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How to Get a Breathy Tone

Learn how to get a breathy tone in this Howcast online singing lesson featuring singer Anya Singleton.


Hi. I'm Anya Singleton. We're going to talk about how to get a breathy tone.

When you think about a breathy tone, a lot of people envision Marilyn Monroe singing 'Happy Birthday, Mr. President'. There was a lot of, "Happy birthday to you." The thing about that is that's not a supported breathy tone; that's not going to be something that you can really use to your advantage as a singer. It worked well for her, but I think in order to really use a breathy tone as a singer, you want to think about you're still supporting with the breath so you can still get the notes out and they sound like you're really executing them. You want to think about lying back a little bit.

For example, if I'm going to sing a note, and I'm just going to sing it straight . . . I'm just going to pick a note here; just a note. If I want to make it so that it's breathier but still well-supported, all I'm going to do is I'm going to relax a little bit, open up the throat a little bit more. There's more breath in it. You can still hear me and you can still tell what it is that I'm saying. I think it's important when you're going to use a breathy tone, to also think about why you're using it. Do you need to use the breathy tone to convey the meaning of a song? Often when you're using a breathy tone, it's a choice, it's a choice to do that, and it's usually because of what you're hoping to convey in the song.

If you're going to use a breathy tone, think about when and where. Also, personally, I feel that if you use it too much, you lose the novelty of using a breathy tone. It's a great thing to have in your toolbox to pull out, but you want to use it when it's really going to shine. Think about for using a breathy tone, I think, think about when you want to use it, and make sure that you're supporting it well so that you're still audible and it's still clear, even though you're bringing in some breath.

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