A student asked me what the difference was between the ‘head voice’ and ‘falsetto and how to use the ‘head voice’ to sing high notes like Freddie Mercury.
Well the question is a two-parter. Difference between head and Falsetto, and how to reach the high notes like Freddie.
Ok, to answer your question and give you the correct instruction, we have to tear down some conventional wisdom and rebuild.
First, conventionally speaking, the terms ‘head voice’ and ‘falsetto’ basically represent the same thing, whereby in some circles, the head voice is more powerful.
But the only term that is semi useful us ‘falsetto’ as it is the conventional/recognizable term for what is actually the Nose Voice.
Physically there is no such thing as a ‘head voice’. Above the mouth and nose there is no where for sound to resonate after created in the throat. So, unless you don’t have a brain rattling around up there, there is no ‘head voice’.
Same thing with the term ‘chest voice’. You have lungs and a heart and bone and tissue all packed into the chest. So no resonance there. Air flow, and thus sound, is a one way street up from the vocal folds in the larynx through the throat, into the mouth and nose (if not closed) and out.
So no ‘chest voice’. No ‘head voice’.
Really, in conventional terms, there are 4 vocal registers, modal voice (normal), falsetto, vocal fry, and whistle register.
I’m an unconventional vocal instructor. So I don’t use those terms. I find them superficial, misleading and vaguely open to interpretation.
So let’s just strip those out and go with what is actually happening physically.
There is only one voice and it is produced by the vocal folds (cords) in the larynx which thereby resonates and exits the mouth and/or nose. That is what is happening. Period.
Now. That resonance can be divided into three main areas of actual physical resonance. The Throat, the Mouth, and the Nose or nasal cavities.
Therefore we could have the Throat Voice, the Mouth Voice, and the Nose Voice.
The Throat Voice is powerful and has the most resonance because order to achieve it, everything above it is opened up as well for maximum resonance. The Mouth Voice is less powerful because we have moved up the resonance out of the throat and into the mouth and nose, or just mouth (which actually by itself sounds more nasally ironically). The last resonance would be the Nose Voice where everything is now happening up top. This, when sung lightly without power, is conventionally called falsetto.
High notes and low notes can be sung in any vocal resonance. You can sing low notes in a Nose Voice resonance, and conversely you can sing high notes in the powerful Throat Voice resonance.
When you create a Throat Voice Resonance, you are dropping you jaw and tongue, like a yawn and singing. The more you open, the more air flow you get and the more resonance you get.
So just do that while singing the high note. Give it a lot of air. Open way up. Sing that note and push it up into the mouth and nose with support.
Avoid the ‘falsetto crack’ by simply opening up the throat around the vocal cords. Go ahead and feel that right now without singing. Just open up down there.
Now sing a high note really loud.