How To Improve Your Singing Tone

Posted on 16th April 2014 in Learn to sing, Tone, Vocal training

Improve Your Singing Tone And Resonance

Improving your singing tone will depend on your understanding of the components that make up good tone and what produces bad tone.

singing tone

Tone is described as, “a musical or vocal sound with reference to its pitch, quality, and strength.” according to

Tone or timbre (which is the quality of a musical note, sound, or tone that distinguishes different types of sound production). In this case we are descibing the sound of your singing voice.


Tone Color

tone colorTone color is the characteristic that allows us to distinguish the sound of one voice or instrument from another. Described by terms like warm, dark, bright, or buzzy.

For example: a violin and a piano can be played with the same pitch and volume, but produce different tones. A piano will have a warm tone, whereas a violin has a bright or shrill tone.

Tone is not to be confused with pitch and loudness.

Just as two different singers could be singing a song with the same loudness and pitch, you could still distinguish them from their tone.

It’s described as the color of your voice. Is it warm, dark, ringing, shrill, or bright?

The tone of your voice changes with your moods or the emotions you are trying to convey.

Our tone is created through resonance which we will discuss in more detail shortly.


Common Tone Issues

Common issues with creating the appropriate tone is either it’s too breathy due using too much air too quickly, or the tone is too tight as a result of tension, and the sound is therefore squashed and restricted.

There are 3 basic categories that sum up the most common tone producing mistakes:

Throaty Voice: described as heavy, thick, and deep, low, and seems to come from deep in your throat cuased by a constricting of the throat.

> Nasally Voice: or hypernasality occurs when there is too much nasal airflow or a lack of appropriate nasal airflow during speech and particuliarly when singing high notes.There are some who enjoy the nasal sound. However, it is not generally considered to be a desirable tone.

> Breathy Voice: Better known as hypofunctional. This occurs when the vocal cords are held apart, allowing a larger amount of air to escape between them. This produces an audible breathy, airy sound. Like a balloon leaking air.




What Is Good And Bad Tone?


What Is Resonance?

Resonance is vibrations that create the tone through your mouth, throat, and nose.

When attempting to a create a specific sound, think about which parts your are using to create that sound.

If you are imitating a twangy country singer, notice the difference as compared to trying to sing like Barry White.

Notice how your brain tries and controls breath, and muscle shapes to achieve those different tones.

Good tone is achieved by connecting the voice to the breath with deliberate energy and effort.

Clear tones create strong vibrations, which can be felt all over the face and head depending on the pitch of the note, whether high or low.


Head, Chest, And Middle Voice

There are three main contributors where your voice resonates and produces sensations:

> The Chest Voice: This is the sensation for low, warm, and rich notes which you can feel in your chest, throat, and mouth. It’s the voice we commonly use to speak with, unless you talk like Mickey Mouse.

> The Head Voice: This is the sensation for higher, brighter notes, in which the vibrations feel like they have moved from your throat and mouth, up through your soft pallet and traveled even further back and higher up, so that they are coming from the top or back of your head.

> The Middle Voice: As well as chest and head voice, we can alter resonance by placing sounds forwards. This allows for us to brighten tone by resonating notes around our cheekbones and either side of the nose, which is commonly referred to as the mask. 

Using these resonating areas is what brings your voice to life. If you force the sound straight out of your mouth, it will sound dead and colorless. By focusing and mentally directing the sound, it will go there.

The goal of any singer should be to develop a voice that is clear and even, from the chest voice, up through the head voice. Many singers fear this transition. No fear, it’s simply a matter of blending and combining the joins, which we know as the middle voice.

It is much more beneficial for the long term health, agility, and appeal of your voice to blend the voices rather than reaching for notes that are too high for your chest voice.

Try singing from low to high, feeling the sound traveling out of your chest, while avoiding the larynx from tightening up. Stay relaxed and visualize the sound moving into the space in the high back of your throat.

From here you should be in a mix between your chest and head voice, your middle voice. As you sing higher, direct the sound with your mind, into your head, and let go of your chest sensation.


 Your Singing Tone & Resonance




After reviewing the many points covered, hopefully now you having a better understanding of what tone and resonance are and how to create them by using your head, chest, and middle voice.

Just for fun: Try to make a Mickey Mouse voice. Notice how you are shaping your mouth and throat, the amount of air you are using and your use of your diaphragm.

Can you tell whether you are using head, chest, or middle voice?

Actually it’s a trick question because it is likely you are using your falsetto or false voice which is higher pitched than your normal singing voice.

The falsetto tone has a head voice type quality, but is not actually head voice.

The idea behind this exercise is to become aware how you are producing the various sounds and where they are coming from.

Next, try to impersonate Darth Vader’s voice. Again, see if you can identify where and how you are producing that sound.

Which voice are you producing now?

And there you have it!

If you’re not sure. Review the points above again and pratice the exercises.

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