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What’s the Physical Difference Between Chest Voice, Head Voice & Falsetto?

Over the last 16 years of my coaching career, the terms chest voice, head voice, and falsetto have had different meanings to me.

Of course, the initial meaning was what they sounded like. Chest voice sounding more like a normal speaking voice (typically). Head voice sounds more like Mickey Mouse – higher and lighter. Falsetto was high, typically weak and breathy.

I used to see these terms in terms of resonance, but that’s not really true. The main difference between these are less based upon space (resonance), and more based upon vocal cord closure.

Watch this video and I’ll show you what I mean…

Chest Voice, Head Voice, & Falsetto – What’s the difference?

Chest voice has a deeper closure. For head voice, the vocal cords stretch and thin out, allowing for the cords to vibrate faster and for the pitch to go higher. Falsetto, well, that doesn’t have good vocal cord closure at all.

Seeing chest voice, head voice, and falsetto as coordination based (aka happening at the vocal cord level) instead of resonance based (aka resonating in different spaces) helped me tremendously. How? Well, I wasn’t spending my time altering the wrong thing.

Anywho, I wrote a bit more about this here –

You can check it out if you want. Otherwise, I hope this helped!

~ Vocal Coach Ken Taylor