Singing and speaking are often viewed as two completely different vocal activities. For one, singing is considered to be more melodic and beautiful to listen to, at least when done right.
Despite that view, speech-level singing is a popular technique employed by many in the voice training business. The main idea around this approach to singing is to get people to sing more effortlessly, much like the act of speaking.
In the music world, there are a number of artists who do not sound much different in singing from speaking, at least in some of their songs. Think of Justin Bieber, for example, on his vocal performance of “Love Yourself” or “Company” among others. The same could be said of Toni Braxton’s performance of songs such as “He Wasn’t Man Enough” and “Let it Flow.”
While there is much support for the idea of singing like speaking, there are opponents who believe they are different and must be kept separate for the purpose of good singing.
With that said, let’s take a look at a few of the arguments in support of speech-level singing and those against it.
• Speaking comes naturally and so should singing. Much like greeting a friend on the street by naturally offering an excited “Hi” without even thinking about it, it is believed that singing should come just as naturally without too much thought or embellishment.
• Singing is mostly mind work. Instead of focusing on trying to get the voice to sound a certain way, it is felt that singing should be seen as just another way to connect with an audience or listener.
• Learning to speak well through several breath control techniques will cause singing to come more naturally as well.
• Speech-level singing does not result in a ‘talking voice’ but instead helps singers to allow their voice to form singing sounds more naturally.
• The vocal chords remain short and tight with speech but need to be extended for singing.
• Singing is controlled by how songs are written /composed, so singers need to arrange their vocal chords to match.
• Talking naturally brings into play comfortable areas of the voice, while higher registers (less relaxed areas) are required for singing.
As you can see, there are valid points on each side of the coin. What’s the final analysis for you?