Singing Glossary

A Cappella: Singing without any form of accompaniment.

Alto: Low female voice.

Attack: Accurate voice part entry.

Baritone: Male voice located between bass and tenor in range and tone quality.

Bass:  Lowest male voice type.

Belt: The loudest sound a singer can make, mixing their lower and upper resonances.

Chordal Music: Generally constructed vertically (as distinct from Contrapuntal). Voices form chords.

Contrapuntal Music:  Generally constructed horizontally (as distinct from Chordal). Each voice has its own melodic line; harmony emerges from the juxtaposition of different lines.

Diaphragm: The dome shaped muscle attached to the bottom of the lungs that separates your chest and stomach cavities. The main muscle involved in breathing.

Diction: The pronunciation and enunciation of words.

Dynamics: The variations in volume in a given song.

Falsetto:  Comes from the Italian word for “false.” Usually the highest part of a man’s voice when singing in an upper register.

Flat: To be under the correct pitch.

Intonation: The relation of one note to another, and the relative pitching of each note.

Larynx:  Commonly called the voice box, is an organ in the top of the neck involved in breathing,

producing sound, and protecting the trachea against food aspiration.

Legato: Notes which are sung smoothly and connected.

Mezzo Soprano: The second highest female voice type

Nodules/Nodes: Small non-malignant lesions or bumps that occur on the vocal chords.

Phrasing:  Refers to the breaths in-between notes and rhythm of the song.

Pitch: The high or low frequency of a sound.

Preparation: The beat before a voice entry. Prepare by taking in a breath.

Range: The notes that a performer can sing comfortably.

Register: The range of a voice or instrument.

Resonance:  The modification and amplification of the vocal sound by certain areas of the body.

Scale:  Any set of musical notes ordered by fundamental frequency or pitch.

Sharp:  To be above the note.

Soft palate: The soft tissue at the back of the roof of the mouth.

Soprano:  Highest female voice

Staccato: The opposite of Legato – each note is separate from the one before and after it.

Tenor:  Highest male voice.

Tone: The colour or timbre of pitch.

Tuning: The accurate pitching of notes and intervals.

Vibrato: The vibration of the singing sound.

Vocal chords: Two muscular folds that connect from the inside front to the inside back of your larynx; their change in thickness and vibrating length, due to adjustment in tension, affects the pitch and intensity of your tone.

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