Introduction to Effects

Effects are those sounds that are not connected to melody and text, i.e. sounds that underline the singer’s expression or style. For example:


 #222 (Female)

Effects must SOUND as if they are spontaneous, for example, as though the singer has made a huge emotional outcry without any consideration for the voice. In everyday life, these effects often occur without you having control over the voice, but for a professional singer they must be based on the overall principles for the correct use of the voice, both in order to avoid damage and to enable the singer to repeat the effect concert after concert.


Effects are produced in the vocal tract

Many singers have strained their voices by producing effects in an unhealthy manner. It is possible to produce healthy effects if you always follow the three overall principles of singing, use the modes correctly and control the techniques for the specific effects. The theory behind producing healthy effects is to focus primarily on working with the vocal tract. This reduces the risk of straining or damaging the voice. Just like sound colours, healthy effects are made in the vocal tract. ( See Levels of the vocal tract)


Effects have to be done in a healthy way

The techniques behind a proper use of effects have crystallised over many years. These effects often begin by chance. A singer in a studio happens to make some special sounds (noises in fact) that seem expressive and suited to the mood of a song. S/he decides to keep the sound as an effect, but when the singer later goes on tour and needs to recreate the effects night after night, s/he faces problems. Either s/he cannot find the effects again, or s/he becomes hoarse in trying to recreate them. The effect now has to be designed. In other words, the singer has to find a way to reproduce that sound without causing irritation to the throat or vocal strain. Once the singer is able to use the effects in a healthy way and to make them SOUND right, s/he can repeat the sound night after night on tour without worrying about the voice.