What makes for a good live performance

Many people are born with the ability to express themselves through a musical instrument, but some find themselves unable to do so due to some kind of physical or mental impediment.

Those who can not play instruments have a unique musical ability. They use the sounds of their throat to speak through their musical instrument.

Most throat singers specialize in one or two instruments but some voice other instruments.

For example, when you see Jason Gray perform you will hear him as a Tenor, but he will also speak through his guitar. (This is where his nickname came from, “Sixstring Prophet” )

Throat singing is practiced in many different forms from the jazz-blues style, to the rags style and more. This article will give you a comprehensive, yet simple, intro to this unique musical art form.

What are throat singers?

Highasakite is an indie pop and indie rock band originating from Norway. The band has, since formation, consisted of Ingrid Helene Håvik as vocalist, Marte Eberson and Øystein Skar on synths and keys, Trond Bersu on drums and Kristoffer Lo on guitar, percussion and flugabone.

Throat singing is a form of ventriloquism. By speaking through the instrument, the throat singer vocalizes the desired musical notes that he or she wants to be produced.

There are three main elements of vocalists’ tool kits for the throat singer. The two main elements are breath control and voice modulation.

As a singer’s breath changes over the course of a song, so do the tonality of their voice. A throat singer will inhale, then exhale over and over again as they sing.

In some forms of throat singing, the breath control is in some way dynamic and dynamic breathing is the most pronounced feature of the throat singer’s musical voice.

It is the ability to control the amount of air they are inhaling or exhaling.

As a throat singer progresses they develop new techniques to increase the sound they make and also to control the flow of air in and out of their lungs.

As a singer’s breath changes over the course of a song, so do the tonality of their voice. A throat singer will inhale, then exhale over and over again as they sing.

Breathing type

For example, a person who is normally a trill breather breathes normally while singing but will have a trill, not so much, when singing in the upper register.

This is one example of the different types of breathing.

Breath control is a wide variety and can be illustrated by specific breathing exercises.

Dynamic breath control

This is where a singer will breathe from the diaphragm through a mixture of different patterns of breathing.

In this voice, the breath control is more dynamic in that it is constant throughout the song.

This breath is made up of inhalation, or no respiration at all for long periods of time.

Then there is breathing into pauses or very short periods of time of respiration. Often, this is done when the performer needs a breath.

If they want to sing very fast, they will just bring their breath back as they sing.

Hitherto breath control

men playing guitar and singing

This type of breath control is similar to drawing breath and is used for breathing in between lines or pauses.

This type of breath control is the easiest to learn. Here we see a very technical breather, with well-controlled airflow between words.

This type of breath control is used when singing in the higher registers of the instrument.

This type of breath control is used during more difficult passages, where the performer is to sing quickly, but still, keep the music sounding smooth.

Dynamic breath control

Here is a breath control of the sort usually seen in a rhythmic dance. The breath starts off the beat of the music, the rhythm changes, and the breath is put back into the beat of the music.

For example, in a guitar progression, the breath will be back in time to the rhythm of the guitar, and on the downbeat of the music.

This technique is often used by beatboxers.

Recalling breath control

This breath control is known as ‘recalling’. This is breathing that occurs before the inhaling stage.

This is the breath that was originally brought into the melody. The vocalist will begin to inhale as they are singing.

This breathing technique is used when singing a section of the song that will repeat twice.

Loud speak

Revolution Conference

Some singers, because they are afraid of hurting their voice, prefer to use atonality of singing that is slightly quieter, usually in the B – F# range. This is referred to as Loud Speak.

The various techniques of speech and breath control go hand in hand. This gives the performer the ability to talk and sing at the same time.

Mouth covering

Some singers wear a mouthguard while singing, to prevent their voice from being damaged, so that they don’t bite their tongue or grind their teeth when singing.


High-voice singing is when a person who has very high levels of vocal capacity tries to sing lower notes.

This can be a problem if they sing to the beat of the music, and sing with a quieter breath, or put more effort into the lyrics, so they end up singing way too low.


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