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That Elevated Rib Cage Again.
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Thread: That Elevated Rib Cage Again.

  1. #1
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    That Elevated Rib Cage Again.

    Thomas J Hixon defines an elevated rib cage as one held in a higher position than that assumed during relaxation.

    Well now, that's a mighty big range I reckon. As some may recall I went on and on about how effective a comfortable and well established rib cage was, when singing? I also observed that when I established this chest-cage, the attitude, or if your like, the engagement of the stomach muscles was automatic.

    Well now I read in TJ's book the idea that it's the other way around. This disturbs me greatly. Yes it seems to work as TJ says but it's far more interventionist.

    Moving along, I have also discovered, or rather, observed, --since I am not entitled to "discover," that there is a degree of rib-cage establishment that seems to be critical in putting the diaphragm into inhale mode and keeping it there while singing, and I surmise that there is a neurological connection activated by some specific rib-cage elevation. With such an important observation I am not going to disengage this in order to experiment with Thomas J's reverse description.

    Still more, TJ proceeds to try and dismantle the possibility of the continually active diaphragm apparently having encountered it before. This is at the top of page 124 in his Respiratory Function in Singing.

    I am inclined to the view that as the interaction between the diaphragm, the brain and the inhalation and exhalation function of the rib cage all by themselves, is so complex, there is a combination that could neurologically trick the diaphragm into this continually active inhalation mode. It's a perfectly observable and easily engaged function but in order to find it I had to come away or down from the higher degree of rib-establishment I had initially used. Had I NOT been incrementally reducing the higher rib-cage establishment, I probably would not have discovered the function Lloyd referred to.

    No doubt it's always a good idea to have a specific approach to the onset and with this degree of rib-establishment, the engagement of the abs is clear, moderate and precise, leaving the diaphragm as the moderator.

    Reg.
    Last edited by Reg; 04-06-2012 at 11:00 AM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg View Post
    Thomas J Hixon defines an elevated rib cage as one held in a higher position than that assumed during relaxation.
    Reg.
    Remaining with Thomas J Hixon, and referring again to page 124 of his Respiratory Function in Singing, I'd like to point out that here he is addressing various means by which the rib cage "may" be raised and the interaction with the diaphragm and the abdominal wall. It is with great humility and reticence that I must point out that TJ has over-looked an important function.

    If you are fortunate enough to own this book, you will see his eleven interactions displayed in Table 9-1 on page 122. These two pages previous to the page 124 reference, represent his summary and the factors he will disassemble on pages 124 and on.

    The interactions are listed as Inspiratory Forces // Expiratory Forces // and Inspiratory + Expiratory Forces. He lists +/- Rib-Cage functions, which means the ingress of air by expanding the chest-cage, or the egress of air by collapsing the rib-cage. These two possibilities make it quite obvious that Thomas has failed to mention the center position, a balance, or bracing.

    It makes perfect sense that an elastic and dynamic chest cage would operate best in the middle of its elastic range where it may be used by some singers to help the breathing process, but I think we need to recognize that for others, bracing is just as valid.

    However Thomas mixes up methods of raising the rib-cage with possible contributions from the diaphragm and the abdominal wall, the AB, which is only granted a PLUS designation on the basis that they only help with the expiration. Which is wrong of course. ## If the ABs don't get out of the way when the diaphragm is doing its inhaling, then the ABs are making a negative contribution.

    Now to the diaphragm as a potential raiser of the rib-cage. That notoriety which has been heaped on a lethargic AB may equally be directed at a collapsed rib cage if the diaphragm is to have any hope of raising some of the puny lower ribs. Raise the upper ribs and the diaphragm finds it much easier to get a response from the lower ones. Once again pointing to the static bracing function of the main rib cage.

    Read the two "notions" on page 123, that either the rib cage muscles themselves or the diaphragm are responsible for rib cage alignment but pay particular attention to the paragraph on the page turn from 123 to 124 where Leanderson, Sundberg and von Euler refer to continuing diaphragm activity through the sung phrase. If this happens with one singer it can happen with others, the question remaining is what would influence the brain such as to place the diaphragm in the inhale mode when a breath is not required?

    Reg.

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