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Vocal technique for screams??
Old 9th May 2018
  #1
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mutetourettes's Avatar
 

Vocal technique for screams??

Hi all - I'm intrigued about ways to do a decent alt/grunge scream vocal without killing the voice.

It seems frank Black has been doing this for a long time, but may have had some issues more recently (and has had vocal coaching recently, and relies on licourice between songs?) - but his is the kind of scream I'm asking about... 'Raw'.

The story goes he learned it off a Thai singer called 'Bob' who was unimpressed by his attempt at the beatles "Oh Darling!".

Lord knows how long Kurt Cobain's voice would've lasted the way he was singing, but again 'raw'

And then there's "Oh Darling!" itself, which Paul would do only one take per day....

I have gone through Melissa Cross Scream stuff, but it sounds not the same at all, very.. er... 'airbrushed' for want of a better word...

Anyone know anything else geared to vocal survival with a more raw scream?
Old 9th May 2018
  #2
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

I don't know how it's done exactly, but I've been right up close to a couple Screamo/Cookie Monster guys who were doing it in a way where they clearly weren't hurting themselves. My son, who's mainly a bass player, can do it. Not the "acting" part, but the vocalization for sure. It's not terribly loud, and reminds me a bit of how animation VO people do Donald Duck.
Old 10th May 2018
  #3
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mutetourettes's Avatar
 

Yeah - that's what seems to be 'taught' for those genres... but it's a million miles from Pixies/"Oh Darling" I reckon.. doesn't sound the same to me anyway...

I slightly suspect that it just can't be safely repeatedly done, a real raw voice sounds 'raw' for a reason, like the raw wound it's gonna produce on the throat.... but anyway I'm looking to be proved wrong..
Old 10th May 2018
  #4
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I'm no trained singing expert but for me it comes from the upper throat right below the back of the mouth. That's where you find the scracth/distortion without needing to push. Can even do it in a low volume voice. It definitely comes down to technique.
Old 24th May 2018
  #5
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Temple of Light's Avatar
 

Paul McCartney, in Hey Jude, at the end....is as raw as it gets...I think he was strung out for weeks in that take...Heroine does have it's uses...
I don't think there is any other way to get that on record.

YYMV

Light

Temple
Old 3rd June 2018
  #6
You need something to scream about, first of all. It’s no good to be passingly, and just intellectually curious about it.

The M.C. “He he HEY HEY” is good. Growls come from chest voice and screams come from Head voice. Just start sounding like a frustrated horse and you’ll get there. Little by little most days and stop when your voice hurts or gets too scratchy.
Old 3rd June 2018
  #7
Gear Head
 

It's definitely possible to do it without damage. The distortion effect comes from ventricular folds (situated right above the vocal folds, AKA false vocal cords) vibrating together. If done correctly, it doesn't impede healthy vibration of the vocal folds. If you do it incorrectly, you'll get hoarse pretty quickly, but you'll get hoarse from singing with bad technique without the distortion too, so it's bad technique and not the distortion that causes hoarseness. Doing distortion is a pretty advanced technique and you should be in good control of your foundation technique before attempting it. Not saying that all the grunge singers were in control, but that's probably the reason some of them were losing their voices
If it hurts or tickles in your throat while you're doing it, then it's incorrect.
In general, it's usually safer to practise with a very light sound color at first until you're in control of the effect and can get a feel for how much you can darken it.
The effect requires a lot of support energy, so make sure to give it that energy. CaptainNovember mentioned that you need something to scream about first, which is a great comment since that emotion will also make sure that there is enough energy to perform it correctly.
Practise in short intervals until you feel comfortable enough with producing the effect.
Couple of tricks that may or may not help you to initially locate the effect:
- imitate an evil witch
- do a karate chop (don't go hitting bricks with your palm untrained though ) with sound
- pull the tongue back and up, creating a very small passage between the tongue and the back wall of your throat.
Try all these with a light sound color and a lot of energy. Trust your body, if it feels wrong, it is wrong and requires further adjustment to get it correct.
You can find more details in the book (or the app) Complete Vocal Technique by Cathrine Sadolin.
Also, there's some info here that might help you - https://cvtresearch.com/effects/distortion/
For sound samples, scroll down to distortion in Overdrive and distortion in Edge. I think those are the ones you're looking for probably.
Old 3rd June 2018
  #8
Gear Head
 

Oh, just remembered this video is available - https://youtu.be/vvIEpmgC4SU
Kaare, one of the teachers from Complete Vocal Institute (where I'm also studying to become a certified CVT vocal coach), is going over different vocal effects with some tips to achieve them in this lecture given at the 7th World Voice Consortium Congress last year.
Old 3rd June 2018
  #9
Ivan, thanks for the kind words. Good advice and nice work on your music.
Old 3rd June 2018
  #10
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mutetourettes's Avatar
 

Thanks Ivan - that's some great resources..
Old 3rd June 2018
  #11
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mutetourettes View Post
Thanks Ivan - that's some great resources..
No problem! Hope some of it can help you on the way to achieving the sounds you want
Old 17th June 2018
  #12
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by mutetourettes View Post
Hi all - I'm intrigued about ways to do a decent alt/grunge scream vocal without killing the voice.

It seems frank Black has been doing this for a long time, but may have had some issues more recently (and has had vocal coaching recently, and relies on licourice between songs?) - but his is the kind of scream I'm asking about... 'Raw'.

The story goes he learned it off a Thai singer called 'Bob' who was unimpressed by his attempt at the beatles "Oh Darling!".

Lord knows how long Kurt Cobain's voice would've lasted the way he was singing, but again 'raw'

And then there's "Oh Darling!" itself, which Paul would do only one take per day....

I have gone through Melissa Cross Scream stuff, but it sounds not the same at all, very.. er... 'airbrushed' for want of a better word...

Anyone know anything else geared to vocal survival with a more raw scream?
Well......I once asked Vince Neil of Motley Crue, "Hey man.....how do you do the Billy Idol WOOAAAAAW!?" (Yes, I realize he isn't Billy Idol, but the one time I got to sit next to my childhood hero my GF on the other side of me literally brought her hand down on her dinner plate, whoes edge was hanging over the lip of the table, thus flipping her dinner into the air where it spun end over end spraying myself and Mr. Idol with Chicken and rice...I turned to Billy and said "I wish I had left her "Standing in the shadows" (Buudum cha!)

He gave me a deadpan look....it was awkward, so my plan to steer the conversation to a debate on "Whiplash smile" didn't happen....

ANYWAY....Vince told me" Close your throat, use much less air than you think.....now get out of my dressing room"

JK....he didn't say "get out" Vince is actually very nice, and was generous with the advice, so I'll pass his words onto you, when screaming into a mic, especially when there's compression you don't have to kill yourself to scream, in fact, its counterproductive, close your throat and push a little air through, record it and listen back, you'll be amazed at what you hear.
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