Accessing the Head Voice in Singing

What is Head Voice?

Head voice is sometimes referred to as falsetto, though in fact it has resonance. There are certain resonance areas in your body when you sing. Your head is one of them, in addition to your nasal cavities, diaphragm, etc. Therefore, while both are high in pitch, head voice is powerful in a way that falsetto is not.

You access your head voice by singing from your diaphragm and pushing out the sound through through your upper mouth and into your nasal cavity a little. I enjoy it a lot because of the unique sensation. While singing, you can shift from a chest voice to a head voice as your rise in pitch; the head voice allows you to maintain a rich sound while hitting those exciting high notes.

Accessing Your Head Voice

When you’re accessing your head voice, you should not raise your larynx, or voice box. In males, the larynx forms the lump in the next known as the Adam's apple; in females, you can see if it is rising by looking at your throat.

Sing while looking in the mirror and notice if your larynx moves. An upward movement is a very common occurrence when singers are using wrong technique and it ends up hurting the throat. It happens frequently even with people who have been singing for a long time. So first things first. Try to master keeping your larynx still and don’t let it rise or lower while trying to access your head voice or while doing any other kind of singing.

Next, you want to focus on keeping your throat as open as possible as you find resonance in your head cavities (the pharynx, the oral cavity, and the nasal cavity). Singers sometimes have a tendency to close the throat as they sing higher notes. This closes off your head voice; instead, you should always keep the throat as open as possible, even when rising in pitch. To "open the throat," you are really opening up the soft palate at the back of the throat to allow more air out as you sing. It’s much much easier to hit high notes or low notes while your throat is open, and opening your throat also creates resonance in your head. This is how you access head voice.

Keeping a Low Larynx

Head Voice Versus Chest Voice

There are different registers in singing. Some singing coaches say that there are two registers: the chest register and the head register. Lower pitches are sung in the chest register, while higher pitches are sung in the head register. When you think about it, this makes sense, because when you sing very low, you naturally feel like you are singing from down in the belly. These registers differ not only in pitch, but also in tonal quality, because they use different parts of the body as resonators. The pharynx is a passageway that connects the nasal cavity and larynx, and all of these body parts resonate as you sing from your head voice.

This is pretty in-depth, but don’t let it intimidate you. Just try to sing the note the way it should sound. You will start noticing that you use your head voice a little more for certain notes and then later you can develop that head voice more. In order to improve as a singer, it is always good to develop an awareness of what your body is doing and how it feels while you sing.

Head Voice Video

Head Voice Exercise

Your head voice should have the same resonant sound as your chest voice—the resonance is simply coming from a different part of your body.

To practice this, use this exercise to train your head voice. Start by singing your arpeggios within chest voice range. Sing "nah" for each note. After completing each arpeggio, shift up one note. Focus on keeping your larynx stationary and your throat open. If you need help doing so, try moving your throat as if to prepare for a yawn between each arpeggio.

As your arpeggios move upward in pitch, focus on keeping the same tone throughout. You will find that by keeping your larynx down and your throat open, the resonance in your chest will move to your head as you rise in pitch.

Chest to Head Voice Arpeggios

Comments 14 comments

jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

I enjoyed reading this. I used to be a member of a singing group when I was in college. Our conductor would always tell us to imagine our voice coming out of our head. She never gave it a name though. Now I learned that it's called head voice.

Thank you very much for sharing this.

Thank you too for leaving a comment in my hub.

All the best!


Marie Dwivkidz profile image

Marie Dwivkidz 7 years ago from UK

Enjoyed this hub. Great to have another singer out there - keep thise singing hubs coming!


Jim Farguson profile image

Jim Farguson 7 years ago Author

thanks so much! Yes, I am working on another singing hub. I'm glad both of you liked it. Talk to you soon,


isidro avalos 7 years ago

I appreciate all the great info. Everything was so easy to understand. I currently sing in lead worship at church. Please let me if you have additional info on headvoice or chest voice. My email is visitmyemail@yahoo.com Thanks!


Jim Farguson profile image

Jim Farguson 7 years ago Author

no problem. I'm glad all of you liked it. I will try to provide more singing information soon.


Stuart 6 years ago

The note you sung D5 that wasn't head voice, that was your mix or singing in the mask/middle voice(whatever you wanna call it)because I could hear head voice with chest tones. And what you thought was reinforced falsetto was head voice lol. For the record Head voice and falsetto is not the same because it is impossible to connect falsetto to any of your other registers without a break where as the head voice does. Falsetto uses the outter part of your vocal chords. If you want to know the registers that connect in sequence without a break starting from lowest to highest It goes vocal fry, then chest voice, then mix/middle voice, then head voice then to whistle register if your capable of doing so. If you haven't heard of whistle register go on youtube and type in 'Mariah whistle register' and listen :) If you want more info on how to use each register i have msn so add me kuja101@hotmail.co.uk P.s I don't mean it be rude but both that man and woman in those video's don't know anything if they are telling you that. Men do have a head voice, it may not be as high as a woman's but the do. The Woman passed off mix voice and head as head voice..... =FAIL though she was right about belting that's just bringing up your chest voice to shouting in tune :L For the record Jim, You have a good voice dude even if your wrong about the registers lol


Jim Farguson profile image

Jim Farguson 6 years ago Author

thanks for your feedback Stuart.


steb 6 years ago

my head voice is heaps higher than my falsetto, and more powerful, we all have that ability , just bound by stereo types, i practice using my highest chest then step it up a bit higher with mixed voice, then lift the roof of my mouth and open my throat and the head voice develops from there. its amazing how you improve with practice, my range is past male soprano,hope this helps


Cath 6 years ago

Hi , I have started giving singing lessons, and have recently started teaching a man, previously all my pupils have been ladies!! He is having trouble accessing his head voice( not falsetto... He can do that fine!) but for high nots he tends to just shout and belt out in chest voice and it's excruciating!! Ice tried to guide him but I could really use some good tops for him if anyone can help ?! Cath


leni sands profile image

leni sands 6 years ago from UK

Awesome


emanuel 6 years ago

hey i need help learning how to sing, if you can help me can you email me at emanuel_palalic@yahoo.com


dw 4 years ago

hey, i cant acces my head voice... can you email some tips to acces it? i can sing, but not sure how to acces head voice. can you email on:

cocacolaboyan@hotmail.com.?

thank you jim


christine 4 years ago

i 'm very happy to read this tips... thank you so much for sharing!!!god bless... :)


barfoden 3 years ago

Yes... It takes a bit of practice as a male to learn the muscles involved with headvoice singing.,, and the best way is to practice it at lower volumes but being articulate and singing with a clear sound.

I am a fairly low baritone so headvoice register is far from my daily functions when talking etc. And being honest ,, my voice do sound better when singing some deeper croner stuff where my natural resonance comes through much better.. I have a narrow small mouth and naturally a thin timbre,, which is not helpful creating a big sound in the high registers.

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