How to Smooth Out Your Passagio

Submitted by Hannah Fabean on Sat, 08/01/2020 - 07:30

Songbirds, I cannot believe that it is already August 2020! This has been a roller coaster ride and time has flown by us so quickly since we have begun our journey together in January.

In July we talked about how to improve your musical expression, and now it’s time to talk about how to identify and smoothen your passagio.

Defining the Terms

Your passagio is also commonly known as your break area. Passagio is an Italian term meaning the area of your vocal range that passes between the registers. I try to stay away from using words like “register” and “break” area because I prefer talking as though we have one whole voice. I don’t like using terms that imply that your voice is broken or that it is chopped up. However, I will not ignore registers completely because there is truth to how the voice physically resonates differently throughout your range. The best way to approach the thought of your voice as a whole thing is to identify the range of your passagio and work on smoothing out the “cracks” so to speak. The best way of smoothing it out is to lower the range of your head voice register.

Difference Between Registers

The chest voice is heavy and the head voice is light. It is easier to bring a light thing down low than to bring a heavy thing up. The chest voice is a weightier sound that is not meant to be brought up high in range. On the same hand, the head voice is a lighter sound that allows the freedom one needs to produce a high pitch. If a singer tries to carry the weight of the chest voice up like a heavy suitcase up a flight of stairs, it becomes exhausting very quickly and requires muscle. This is something I refer to as vocal baggage. Your voice is not meant to work that way. Thus, I greatly encourage the use of the head voice in private voice lessons. 

Make it Easier

Look for the elevator! Learn how to access your head voice and practice some of my exercises so you can take it easier on your voice. I refer to your head voice register as the elevator in this way because if you find the space of upward resonance, naturally lifting the soft palate, you will find the space that allows you to heighten your range. As a result, you will begin to have more free access to higher pitch levels. Your head voice is your elevator, making upward travel much easier and more comfortable.

The place in your range between chest voice and head voice needs special attention from you. If you smoothen it using the exercises I provide this month in my tutorial videos each Tuesday, you will have a less obvious transition between the two registers. I will discuss 1. mixing your registers to one whole sound, 2. referring to chest-mix and head-mix (a difference in the dominance of one register over the other, and changing the balance between them), 3. cleansing off of the vocal cords in the passagio range, and 4. anchoring the breath to connect your voice to your airflow (yet, again!) to stop the pinch and squeezing that can happen in your most unstable vocal range (referring to insecurities of your subconscious every time you sing a note in this range). You will definitely want to stay on for this ride!

As always, to view my weekly tutorial videos you can visit Free Your Voice channel on YouTube and follow my IG account @letmefreeyourvoice for daily singing tips and music sharing, and you can like my Facebook page Hannah Fabean @letmefreeyourvoice to help promote me as a voice teacher. Like, subscribe and share the blogs and videos that help you!