Learning to Sing ‘Big Spender’ by Gwen Verdon
‘Big Spender’ is a Broadway classic performed uniquely by Gwen Verdon in the musical ‘Sweet Charity’. The song is notable for its saucy lyrics, smoky jazz atmosphere, and its use of both the chest voice and mixed voice techniques. Let’s shed light on the nuances of these techniques and how to use them to perform this song effectively.
Chest Voice & Mixed Voice
The song begins with a deep, powerful chest voice to create a velvety, seductive sound. Well, what is the chest voice? It’s the lower register of your voice, where vocal cords vibrate in their full length. It is usually associated with a full, rich, and resonant sound, similar to speaking tones.
From verse to chorus, Verdon crafts a perfect transition from chest voice to mixed voice. Mixed voice is a blend of chest and head voices, allowing you to sing higher notes without strain. Sound too technical? Here’s a video to help you understand and train your mixed voice.
Articulation and Breathing
‘Big Spender’ is also an excellent exercise in articulation. Verdon clearly enunciates every word, despite the quick, jazzy rhythm. Start improving your articulation with this Finger Bite exercise.
Proper breathing techniques are also crucial for this song – especially because it requires the singer to sustain long notes while maintaining pitch and rhythm. Breathe using your diaphragm, not just your chest, for optimum control. Proper breathing also helps manage your energy and vocal projection.
Practice with Singing Carrots
Remember, these techniques aren’t exclusive to ‘Big Spender.’ Chest voice is widely used in gospel, blues, and rock genres. Mixed voice can be found in pop, jazz, and some classical music. Articulation and breathing are universal for singing any song.
Now, let’s start practicing! Remember, the key is being patient with yourself. Happy singing!