I’ve heard people criticize certain amateur singers as “singing like their parents are in the next room” or “Singing as to not wake up the neighbors”. As someone who knows nothing of how “proper” singing technique works, can somebody explain why this happens? I do notice the people that do this sound like they’re singing at a whisper level.
It’s another way of saying someone can’t project their voice well.
Technical question - what’s the difference between “projecting your voice”, and just being loud?
“Projecting your voice” is loud, but clear. People in the back row understand every word. And unlike shouting, you achieve it without pumping a whole lot more air through your throat. You configure your throat differently and use only a little more air.
There are teachers who show you how to sing like a rock star without murdering your throat. Projecting your voice is a big part of it.
Moving thread from GQ to CS.
The key to projecting your voice is to use solid diaphragm support, which takes practice and probably training.
In answer to the OP’s question as to why some sing this way, it is probably because it allows them to stay more or less on tune and sort of have an acceptable tone. Pushing more air across the larynx without using the diaphragm properly makes tuning difficult and creates a bad tone. The diaphragm is the glutes of the vocal tract! (And also essential for wind instrumentalists.)
My hypothesis is that this is what causes the annoying, overly breathy voice a lot of female alt-rock singers have (think Julia Stone, about a minute and a half into this song).
When this phenomenon was pointed out to me (back in 1976 or so), I got the impression that it was a bad habit born of a childhood/adolescence practice of actually holding back so as not to disturb the neighbors or attract the attention of parents in the next room.
The ability to project your voice means you can be loud, but still sound great.
I am loud. Aretha Franklin could project.