Falsetto gained prominence during the 1950s. It evolved in the form of capella music, popularly known as 'doo wop', which was much sought by the youngsters. People showed avid interest towards falsetto, and started forming groups known as 'doo wop groups'. Similar to that of Southern gospel quartets, their group was composed of lead tenor, first tenor, baritone, and bass. The first tenor delivered the extreme high notes while the lead tenor had to perform in a straightforward way, forming the melodic counterpart. The bass performed the lower notes.
Miguel Aceves Mejía, the pioneer of Golden age Mexican cinema, is still revered as the 'king of falsetto'. His superb caliber is depicted through more than thousand songs. People who have attended famous operas would well know, how difficult it is to bring out the sharp voice from deep down the core of lungs. It needs immense practice to reach the level of perfection.
What is it?
Falsetto is the Italian diminutive of the word falso, that means false. Technically, it refers to the vocal register that occupies a higher frequency range than the modal voice register. The pitch overlaps at approximately every octave produced by ligamentous edge vibration of vocal cords as a whole. In simple language, it is the false voice that a male brings out in the form of a female's. The sound is usually very high pitched, and is entirely different from the baritone voice of a male. The quality of falsetto voice is similar to that of head voice and opera, but is a lot different from the two. Singing falsetto is, no doubt, very difficult, because it has limited dynamics, strength, and tones. While singing, you might also come across some subtle problems like breaking of voice, hollow sound of vocal cords, or jumping of tones. Thus, switching voice to bring out the falsetto voice is not as easy as it seems to be.
How to Sing it?
Learning falsetto is not an overnight affair. You can either learn the technical perfection from a professional singer or take up online music lessons for it. Vocal exercise books available at music stores also help a lot. You have to always keep in mind that you will have to flip your voice and you won't be performing with your manly voice. It requires a lot of breathing exercises to produce the high pitch voice. Read the following paragraphs to get a clear concept.
Vocal warm ups are necessary. Breathe as much as possible to inflate the air capacity of your lungs. Deep breathing or diaphragm breathing always helps much more than superficial breathing. Lie down on your back, keep your hands on your abdomen, and breathe deeply. This improves your breath holding capacity while you move ahead on the higher tones of the yodel.
Sing on High Pitch
You cannot do this in one shot. You have to gradually proceed to the higher tones while singing. Do not jump on the higher notes at once. Push the air upwards through your tummy to the upper respiratory passage and bring out the sound. Do not force your throat muscles. This technique aids vibration of vocal cords at the right place, transforming it to a falsetto. You will notice that your pitch will also increase.
No Vibration on Chest
The air has to travel from your belly to head. The sound will actually vibrate in your head, and if this doesn't happen, then you are still on your own register or modal voice. Thus, make every attempt to snap out of it. Keep your hands on your chest and make sure it doesn't vibrate. If your chest vibrates, then you are not singing a falsetto but singing in your own voice.
Practice Versatile Styles
Every music style is different. Once you have become adept with the basics and technicalities, you can try out the varied genres to become a versatile falsetto singer. Experiment with your singing and observe the styles adopted by the famous falsetto singers. You will be amazed to see how versatile the singers are with their voice ranging from tender to sharp. Remember to sing from the end of your vocal cord.
The aforementioned content has presented you with the fundamentals on singing falsetto. If you are one of them who aspires to become a falsetto singer, make sure you never miss out the performance of Frankie Valli in the song Walk Like a Man.