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Sing Or Scream?, A Tough Decision
chaostar
May 25 2010, 08:26 PM
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Hey GMC, I have quite the dilemma. For about a year now, I have been struggling with a choice. I Want to learn vocals to go along with the guitar but I do not know what I should do. The choice is learn to sing (like Kamelot) or learn to growl (like Behemoth or Chthonic). I obviously cannot do both. People tell me that I have good range yet I know I do not have tone. I am in love with all kinds of metal, especially the bands listed above. But if I had to pick a favorite band, it would be Kamelot. And I am currently making music that has soft guitars yet aggressive drums and bass. I am also intrigued in symphinic elements as well as a huge range of other genres. Please tell me what should I choose. More aggressive or more melodic?

Thanks,
Alex

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ZakkWylde
May 25 2010, 08:52 PM
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Why can't you learn both?
There are thousands of singers who can sing clean and switch to shouts, screams and growls within an instant! All those techniques are singing techniques - the tones are created with diffrent parts of your throat but the basic techniques like air flow control or the right breathing are the same!

Don't limit yourself to one style if you want to do both, improving one style will definitely give you a benefit for the other styles!

Here are some singers who do both singing and screaming/growling:





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chaostar
May 25 2010, 09:45 PM
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i thought death vocals destroy your range and voice?!?! If I can truly do both, that would be epic!

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Dexxter
May 25 2010, 09:48 PM
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QUOTE (chaostar @ May 25 2010, 10:45 PM) *
i thought death vocals destroy your range and voice?!?! If I can truly do both, that would be epic!


Only if you do them with the wrong (without) technique.. smile.gif

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ZakkWylde
May 25 2010, 09:56 PM
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Every wrong vocal technique can hurt your throat!
If you would try too hard (with too much force) to reach high notes singing for example Kamelot stuff you can kill your falsetto voice forever! Same goes for growling and shouting techniques - if it hurts then you are doing it wrong!

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thefireball
May 25 2010, 10:19 PM
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You weren't created to kill your voice. No matter how you scream, whether it's "wrong" or "right" it will hurt your voice. Go for melodic. smile.gif

(although screaming can sound cool every now and then. I like Red. They do a bit of screaming, but mainly sing. It's actually one guy doing the vocals; the leader singer, Michael.)

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ZakkWylde
May 25 2010, 11:25 PM
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Screaming and Growling can very well be done without hurting your vocal cords or your throat but it has to be preacticed like any other instrument!

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thefireball
May 26 2010, 01:54 AM
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QUOTE (ZakkWylde @ May 25 2010, 05:25 PM) *
Screaming and Growling can very well be done without hurting your vocal cords or your throat but it has to be preacticed like any other instrument!


I'd like to get a medical doctor that deals with this stuff to see his/her answer. I don't understand how it can't hurt your voice.

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Dexxter
May 26 2010, 01:59 AM
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QUOTE (thefireball @ May 26 2010, 02:54 AM) *
I'd like to get a medical doctor that deals with this stuff to see his/her answer. I don't understand how it can't hurt your voice.


I think singers that actually do this knows this better smile.gif Check out Luciana's lesson on Screaming, she started a series awhile ago, it's just one lesson at the moment but it's all there smile.gif

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Ivan Milenkovic
May 26 2010, 03:05 AM
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It's all about practice. Screams and growls can actually be pretty "easy" on the throat, and demanding just like any other vocal technique. Zakk is right - any singing that is not proper can hurt your throat, so it would be best not to push it when it hurts - this is the sure sign that something is wrong.

Don't be scared to try and be persistant. Good scream/growl doesn't happen over night, so try as much as possible to find the technique that is needed. Analyze what experts on these techniques say, and see how to implement that.

Good luck! smile.gif

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The Uncreator
May 26 2010, 03:27 AM
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The trick is with screaming and growling, is too produce to desired sound without over exertion of air. I know it kind of does boil down to a strong release of air, But when you know what you are doing - It doesnt do any harm to your vocal chords. I have been practicing for a few years, and I have learned to scream from my chest and not my throat - Which reduced a lot of friction for me. Also, You can do little tricks like apply pressure with your hand to your stomach when you scream or growl which helps the balance of oxygen.

Also, you can learn both - No problem. I have been practicing clean vocals for about a month now, and its coming along nicely. I mean, by all standards and comparisons I suck tongue.gif But Its something I can develop I think.

Lastly, with screaming and growling - Its not like singing in many ways besides the obvious. First off, Developing a sound and tone is not the same as with clean vocals, your tone is not as easy to control. Basically you sound like what you sound like. I learned this from Tommy Rogers of Between The Buried And Me, He said that you can't really hope to sound like someone else or want to sound like something too specific in the beginning. You have to find out what your capable of, where your range and tone come from, and develop from there.

This is just what has worked for me - Screaming and growling is about 80% experimentation and trial and error. But make sure if you starting screaming or growling a certain way and it hurts too much, stop. It will hurt in the beginning until you have built a tolerance for it, but if it gets to the point where its pain, and not just a tingling or little burning. Stop.


EDIT

Also, this is traditionally not recommended for "traditional" singers, but drinking some chocolate milk when you are screaming and growling can help you. Mark Jansen of Epica does it, and Simone Simmons explains on a DVD Documentary that the milk coats your vocal chords, which would make a normal singer have to try harder, but for screaming - It protects them smile.gif

QUOTE (thefireball @ May 25 2010, 05:54 PM) *
I'd like to get a medical doctor that deals with this stuff to see his/her answer. I don't understand how it can't hurt your voice.



