Misconceptions #1: Explained

FALSE: Support is achieved by pushing the belly out when singing

Pushing the belly out when singing causes uncontrolled laryngeal constriction in some singers. This method doesn’t benefit the voice in any way.

FALSE: A tenor is a man who can hit a C5 in chest voice

Vocal fach isn’t solely defined by vocal range. There are tenors who can’t (yet) hit a C5 in chest voice and there are also basses who can hit a C5 in chest voice.

TRUE: It's possible for men to belt above A4

Although it’s harder for men than it is for women to belt above A4, with training, this can be achieved, as many male vocalists have already demonstrated.

FALSE: Nasality is undesirable because it strains the voice

Any sound that passes through the nasal cavity is nasal. We can say, therefore, that it exhibits nasality.

Furthermore, even if we interpret ‘nasality’ to mean ‘hypernasality’, the sentence would still be false. Hypernasality is produced at the level of the nasal cavity and doesn’t cause uncontrolled constriction at the glottal level.

Further reading: https://cramdvoicelessons.blog/encyclopedia/nasality/

FALSE: Vocal fry is damaging to the voice

Although it may be grating to some ears, vocal fry isn’t damaging to the voice. In fact, its use as a therapeutic technique for vocal nodules has actually been investigated. The conclusion: a definite maybe!

Further reading: https://minds.wisconsin.edu/bitstream/handle/1793/70229/DumanchSpr14.pdf?sequence=1

TRUE: Uncontrolled vocal fry can be indicative of vocal dysfunction or damage

Uncontrolled vocal fry can indeed be indicative of vocal fatigue, dysfunction or damage.

FALSE: Men can only belt up to F4

As many male vocalists have already demonstrated, there is no physiological limit for males belting above F4.

FALSE: 'Mixed voice' refers to a mechanical mixing of chest voice and head voice

There are four laryngeal vibratory mechanisms. Mechanism 1 (M1) is usually associated with chest voice, whereas mechanism 2 (M2) is usually associated with falsetto and head voice. Mixed voice can be done in either mechanism (is it a “chesty mix” or a “heady mix”?). These mechanisms are defined physiologically and not acoustically (though they have acoustic implications), therefore, they can be objectively qualified.

As you do a glissando from chest voice to head voice, you’ll course through the ‘mix’, where you’ll have to pay attention to the sharp transition from M1 to M2 so as to mask it. This transition is sudden and not gradual, however, by lightening up M1 as you go higher in pitch, this transition can be masked (though it still happens).

Further reading: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00207991/ and https://cramdvoicelessons.blog/encyclopedia/laryngeal-vibratory-mechanisms/

TRUE: Raising your larynx isn't inherently dangerous

A high larynx configuration promotes a higher adduction of the vocal folds, which in turn promotes a higher accruement of mechanical stress (vocal fatigue). In turn, prolonged exposure to this added mechanical stress can lead to vocal damage.

However, just because a technique is more taxing on the voice, that doesn’t mean it’s unhealthy, just like running isn’t unhealthy despite the added mechanical stress of it compared to that of walking.

FALSE: Belting is not actually high chest voice (M1)

Although the definition of ‘belting’ varies from person to person, there is a general consensus in the literature that it involves an M1 configuration.

Further reading: http://kathleenbell.yolasite.com/resources/CCM_information/Popeil.%20Belting.pdf and https://cramdvoicelessons.blog/encyclopedia/laryngeal-vibratory-mechanisms/