Thank you for your detailed responses, as well as your detailed articles on your website, they really help a lot. If you don’t mind me asking more questions, I have a couple more if that is alright. Concerning the “slightly in and up” abdominals, is this achieved by slight ’tilt’ of the pelvis? My back and abdominals seem to tense ‘naturally’ in response to the pelvic tilt. Is any more local effort necessary, or would this be sufficient enough?
In addition, many singers describe the ‘breath descending’ downward as the tone rises in pitch, more contraction, etc. I feel that in singing, there is much confusion between cause and correlation and it confuses neophytes such as myself. Is the feeling of the ‘breath descending downward’ a cause or effect? In other words, if you have (and maintain!) correct posture and correct inhalation, does the body naturally adjust the inherent torso tension for pitch changes, or is this something you must consciously tend to?
Yes, the pelvis needs to go with the abs. They work together. The gluteus muscles contract slightly, as well. I consider the natural contraction to be the starting place. Then they are primed to contract as needed for what is performed.
The feeling of the breath descending is a common observation. And you are correct that it can be confusing, with this and other sensations, to be clear about cause or result. I think since it is a sensation it has to be a result. For me a cause has to be an action. We can sense an action, but the sensation itself is not an action. It is a result.
The cause of this sensation is the decrease in size of the vibration. As pitch rises the vibration speeds up. In order to speed up the size diminishes. As the size of the vibration diminishes so does the size of the glottis, along with the amount of air pressure released with each puff. Since less air pressure is being released more is staying inside. This increase of internal air pressure is what causes the sensation of the breath descending with rising pitch.
This only happens when the larynx is stable and resisting the breath pressure appropriately. So keeping the stability of the structure and the consistency of the vibration is what we need to tend to. If we allow more air pressure to escape than is appropriate for the pitch we will not experience the sensation of the breath connection descending.
The confused interpretation of this is that we push down internally, like when going to the bathroom. The internal sensation of compression is related, but not the same. When we go to the bathroom compression is down because that is the direction of the escape. For singing the voice is up at the top of the torso, not down. So downward compression throws things out of balance. That is why we compress up, that is the direction of the voice at the top of the torso. But there is a subtle sense of down with the stabilizing of the larynx into the breath pressure.