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Vocal compression in singing is the art of “compressing” your vocal cords to add tone and texture to your voice.

Take a moment and think of a running water hose. Assuming there is no hindrance anywhere on the hose or at the end of the hose, the water will pour out effortlessly from the end. Now imagine taking your thumb and placing it over half of the open spout on the hose. What will happen to the water? It will be compressed and come out with more force and have a little different texture as it is expelled from the hosepipe.

The same idea work with vocal cord compression. This is not to be confused with vocal tension, which adds undue pressure to the vocal cords to create a strained tone. Vocal cord compression, when done properly, gives you a varied flavor and crisp tone to your voice.

Try this exercise. Think of the word “Nay”, like in the sound a horse makes. Get in a real nasally place say the word “Nay” a few times. Feel how your vocal cords are gripping themselves to produce the sound? This is vocal compression. Run a few scales with “Nay” and watch how vocal compression brings out different flavors of your voice as you ascend and descend the scales.

Once you get the feeling for understanding how vocal compression works in this exercise, it will be very easy for you to learn how to compress your vocal cords to add flavor to your tone. Check out this video below to learn a little more about vocal cord compression. Brett Manning from the acclaimed Singing Success program gives an overview of what compressing the vocal cords looks like and how it can be used to improve your singing.

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