Friday, January 15, 2010

The Alchemy of the Mix!

Friday musings...

No, you aren't getting a voice lesson via a blog entry today - but rather, just some musings about "mix" aka "middle voice"!

These musings come from my experience as a singer and how I have discovered this alchemy, and how I have learned from teaching it, and how to teach it!

What is this elusive "mix"? It goes by many names, depending on your culture - in music theatre, it is "mix", in the classical world, "middle voice", or "middle range" - whatever you call it - it DOES exist!

No matter what culture you reside in, what voice type you are, whether you belt or not, if the alchemy of the mix is not balanced, your voice does not work optimally!

I have many singers coming in with vocal issues - belters who have MTD, coloraturas with no chest voice, singers trying to find high notes, etc etc etc - and it all comes back to the middle voice!!!!

If that middle voice is not balanced and mixed together, there is no mix. If there is no mix - no balance of resonance - in the middle register - the entire register/range will be compromised.

Every note in a singer's register balances from the weave of the middle voice. EVERY NOTE. If that fabric of middle voice is not woven and developed correctly for the individual singer, it will create issues in the extreme range, in passaggios and in stylistic development of technical ideas.

Every note in the middle voice must be mixed together. EVERY NOTE. The muscular balance shifts for every position and every vowel choice. All technical and stylistic choices must find a physical athleticism through the mix!

This alchemy is like creating a unique scent, or a magnificent exotic drink - mixing, adding, knowing the exact balance of tastes, scents, textures - in order to create the uniqueness of YOU in muscular balance that creates the tangible resonance of YOUR mix, YOUR middle voice.

Then and only then, can you ask of that balance in order to move into other stylistic and technical definition.

A balanced alchemy of mix allows you to discover a completely balanced voice - in ALL registers. It allows you to discover a TRUE belt without muscle tension. It allows you to find and balance the high notes, the low notes and the true resonance of both! It allows you to move into an operatic balance of vowel, or discover a musical theatre mix throughout the range...

Whatever you are looking for - it is the mix and how you mix it that will help you discover the totality of your voice.

The middle voice is often dismissed, and yet it holds the secret of so much of what our voice does. It is the point of departure and the point of return. It is the voice that exposes the truth to us, can frustrate us, and can illuminate the reality of our voice to us! If we don't allow this reality to become tangible, we never know our voice, nor do we find it fully.

Dare to discover how the alchemy of the scent, the texture, the colours, the tastes of your middle voice, the mix create the uniqueness of YOU - note to note, between the notes; how they weave together with breath, imagination, muscular suspension, vibration; How that mix becomes uniquely and exclusively, YOURS.


  1. Thanks for sharing. My teacher is a big believer that if the middle isn't correct, then the upper voice will not be correct.

  2. This is so very true, Susan! I focus almost entirely on the middle voice with my students for just this reason -- working down from just above it and up from just below it to blend between head and chest. I'd love to know more about how you actually teach it - we must grab that coffee soon!