Voice placement is often said to be the source of vocal resonance, power, and tonal purity. Basic knowledge of voice mechanics reveals, however, that voice placement has no factual foundation. Let’s briefly revisit how the human voice is produced. Vocal sound is first created by vibrating vocal folds, which send undulating sound waves (made of up vibrating molecules that bump into—that is, compress—each other) through the air and to other areas of the vocal tract, in much the same way, for example, that sound waves from two hands clapping travel to the other side of a room. Once the sound is created—whether by vibrating vocal folds or clapping hands—the sound waves are outside of the control of the speaker or singer; he can't project it, guide it, or place it. Sound travels where it can. Furthermore, sound waves do not travel on breath, but through air.
If sound traveled on breath, then louder vocal sounds would require more breath to transport it. Ironically, the opposite is true: to create strong, healthy vocal sounds your breath must not flow through the vocal folds freely, but instead must be efficiently held back and controlled by the vocal folds moving toward each other and reducing the space (glottis) between them. In narrowing the glottis sufficiently, your vocal folds restrict and compress the upwardly flowing breath, and this compressed breath then vibrates the surrounding air (actually, the molecules in the air) to create the sound frequencies that make up the core of your voice.
Based on this model of voice production, we can see that the more breath that is released or escapes from your vocal folds, the less compression is sustained below them and the less voice is produced. It’s easy to conclude that the notion of voice placement has no place in a serious discussion about vocal technique and that, along with the equally ill-conceived ideas of mask resonance, diaphragm support, mask resonance, relaxing the throat, and breath control, it must be swept into the dustbin of singing history.
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