Healthy Belt For Women?

Yes and No.  

Belting is usually when the female singer (men belt too) uses an overly dominated “chest” registration.  I have heard this described as:

  1. dragging up the chest voice,
  2. trying to take the basement into the first floor, or
  3. trying to drive the vocal car faster yet staying in first gear.  

What actually happens is that the vocal cords are not allowed to adjust their length, width, and depth as the pitch ascends.  Thus, the crico-thyroid can’t do its job. One cannot truly sing on pitch, and there is serious risk of damage as one violates natural function with too much cord vibrating for the pitch attempted.  This causes overloading which leads one to try to boost up the pitch using excessive volume and breath blasting.

So, if belting is nothing more than loud yelling up the scale, then NO, belting as such is definitely not healthy.  

However, if a belting “technique” for women were in accordance with natural law, then there could be healthiness. Meaning that if one could belt while still allowing the cords to adjust for pitch, including no excessive volume or breath blasting, then YES!  

I might rename this though, from belting to turning the top. There is a healthy way that women and men can sing with different registrational balances, but it is complex and not for the beginner.

Women with advanced vocal technique can sing with a “chest” dominated registration (not too much) that mirrors a male tenor turning the top on the very same pitches.  There is more activity from the arytenoid muscle system. The crico-thyroid muscle system still does its job of regulating pitch. A sound is created that imitates what some think of as “chest” or “anchored in the chest” yet is completely healthy if not overdone.

This careful registrational balance can be extremely useful for women singing popular music – rock, pop, r&b, gospel, musical theater.  It can also be very useful when singing classical music as it offers a different tonal color and emotional effect when needed.  

Allen Rascoe

about the author

Allen Rascoe Allen has been enjoying singing since he was a little kid. He officially studied voice at ECU and USC. However, he ran... Read More