Understanding Mix Singing and Belting

As singers navigate the complexities of vocal techniques, two terms often come up: mix singing and belting. While both methods can add power and versatility to a singer’s repertoire, it’s essential to understand the differences between them and how to execute each technique safely. This article will focus on the nature of mix singing and belting, followed by a detailed guide on how to achieve a healthy mix singing voice.

What is Mix Singing?

Mix singing, often referred to simply as “mix,” is a vocal technique that conceals the shift from chest to head voice, creating a balanced, strong, and flexible sound. When we mix, we are taking weight from the heavier bottom end of the voice and adding it to the lighter, bell-like higher voice. This approach allows singers to transition smoothly between registers, resulting in a seamless and connected sound, with equal weight, throughout their vocal range. Mix singing is particularly beneficial in contemporary music styles, where a powerful yet controlled voice is often required.

What is Belting?

Belting is a vocal technique where the singer uses a strong, chest-dominant voice to hit high notes with significant intensity and volume. This method produces a robust, dramatic sound that is often used in musical theater, rock, gospel, and pop music to convey strong emotions and energy. However, improper belting can lead to vocal strain and damage, making it a technique that requires careful practice and guidance.


Acoustic and Physiological Differences Between Mix Singing and Belting

Acoustic Differences:

Belting: In belting, the primary resonant frequency is the first formant, generated at the larynx. This technique focuses resonance in the larynx, resulting in a powerful, full-bodied sound. The acoustic energy is mainly concentrated in the chest area, contributing to the loud and robust quality characteristic of belting.

Mix Singing: Mix singing emphasizes the second formant, created at the mouth, lips, and tongue, producing a brighter and more balanced sound. The resonance is more evenly distributed throughout the vocal tract, allowing for a sound that ranges from soft to powerful without the strain typically associated with belting.

Physiological Differences:

Belting: Belting involves higher Thyroarytenoid (TA) muscle activity compared to Cricothyroid (CT) activity. The larynx is elevated, and a greater mass of the vocal folds is vibrating. This approach generates a powerful sound but increases the risk of vocal strain due to the heightened tension and effort required.

Mix Singing: Mix singing achieves a balance between TA and CT muscle activity, with the larynx maintaining a neutral position. Depending on the musical style, varying amounts of the vocal fold mass may be engaged. This balance supports moderate adduction at the bottom of the vocal folds, reducing strain and promoting a more sustainable and versatile vocal technique.


How to Achieve Mix Singing

Mix singing is a versatile technique that can enhance your vocal performance while minimizing the risk of strain. Here’s a step-by-step guide to developing a healthy mix singing voice:

1. Understanding the Registers:

  • Chest Voice: Your speaking voice, strong and resonant in the lower range.
  • Head Voice: Lighter and more resonant in the higher range.

2. Finding the Middle Voice:

  • Start with Scales: Begin with a five-note scale starting in your chest voice. As you ascend, notice where you naturally want to switch to head voice.
  • Blend the Transitions: Focus on smoothing out the transition between chest and head voice. Aim for a seamless sound without a noticeable break.

3. Balancing the Resonance:

  • Mixed Resonance: Aim for a mix of chest and head resonance. You should feel vibrations in both the chest and head.
  • Support with Breath: Use diaphragmatic breathing to support your sound. Avoid pushing or straining your voice.

4. Practice Exercises:

  • Sirens: Glide from your lowest to your highest note and back down, maintaining a consistent tone and smooth transition.
  • Lip Trills: This helps to balance the breath pressure and vocal fold coordination.

5. Vocal Placement:

  • Forward Placement: Focus the sound towards the front of your mouth. Imagine the sound is being produced in front of your face, or behind your eyes and mouth.
  • Relaxation: Keep your throat relaxed to avoid tension. This helps in achieving a natural and balanced sound.

6. Consistency:

  • Practice Regularly: Regular practice helps in developing muscle memory and improving the blend of registers.
  • Listen and Adjust: Record yourself and listen for any breaks or unevenness. Adjust your technique as needed.


Mix singing and belting are powerful techniques that can elevate a singer’s performance when used correctly. While belting has its place in certain musical styles, it requires careful practice to avoid vocal strain. On the other hand, mix singing offers a balanced approach that allows for a wide range of dynamics and pitches without compromising vocal health.

By following the steps outlined in this guide, singers can develop a strong, versatile mix voice that enhances their overall vocal ability. Prioritising vocal health and seeking guidance from professional vocal coaches can ensure that these techniques are executed safely and effectively.