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Having gotten back from a pleasant week in Amsterdam I’m back into the swing of things at home. The usual videogames, work, pornography, masturbation, writer’s block, impro, eating, and the occasional walk to the park. I’m also getting back into my current obsession of vocal technique.

This time around I’ve been focusing more on cord closure when I haven’t been coughing due to allergies or minor illness. Given that muscles in and around the larynx are muscles, they can be strengthened. I’m mainly using the vowel EE, as per Jack Livgni’s suggestion, but also using EH and creating and experimenting with various exercises between the two vowels. I’m also experimenting the degree of glottalness or squeeze of these vowels, the continuum being from air to breathy to balanced to pressed to choking. I’m also using crying and hearty laughter to stimulate the vocal cords to approximate firmly. I’m leaning towards the pressed/squeezed side of the continuum which of course leads to tension and fatigue. They are muscles after all and overworking them will make them tired. This is of course dangerous to do without supervision, so I’m proceeding carefully. You encounter a lot in various vocal methods about relaxation and air flow but this is much the opposite of that. But without strong vocal cord approximation, the strength will not be there in the larynx to resist the air pressure from the breathing apparatus to create a strong, solid and stable tone.

I’m also looking into to making the ribcage expansion a habitual part of my breathing. My habitual breath is a low one but the ribcage hardly expands. As per the suggestion of both Livgni, Salvatore Fischella, and observation of Jussi Bjorling, I need to breathe higher. This will take time as every breath in this new way will appear high.

Then of course I have to integrate this within the framework of what I’m attempting to realise with my voice. Freer, upper range, flexibility, easy transition between chest and head voice so it appears as one voice rather than two.

Songwriting block hasn’t been solved yet. The current thinking is to write a bunch of lyrics first, then frame the music around that. Writing of the music first appears way too wishy washy and is susceptible to mental fatigue of about a half hour. Half hour of aimless noodling does nothing to create any material. The reason for songwriting is to have stuff to show people online and material for open mics.

I’m also occasionally exploring a new method I made up that probably exists somewhere else. It’s storyboarding but applied to songwriting. It goes like this: I have something I want to express. What are those things? How can this be musically represented? Melodically, harmonically, rhythmically, timbrally. What structure would suit this? What instruments?

The aim of this storyboarding is so that when I go to the instrument to create the music stuff, I won’t be as mentally fatigued because I’m no longer noodling hoping for something to appear but rather now I’m problem solving. I have specific problems and I can make attempts to solve them now I have a general idea of which way to go. For instance, there’s a song that’s been hanging around for years but it’s been difficult to add extra sections for variety. The reason why it’s been difficult is because the fragment I do have has this static quality to it that is gorgeous and adding my usual changes disturbs the stasis. So now the problem has been defined more clearly – how do I add sections whilst maintaining this stasis? Is it possible?

Man, I’ve been pretty horny these days. Haven’t decided to do anything about it yet. You may hear about it, probably in vague terms (gentlemen don’t kiss and tell), if I am successful. If unsuccessful you’ll get all the gory details.

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