Updated: Dec 14, 2020
Singing Technique for Musical Theatre, Pop, Soul, Jazz & Rock
What is belting?
Belting is a singing technique that is much used in musical, pop, soul, rock music, and all jazz-related genres. It creates “belting” or “smashing” sounds.
The word belting is an English expression meaning “belting (out)” = belting out a song. Everyone knows the expression “belt out loud,” also in the English language you will find the term “belt” in reference to squeeze a belt around the waist, to tighten one’s belt, blowing below the belt, and others, which has absolutely nothing to do with the use of your belt voice! In connection to the voice, the explanation of belting refers only to a strong voice or an intense form of song expression but without any details. Originally, belting was a stage-singing technique of the early Broadway musical used to create a loud tone in a way that the vocal sound is different to classical tone production and the sound of an opera voice.
Ethel Merman was known for her voice power, even in her later years. The more the musical genre distanced itself from the operetta, the more the belting was demanded and today pop music or a modern musical without belting is hard to imagine.
I believe that when a singer belts out a song, it not only means that the singer is giving all she(or he) can do to sound his voice as loud and strong as possible; but more than that, the singer connects this personal sound, with or without a text, to a specific feeling to share with the audience.
For example, let´s take a scream? No, certainly not! A normal scream is something rather unpleasant. A pop-music “scream,” from someone like Christina Aguilera, is not.
Why? What makes the difference?
A scream from the throat is generally produced without taking the profit of our resonating cavities. A belt sound, on the other hand, takes advantage of these and creates for us a free and powerful sound with free vibrating intensive tones.
In belting, the sound of the chest voice is brought up as far and used by singing upwards as long and intensively as possible without forcing!
Don’t pull up your chest voice! This is a dangerous and voice damaging misinterpretation of this technique!
Whereas in classical singing women use the chest voice function in a much lighter way.
With men, belting becomes interesting only in the higher range. Men sound an octave lower anyway, which means that the chest register is always more extensively used than women’s chest register.
For my taste, a good technically correct produced tone of a classical tenor sounds nearly like a belted tone. For example, if you isolate a high note from Pavarotti away from the musical context, the sound would appear somewhat groovy!
Many people believe that a classical voice placement does not need to be learned for belting.
This statement is not exactly correct. To be honest, just the opposite would more likely be the case!
Without a perfect pitch, a well-trained voice without passaggio problems with at least a two-octave range, you should not even attempt the belting technique.
This does not mean that you need classical voice lessons, but rather, for good results in modern vocal training, the work on the right pitch, proper breathing, and support is essential and must have an absolute priority at the very beginning.
Who does not wish to start a founded training, should only choose some songs that are easy to reach, all notes placed in the personal vocal range, and be satisfied.
But for those of you who are willing to learn, with Belt Voice Training, the work starts to get serious!