That pesky little flip! – vocal stability for singers

Great voice technique allows you to sing evenly from the bottom of your vocal range to the top, without having to push and without any cracks or sudden changes of volume.

Even registration

When you listen to great contemporary singers such as Ella Fitzgerald or Aretha Franklin, you will hear a completely even voice. They can sing from the bottom of their range right up to their high notes with no sudden change in quality, no cracks, and no breaks. To do this, a singer needs good registration or the ability to move smoothly from one vocal register to another.

What is a vocal flip?

When your voice breaks or becomes unstable at the transition points between vocal registers, we call this a vocal flip. The sound of a flip is a sudden disconnect or change of quality. Although the flip is useful in some styles of music, it needs to be intentional and not because that’s all your voice will let you do. An unintended vocal flip can destroy the emotional impact of your singing and destroy the beauty of musical lines.

Flips can come in two types:

  • The sudden or abrupt break that occurs at transition points between the register
  • Gradual flip characterised by a wavering voice.

Causes of a vocal flip

  • An unbalanced voice – either the top or bottom register is stronger
  • Difficulty navigating the passaggio, or transition points between registers
  • Undeveloped mix or middle part of the vocal range.

Eliminating the flip

  • Modification of vowel sounds – narrowing vowel sounds as they pass through the passaggio
  • Being careful not to change volume too drastically
  • Dropping the jaw to help tune harmonics
  • Strengthening the mix or middle voice
  •  Careful training in voice technique with a skilled voice coach

Discography

Musical examples featured in this video:

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