When its done wrong you will know. Your vocal chords will develop little bumps called nodes which can be pretty harmful (Angela Gossow talked about it happening to her in her early years - And she had to learn new technique). I saw a doctor about it when I did a lot of vocal recording then got the flu and some very bad pain in my throat. Turns out my vocal chords were fine, I had not done any harm and showed no harm done to them (3 years into screaming/ growling) I just had an infection.

My doctor told me that I should be fine if I had been doing it this long and had not show any signs of damage. So there is a right way to do it, Its just something that cant really be taught like with normal singing. You have to learn to avoid damage pretty much on your own, It varies so much from person to person.


PS

I have seen doctors about my voice and hearing since I have a possibility some genetically inherited diseases which can show signs through throat and inner ear problems.

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thefireball
May 26 2010, 03:53 AM
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Well, it don't make me no difference anyways. I can't sing, much less growl. biggrin.gif Not my style to growl anyways. smile.gif

Thanks though.

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Azzaboi
May 26 2010, 05:35 AM
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I suggest both too, sing and controlled screaming inbetween to give an omff! Sometimes it's another band member doing the screaming. Still need lyrics in the screams that can be understood to be good. Backup reinforment?

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This post has been edited by Azzaboi: May 26 2010, 05:37 AM


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MickeM
May 26 2010, 09:02 AM
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QUOTE (Dexxter @ May 25 2010, 10:48 PM) *
Only if you do them with the wrong (without) technique.. smile.gif

...and without a mic laugh.gif

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chaostar
May 26 2010, 02:39 PM
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That was very informative guys. I must say you have truly made my day/week/year. I had no idea you can do both. I am going to get singing lessons since I already know how to growl from the diaphragm. I just got to develop it more. The lessons are going to suck. I have such a shitty tone but hopefully I will learn how to work with it.

Thanks for everything guys,
you answered my question and helped me to the fullest,
Alex

PS.
@Uncreator,
I HAVE noticed that milk does something to your vocals cords. I have done it a couple of times on accident and I have got great effects. But I got worried when I could not feel anything so I stopped haha. I will look more into it. Thanks dude.

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Bogdan Radovic
May 26 2010, 07:31 PM
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Yeah you should definitely work on both. But I would recommend first learning to sing clean and then developing different techniques. Don't worry much about tone and color, with some lessons you can learn how to sing pretty well! smile.gif

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Skewlbuzz
May 27 2010, 10:01 AM
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QUOTE (thefireball @ May 26 2010, 02:54 AM) *
I'd like to get a medical doctor that deals with this stuff to see his/her answer. I don't understand how it can't hurt your voice.


Well the way you create different sounds is too complicated for me to write here, but basicly the larynx (meaning "flute") and it's two vocal folds form a pair of bellows.

You blow air through the larynx, the vocal folds start vibrating and sound is generated. Increased velocity/amount of air gives an increase in volume. The position of the vocal folds determines the tone produced.
The pharynx serves as a resonance chamber, and speech results from the change in tongue, lip and soft palate position.

Back to the original question, overuse or wrong use of this "instrument" can damage the vocal folds. They are small folds of mucous membrane and kinda fragile (imagine them becoming frayed from overload). Being the most important part of all of this, this is of course not a good thing.

Have you ever been hoarse after a long night of partying? There you have the effect of mild damage to your vocal folds.

Now I'm not a singer, so I can't say what in fact is wrong use.

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This post has been edited by Skewlbuzz: May 27 2010, 10:03 AM


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Gus
May 31 2010, 01:22 AM
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About two years ago, I used to think myself as hopeless in vocals. It turned out that is like any other instrument. It takes a long time to learn but it can be done with proper practice.
However I can see two main differences about singing compared to other instruments:
1) It is really easy to over-practice. dry.gif
2) Nobody can really teach what you can do with your vocals but yourself. A lot of it is about experimentation. You have to figure out "that works, that don't"
I really think that you should not "try to run before you learn to walk". So screaming and high notes are not a good thing if you do not control techniques such as breathing and support.
That's what I decided to do. I'd like to have a more crispy rock sound like nickelback or soundgarden, but my voice is really more like Elvis... So I am not really trying to scream or anything at least until I feel it is time to learn the technique. Instead, I try to find songs which better suit my voice and try to make one step a time from there. So far, I had a lot of progress.

As for style I do not really like growling. For instance, I really like Corey Taylor much more in "Stone Sour" than in Slipknot. Still I respect him a lot for being able to use vocals in such different ways. But it takes time and self knowledge to do such a thing. And also to know when not to do it. Check out what he says in 1:14
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmmzImQv_BA#t=1m14s

In summary, for advice:
1) Take care of your vocal chords. Even better than you do with your guitar
2) Don't push yourself to imitate your favorite singer. Experiment a little bit and you will find your own style and limits.
3) Give time to time and practice wink.gif

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Daniel Realpe
Jul 10 2010, 01:00 AM
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yes you can do both,



I think is way more challenging to "sing"

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Karl-ss
Jul 10 2010, 01:39 AM
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Screw singing! GROWLS FOR LIFE!

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