So what is Nasal Resonance or ‘Twang’ and why do we use it?
By changing the shape of the resonating space in which the voice is filtered, we can manipulate the sound that is made. One of the resonators is the soft palate or VELUM (the place that sections of the nasal cavity from the oral cavity). By changing the position of the VELUM we can add Nasal Resonance which helps with adding strength and tone to notes, especially those high notes it can also be added as a stylistic option!
A lot of contemporary musical theatre uses Twang. There are also a number of different musical genres that are synonymous with Twang - Country being one of them! But is Twang just used to add brightness to the tone? Not necessarily. When working on an Opera Quality which is a much rounder, dropped larynx sound, we add Twang to help achieve the high notes, counteract the bottom resonance of the dropped larynx and achieve a more forward placement of the voice, but this doesn't mean we hear just a higher resonance voice at all.
Twang is a fantastic tool to have in your singers toolbox!
To feel the velum move, sing to the word ‘hinnnnnng’ then change to ‘gee’. You will feel the drop high up in the back of the mouth.
When teaching Nasal Resonance we always make sure students can feel the difference between adding ‘Twang’ and singing with nasality (through the nose)! We don’t want to sound too nasal! A good way of doing this is singing whilst holding your nose!