Key Difference – Falsetto vs Head Voice
There is a distinct difference between falsetto and head voice even though many people tend to confuse these two terms. Most people tend to confuse falsetto with head voice because both are sung very softly. The key difference between falsetto and head voice is the quality of sound produced; falsetto is thinner, and airy whereas head voice is clear and clean and stronger than falsetto. This difference stems from the production of sound inside the vocal tract.
What is Falsetto?
Falsetto is a method of voice production typically used by male singers, especially tenors, to sing notes higher than their normal range. Falsetto, which is derived from Italian, literally means false voice. This register is produced by the vibration of the ligamentous edges of the vocal cords. When someone sings in falsetto, the vocal folds come close enough to one another to cause the edges to vibrate as the air flows between them, but they do not make contact with one another.
Falsetto enables the singers to sing notes beyond the vocal range of the modal voice (normal voice). It often has a breathy and airy tone since the vocal cords are closed and the air can easily escape. Falsetto is also considered to be weaker than other voices because the vibrating length of the vocal cord is shorter than in other voices.
Although it was believed that only men could sing in falsetto register, women too are capable of phonating in this register. However, there is a more marked change in timbre and dynamic level between the falsetto and modal registers of male singers. Although falsetto is often confused with head voice, head voice is much stronger than falsetto.
What is Head Voice?
The term head voice refers to either a type of vocal register or a vocal resonance area. In vocal music, vocal resonance is the area in the body of the singer which feels the majority of resonance. When someone sings with head voice, the vibrations are felt around the upper half of the face; the main resonator in this voice is the sinuses.
Head voice can produce light, bright and high-pitched tones. Head voice is often mixed up with falsetto due to this high-pitched tone. However, head voice is not the same as falsetto. Head voice is stronger than falsetto. It sounds clean and clear without too much airy sound because the vocal cords remain in contact with one another.
What is the difference between Falsetto and Head Voice?
Falsetto vs Head Voice
|Head voice is one of the highest registers of the voice in speaking or singing.||Falsetto is a method of voice production to sing notes higher than their normal range.|
|Falsetto is weaker and thinner than head voice.||Head Voice is stronger than falsetto.|
|Quality of Sound|
|Falsetto has an airy tone.||Head voice has a clean and bright tone.|
|Vocal folds do not make contact with one another.||Vocal folds come into contact with one another.|
|Falsetto is typically sung by men.||Head voice can be produced by both men and women.|
Summary – Falsetto vs Head Voice
The difference between falsetto and head voice depends on the behavior of the vocal cords during the production of sounds. When producing head voice, the vocal cords remain in contact with each other, producing clear and bright tones. When producing falsetto, the vocal cords don’t come into contact with each other, resulting in an airy tone. This also makes falsetto weaker and thinner than head voice.
1. Pardue, Bob . “What is the Difference Between Falsetto and Head Voice Singing?” Karokeville.com. Westward Connections, n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2017.
2. Cryar, Morgan. “Head Voice And Falsetto.” Become-A-Singing-Master.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2017.
3. “CHEST VOICE, HEAD VOICE & FALSETTO.” Sheri Gould. N.p., 11 Feb. 2013. Web. 21 Apr. 2017.
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