twang /twaNG/ (noun) a sharp vibrating sound (as of a plucked string)

So, last night, at praise team rehearsal, the sound guy asked me if I remembered the complaints about my voice being “piercing.”

Me, laughing: “no….I hadn’t heard that. It seems that information was filtered from me.”

SoundGuy: “Well, when you hit a certain frequency – 3.5 kHz – your voice gets really loud and piercing. You don’t do anything different, it just happens on it’s own. I put a filter in your profile at 3.5 kHz, so it doesn’t happen anymore.”

I look at my son, who also runs sound. He confirmed, “I’ve heard it too.”

Me, to my son: “pshhh. why didn’t you ever tell me?”

My son: “Cause it’s fixed.”

(can’t fault him. he’s pragmatic too. if it’s fixed, it’s over, so what’s the point of talking about it?)

Me, suspecting: “Is there a particular song where it happens?”

SoundGuy: “Well, definitely the bridge on ‘No Sweeter Name’. . .

Me, interrupting: “I KNEW it!! That bridge does NOT feel right!”

SoundGuy, continuing: “I don’t remember what else. But it’s fixed. It doesn’t happen anymore.”

Me: “Still. This is SO cool! I’ve gotta ask my voice teacher if she’s ever heard of it. THANK YOU for fixing it! And, really, THANKS for figuring it out! (pause) How did you figure it out?”

SoundGuy: “wahh, wahh, wahh, wahh, wahh, wahh…” (something about watching a gauge while I sang and applying a filter at 3.5 kHz – seriously, there’s a reason I don’t run sound.)

Me: “I’m an anomaly!”

Skip to the next day (today). I’ve already scheduled a voice lesson. If it’s possible for me to control this phenomenon, I’ve got some work to do!

But I’m curious, so today I Google: “voice piercing 3.5 khz”

This is SO cool (emphasis added):

Twang is the bright, brassy, ringing voice quality commonly heard in country-western singing, witch cackling, a child’s ‘‘nya, nya’’ taunt, and is equated often with duck quacking. Physiologically, twang is produced by narrowing the epilarynx via constriction of the aryepiglottic sphincter. The acoustic outcome of narrowing this laryngeal vestibule is a clustering of the third, fourth, and fifth formants resulting in a higher amplitude of all vowel spectra in the vicinity of 3.0 kHz. Perceptually, the voice is amplified with piercing intensity because this increase in energy between 2.8 and 4.3 kHz corresponds with the resonant frequency of the external auditory meatus; as a result, fundamental frequencies below 1.0 kHz receive a boost of 15–20 dB in sound transmitted to the middle ear without an increase in vocal effort by the speaker. This production has been exploited by expert speakers and singers to boost vocal resonance or ‘‘squillo’’ and is referred to as the speaker’s ring or singer’s formant.” (from A Novel Treatment for Hypophonic Voice: Twang Therapy)

I can learn to EXPLOIT this?!?! I can’t wait for my voice lesson!

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