Nuggets of Wisdom
"A vowel is a speech sound which may constitute a syllable or the nucleus of a syllable"

  • It is an unrestricted speech sound

  • It is capable of being sustained

  • It normally is a voiced sound, although it can be whispered

  • It is the basic material of vocal tone

  • It has a definite shape or form molded by the articulators

  • Can be defined as resonant frequency bands made up of prominent partials or overtones

  • Can be modified in the upper register to avoid loss of quality, tight phonation, elevated larynx and vocal strain


"A diphthong is a complex of vowel sounds beginning with one easily identifiable sound and ending with another but functions as a single vowel" 

  • Day=Eh+Ee

  • How=Ah+Oo

  • High=Ah+Ee

"When a sound ends with a vowel, you should still release the sound as if it has a consonant on it-firmly and quickly"

"The singer with a discerning ear can reach the twin goals of achieving tonal beauty and preserving phonemic identity; this is the mark of artistic singing"

"When you are singing any vowel, the tip of the tongue should rest lightly on the gum ridge, with the body of the tongue making the needed adjustments for the vowel"

"Vowel Posture......the legato connection of successive vowel sounds is at the heart of beautiful singing"
















Nuggets of Wisdom

"A consonant is a speech sound which is used marginally with a vowel or diphthong to constitute a syllable"

  • They are more or less restricted speech sounds

  • They contain more or less conspicuous noise elements due to the degree of restriction present

  • They are subordinate to vowels in sonority

  • They do not form the center of syllables, but define the borders of them; initial, medial and final

  • They are stepping stones in the stream of tone

  • They function as sound interrupters or sound stoppers and thus separate the vocal tone into recognizable units which can communicate meaning

  • They can be divided into two groups-those which require vocal fold vibration(voiced) and those which do not(unvoiced/voiceless) 

  • F/V, S/Z, T/D, P/B, K/G

3 movement categories

  • Continuants-sounds which can be sustained as long as the breath lasts(m, l, s, v)

  • Stops-bring the flow of the air stream to a complete halt-also called plosives(b, p, d, t, g, k)

  • Glides-is actually a vowel sound which functions as a consonant(j, w, hw)


  • Bilabial-closing of the lips(p, b, m)

  • Labiodentals-lower lip touching the upper teeth(v, f)

  • Dentals-tip of the tongue touching the upper teeth

  • Alveolars-tongue touching the alveolar ridge just behind the upper teeth(d, t, n, l, z, s)

  • Velars-back of the tongue touching the soft palate(g, k, ng)

  • Glottals-sounds made with the glottis closed or partially closed


  • All movements of the articulators should be quick, precise, and positive, ending in a position which is free of unnecessary tension

  • Must be exaggerated especially with beginning students if the words are to be consistently understood

  • Imagine you are singing to someone who has to read lips or to someone who does not know the language very well

  • Communicate with your face as well as your voice

  • The mouth should increase its opening as you sing higher and decrease as you sing lower maintaining INTERNAL space

"Many singers are careless about final consonants and seldom use enough energy or agility when making them"

"A final consonant should be delayed until the last possible instant and then performed quickly and firmly"

"Think of the final consonant as the actual release of the sound"

"He alone of all the instruments has the ability to communicate meaning through word and tone"










Julie Freebern