Episode 020 | Tara B | Vocal Diction Part 1: Vowels

Today’s episode goes into the realm of vocal diction—specifically vowels. Our use and pronunciation of vowel sounds in English can affect the tone of our actual singing sound. These vowels, when sung correctly, can give our voice added warmth, fullness and resonance. 

(1:55) A PURE VOWEL IS WHEN ITS SOUND CAN BE SUSTAINED WIHTOUT MOVEMENT OF THE ARTICULATORS OR ANY CHANGE IN QUALITY OF SOUND UNTIL THE AIR FLOW CEASES. ( from Diction for Singers by J. Wall, R. Caldwell, T. Gavilanes, S. Allen) 

(2:35) Pure vowel sounds—long vowels (monophthongs)      a-e-i-o-u 

(4:20) freedictionary.com       Short vowels (monophthongs) 

Example: bat, got, rut, foot 

(5:05) A diphthong is two vowel sounds together where one slides into another 

(5:25) Examples: hay, eye, toe, cute, boy, mouth, dear, care    (all diphthongs) 

(7:03) Triphthongs— three vowel sounds that glide together. Often a triphthong is made up of a diphthong with an American “R”.      Examples: fire, our, pure 

(8:15) Vowel sounds are produced in our mouth. Our tongue changes positions for each sound.

(9:40) Experiment with ee and ih sounds to see how your tongue changes slightly. 

(11:07) Exercise:   ah + oo         Sing the same note on each vowel sound. 

(11:43) Exercise: ah + ee         1-3-5-3-1       ah-ee-ah-ee-ah 

(14:05) “The more that our vowels are not manipulated, the better our overall tone is going to be.” 

(15:00) Singing with diphthongs and triphthongs—an example from Somewhere Over the Rainbow 

(16:58) “Vowels can make or break our resonance.” 

(17:35) Hold a note on vowel sounds, not the consonant. 

(18:45) Words need to sound uniform when singing with one other person or several, like a choir. 

(21:53) Exercise: 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1 (3x through)  ah, then oo, then ee 

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