocalists

Post by shankarank » 11 Apr 2018, 07:31

Yup the tarangini series. One with ksheera sAgara, Eta vunnara , another one with dikshitar kritis Bhajare rE citta, this one - all staple diet for the ears continuously - when all Grundig spool tapes were making their way to the U.S.
0 x

MadhavRayaprolu
Posts: 50
Joined: 18 Jan 2018, 13:04
x 3
x 4

#83 Re: Voice Range of Carnatic Vocalists

Post by MadhavRayaprolu » 11 Apr 2018, 12:26

This is very informative. Thanks @srinathk and others for the detailed explanations.

One clarifying question: I understand mixed voice and the examples given in this thread. I’m not sure if I understand what head voice in CM sounds like. I assume we are not using this term synonymous with falsetto. If so, are there examples in CM of a pure head voice?
0 x

SrinathK
Posts: 1915
Joined: 13 Jan 2013, 16:10
x 101
x 338

#84 Re: Voice Range of Carnatic Vocalists

Post by SrinathK » 11 Apr 2018, 12:39

Actually Yesudas used head voice in this Thodi alapana I posted above to reach the uppermost Sa. He used just a bit of mixed voice around the upper M1 to D1, above that it smoothly turned to head voice. Abhishek Raghuram on the other hand, I heard him at Kapaleeshwarar temple and he was clearly using a mixed voice above the upper G3, but had he gone higher than that like Yesudas, then it would have transitioned into head voice. In general, if you want to explore the ati tara sthayi, by that point it's all head voice.

Using a male voice as an example, the thing about mixed voice is that it still sounds similar to your masculine voice, but the head voice by comparison is totally effeminate. Actually in mixed voice there is both an element of head voice and chest voice involved. Even the old singers singing in high pitches used mostly mixed voice before transitioning into head voices for the highest notes.

Falsetto by comparison is really soft and flute like - it may be considered as an incomplete transition to head voice. I think if you listen to MLV in her last days, you would get a good example of it.

I am not sure if anyone totally used their head voice for CM - the chest voice is what is most suitable for the CM gamakas in a person's normal pitch.
0 x

SrinathK
Posts: 1915
Joined: 13 Jan 2013, 16:10
x 101
x 338

#85 Re: Voice Range of Carnatic Vocalists

Post by SrinathK » 11 Apr 2018, 18:54

rajeshnat wrote:
29 Sep 2017, 08:37
Thenpaanan and SrinathK
keep them coming - lovely post. YOu both are educating me a lot about Head voices and all of that - I was expressing that without the right terminology. Over to both of you. By any chance is there a snippet that you heard say within few minutes (may be 5), you get all voices like Head, Chest , Stomach etc with pointers . That would firm up well with my nebulous thoughts . Any thoughts on voice range of SPB (My primary god) and KJY (my backpup god) in few cinema songs would be welcome.
I shared a KJY up there.
0 x

MadhavRayaprolu
Posts: 50
Joined: 18 Jan 2018, 13:04
x 3
x 4

#86 Re: Voice Range of Carnatic Vocalists

Post by MadhavRayaprolu » 12 Apr 2018, 06:22

SrinathK wrote:
11 Apr 2018, 12:39
Using a male voice as an example, the thing about mixed voice is that it still sounds similar to your masculine voice, but the head voice by comparison is totally effeminate. Actually in mixed voice there is both an element of head voice and chest voice involved. Even the old singers singing in high pitches used mostly mixed voice before transitioning into head voices for the highest notes.
Very clear description.

Any practical tips on improving range and seamlessly navigating the registers on high notes? I have been singing for decades but never managed to push even a single note higher than my normal range.
0 x

RSR
Posts: 1329
Joined: 11 Oct 2015, 23:31
x 112
x 36

#87 Re: Voice Range of Carnatic Vocalists

Post by RSR » 12 Apr 2018, 22:34

@78->
SrinathK
"Now let's look at NC Vasanthakokilam - listen to mAyE tvam yAhi at 17:50 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1CkdJ9w9KY and with how much power she hits the upper N2 (M1 in madhyama shruti) in guruguhOdayE (it's almost like her voice explodes like TR Mahalingam's). If you pause and listen closely, there seems to be just a bit of strain on sudhA -- that's not strain, that's a register bridge. This is as good as it can ever get.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
@79->
SrinathK
Now MS amma, if you listen to her sarOja dala nEtri at the UN concert, that final fortissmo to the upper P -- that's purely chest voice. MS amma was familiar with all these techniques, but discouraged changing registers. However, she could also soften her voice if needed to hit high notes without forcing it as well.
=====================================================
Thank you.
Is there any illustration with DKP , Mani Iyer and Alathoor brothers' song? Just for information.
0 x

SrinathK
Posts: 1915
Joined: 13 Jan 2013, 16:10
x 101
x 338

#88 Re: Voice Range of Carnatic Vocalists

Post by SrinathK » 12 Apr 2018, 23:10

None of them used anything other than chest voice. Neither did Ariyakudi. Nor Semmangudi.

Even Sanjay Subrahmanyam himself seems to have figured out the whole mid voice thing only recently. In his concert at Kapaleeshwarar's his voice was the best I've ever heard it yet. He now has no difficulty hitting high notes. The fitness aspect also definitely has had an impact, but I digress.
0 x

gandharvan
Posts: 1
Joined: 13 Dec 2018, 00:27

#89 Re: Voice Range of Carnatic Vocalists

Post by gandharvan » 26 Dec 2018, 13:53

KJY has hit mandra sa in A#. His voice seems most resonant at lower pitches. Going by the clarity and the loudness of that particular note, I speculate he could easily push it even lower by a couple of notes.

In the birthday concert with Chembai, during the kalpana swaras of Shiva Shiva, he easily hits mandra sa in C without any vocal fry.
0 x

ganesh_mourthy
Posts: 1150
Joined: 02 Sep 2007, 23:08
x 4
x 11

#90 Re: Voice Range of Carnatic Vocalists

Post by ganesh_mourthy » 27 Dec 2018, 09:32

hello gandharvan.

It woudl be nice to see a link along the comments. Are there any youtube links?
Thank you
0 x

musi
Posts: 38
Joined: 29 May 2017, 11:52
x 10

#91 Re: Voice Range of Carnatic Vocalists

Post by musi » 01 Jan 2019, 09:29

Amrutha Venkatesh did that in her Saramathi Alapana for Madrasana . she touched the mel Sadja and keezh Rishabha (almost 3 octaves)
0 x

shankarank
Posts: 2804
Joined: 15 Jun 2009, 07:16
x 2
x 100

#92 Re: Voice Range of Carnatic Vocalists

Post by shankarank » 24 Mar 2019, 02:02

As Raju Asokan keeps coming with his Somu deluge into youtube here is one where Somu is reaching very high:

https://youtu.be/zg5EIZOqFac?t=3990

As he drops with a SankarabharaNamish landing https://youtu.be/zg5EIZOqFac?t=4005 , MSG is careful with only 2 notes in return! And then he ascends high to show kAmbOdhi!
0 x

Post Reply