How do you know if you’re singing in chest voice, head voice, or a mixed vocal style? Today, we discuss what these different registers should feel like and sound like!

What is Chest Voice?

When you are singing in chest voice (or chest range), you are singing in the register that you normally speak in. One way to help identify chest voice is to put your hand on your chest and pay careful attention to the resonations created when you sing or speak. In the tutorial video above, coach Sharmayne and Tara demonstrate how this should work. When you sing in chest voice, you should feel the same resonation and support that you feel when talking. The sound that results is big, bold, and intense.

What is Head Voice?

Head voice is generally utilized when singing higher notes. When singing in head voice, you should not feel the resonations in your chest that you felt when singing in chest range. Instead, head voice can be felt in the head, behind the eyes, between the ears and is what we refer to as “the mask.” Head voice is a range often used by singers who are classically trained but can be challenging at first for many singers to identify.

Prepare just prior to delivering the note by opening your mouth before you start to sing. Doing so helps you avoid singing “into” the note and allows you to sing with your head voice as soon as the note begins. We also suggest tucking your chin a bit when singing in head voice, a technique we refer to as the “puppet head principle.” We discuss this in even more detail as part of our 8-week vocal course.

The 50/50 Chest & Head Voice Mix

In our Sing Smarter Not Harder Methodology, we identify 3 mix types. However, these mixes occur on a sliding scale, and for the purposes of this tutorial, we’ll be focusing on the 50/50 chest and head voice mix. This mix usually comes into play when singing notes that are just a bit higher than chest voice, but don’t necessarily require a full head voice.

To accomplish this, we’re taking the chest range demonstrated above and adding a bit of a head voice feel. This creates a sound that can be described as brighter and slightly more intense than the head voice itself, but not as rich or gritty as the chest voice itself. You should feel some of the note support from the chest and some from “the mask.”

Be sure to watch the video tutorial above to get a better handle on what we’re talking about and subscribe for future tutorials!