“We rehearsed and rehearsed. Then I lost my voice completely before our first Japan tour. I got diagnosed with nodules. Bad news… All these years of screaming without any technique at all had finally taken its toll on my vocal chords and struck me in the worst possible moment. I had to take 6 months off and re-learn everything. Speaking, breathing and screaming.” – Angela Gossow (Arch Enemy)
What is vocal cord nodule (vocal fold nodule or singer’s nodule)?
A vocal cord nodule is a small, inflammatory or fibrous growth that develops on the vocal cords (vocal folds) of people who constantly strain their voices. Typically it appears on the junction of the anterior and middle 2/3 of the vocal fold, where contact is most forceful. The nodules appear as symmetrical swellings on both sides of the vocal cords. People who use their voices a great deal, such as singers, teachers, auctioneers, lecturers, and politicians are the most susceptible ones.
Why singing death/black metal may give rise to nodules?
Most of the times when we are trying to sing these songs, we are doing it in a wrong way. Growls that are not performed properly may lead to permanent damage of vocal cords. If you persistently feel pain while growling, you must stop it and re-evaluate your technique because it is probably wrong.
The vocal cords in your throat are not originally intended for growling vocals. Too much involvement of throat while screaming and growling puts too much strain on vocal cords leading to nodule formation.
Bert McCracken (vocalist of “The Used”), Angela Gossow (vocalist of “Arch Enemy”), Matthew Sanders or M.Shadows (vocalist of “Avenged sevenfold”), etc. were known to have these nodules.
What is the correct way of singing these songs ?
This powerpoint presentation explains very well about the techniques.
Symptoms of vocal nodules :
- Hoarseness of speech
- Painful speech production
- Frequent vocal breaks
- Reduced vocal range
Treatment of vocal nodules :
- Vocal training
- Speech therapy
- Vocal rest