Resonance and Vibration

11.10.2016 |

Episode #4 of the course How to sing like a star by Roma Waterman


Singing with increased resonance and vibration produces a clear sound that has strong projection and volume without force or pressure.

In this lesson, you will learn about resonance and vibration and how they affect your voice, the anatomy of resonance and vibration, and exercises to experience resonance and vibration.


What are Resonance and Vibration?

Resonance enhances sound and colors and amplifies the voice. Vibration is the sensation that sound produces in the bone structure of your face, head, and chest.

Posture and breath support are essential to good vocal technique, but they must be coupled with resonance and vibration.

If a voice is not resonant, it will not have much volume and will either sound breathy or “throaty.” This is tiring on the voice, because to increase volume, you have to push rather than use resonance.


Is It Natural?

Resonance and vibration are natural to singing, and you may have already experienced them. We were born doing it naturally, but we may have developed bad singing techniques over time, so it can feel unnatural.

As children, we use resonance and vibration naturally. Think of a baby in a crib. They are small and fragile, but when they cry, they can be loud! This is resonance and correct breathing from the diaphragm in action! We were born to use our body this way.

Your goal is to increase the natural resonance and sensation of vibration again.

You can do this first by understanding what it is, then through a series of exercises.


Resonance Anatomy

Let’s do another physiology lesson, this time of the face and head. The source of sound is the vocal folds, but it is the vocal tract that creates the color and amplification of the voice. This action is called resonance.

The vocal tract consists of the oral and nasal pharynx, nasal cavity, and mouth. Remember, your oral pharynx is the top part of your throat and back of your mouth, and the nasal pharynx is the part of the throat leading up into your nose.

If you have a look at pictures of the sinus cavities in the head, you will be amazed at how much space can be used for resonation.

In fact, it has been said that our head is actually the fingerprint of our voice! What that means is the character of the voice comes from the vibration and resonance that is created in the vocal tract. This is unique to each one of us, because each of us has a different body. In fact, if we didn’t have a head and were just vocal folds, we would actually sound just like a duck!


Simple Resonance Exercises

Here are three simple resonance exercises that you can try:

  • Bwww – Lip Roll
    You know the sound you make when you are freezing—“Bwww, it’s cold!”? This is the sound you want to make in this warm-up. You should feel a buzzing and vibration on your lips. Start on a note that is comfortable to sing, then go as high as is comfortable and as low as is comfortable. Don’t push to go higher or lower. Repeat 5-6 times. Each time, you can try and go a little higher if it’s comfortable.

  • Brrr – Tongue Roll
    Perhaps when you are cold, you say “Brrr” (rather than “Bwww”). It is more of a tongue roll as opposed to a lip roll. Repeat the above warm-up exercise, this time using “Brrr.” Make sure you roll the Rs. Again, feel the vibration in the front of the face. Go as high and as low as you can. Repeat several times.

  • Hmmm Sound
    Close your mouth and press your lips together. Make the sound “Hmmm,” directing the vibration to the front of your face. You should feel a slight buzzing on your lips, in your mouth, and in your nose. Sing as high and as low as you can go, concentrating on keeping the feeling of the sound in the same place. Go as high as is comfortable and as low as is comfortable. Remember not to push. Repeat several times.

These exercises should really help you feel resonance and vibration in the lips and face. And remember, the more you practice, the stronger it will become! In the next lesson, we are going to talk about the importance of warming up and warming down correctly.


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