How to Sing Vowels for Serious Singers

The way a singer uses vowels can really impact the overall quality of a vocal performance. In a previous blog post, we introduced singers to singing vowels, and in this post, we take a more in-depth look at singing vowels and how we use them in our singing lessons in our Latham, NY studio.
 
There are three main types of vowels in terms of their acoustic energy:
  • Forward-facing vowels: the energy sits right behind your top two front teeth and is focused on your hard palate. The sound associated with these vowels tends to be brighter.
  • Neutral vowels: the energy sits in the middle and can be felt up and down.
  • Curbing or covered vowels: the acoustic energy sits farther back in your soft palate and throat so many of the bright tones are absorbed by those soft tissues which makes those vowels a bit warmer sounding.
 See the table below for a summary of vowels and their qualities.
 

Vowel

  Example

  Placement

Narrow Or Wide

i/ee

see, city

edging/forward

       Narrow

ae/a

cat, 

edging/forward

       Narrow

eh

egg

edging/forward

       Wide

       

ah/a

father

neutral

      Wide

aw

saw

neutral

      Narrow

       

uh

run

curbing/covered

       Wide

oo

who

curbing/covered

      Narrow

ou

woman

curbing/covered

      Wide


On our Resources page, there is a track for you that plays a chromatic scale. Match the pitch by singing each of these vowels and as you sing them, pay attention to where the acoustic energy sits - forward, neutral, or in the back of your mouth. Do the vowels feel narrow or wide?
 
Jeff explains the vowels in the video below.
 
 
Peak Music Studios offers in-person singing lessons using state-of-the-art and evidenced-based techniques to singers in the Capital District including Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Latham, Colonie, Niskayuna, Watervliet, Cohoes, and surrounding communities. Fill out a web form at the bottom of our singing lessons page to schedule a free singing consultation today!
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