Singing and coughing


Poster Extraordinaire
Feb 15, 2016
Sad to say but true, codeine syrup if it is sore throat.
That would certainly do it.

When I was discharged from surgery getting my fractured neck repaired, my doc prescribed me codeine pills. I don't handle such things well and told him I would pass. He stuffed the bottle into my pocket, winked, and said: Just keep it for coughs then.

It sat in my medicine cabinet for 3 years until a co-worker who was addicted to pain killers found them.


Doctor of Teleocity
Apr 10, 2010

I used to gig a lot. Uncontrollable coughing onstage is a tough one. If I felt the tell-tale signs of a sore throat and cold coming on, I would use Flonase twice a day, gargle hot salt water and let the salt linger at the back of my throat. Also would use antiseptic mouthwash and slippery elm lozenges. I would also drink a ton more water. I had to do a lot of shows when I was not feeling well. I only cancelled one show due to being sick over a couple decades, if I remember correctly.

If I haven’t sang in a long time, belting can make me cough.

What would happen is I’d load out equipment still sweaty in cold wind, rain, and snow, and my immune system would go down from doing so many shows without much sleep, so it was very easy to develop a cold.

From the condition you describe, the vocal chord friction and heat of singing may keep the smaller inflammations and irritations on the chords moving enough to numb them somewhat and slightly inflame everything, just a guess.


Friend of Leo's
Dec 6, 2021
I've never had my own coughing interrupt my singing; however, I've had my entire audience comprising four men and a three-legged dog do so.

I also remember one particular acoustic/vocal gig, at the beginning of my foray into musical performance, in a particularly rough establishment.

As I was taking my seat behind the microphone, I had a very strange request from a gentleman in the audience.
In a very loud voice, he asked me to cough (well, at least that's what I think he said).

"How strange" I thought to myself "I wonder if this gentleman is a doctor".

I indulged the gentleman in his request by emitting a short sharp larynx clearing bark and commenced with my performance with "Bonny Mary of Argyll" if I recall correctly.


Jul 22, 2022
I just went to a solo acoustic gig last night with a cough. The cough is a tickle in my throat that makes it hard to talk without coughing. It's been there a couple weeks now, since I got over a cold that was not the thing we can't talk about, according to tests.
I didn't know if I would be able to sing, I just decided to try and see what happened. What happened was I sang ten songs without a single cough. No problems during the set.
Afterwards, I couldn't even say the model of my guitar (to answer a question) without coughing.
This (and the fact that I can't sing) is the reason why I don't seriously pursue it. What in the heck do singers do when this happens?

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