Harmony is an important part of all genres of music. You’ll most often hear harmonies on the refrain or chorus part of the song. This is sometimes called the “sing-along” part of a song. While the verses create a narrative, the chorus invites other voices to join in. There are a few guidelines and exercises that can help you become familiar with singing harmony.
In spoken communication, the meaning of a sentence changes depending on which words are emphasized. The words that you make the loudest are the most defined. Depending on the point of dynamic emphasis, for example, “I REALLY like you” a subtext of meaning is conveyed. It leads to the question, “What do you mean, you REALLY like me?”
The same thing is true when you are singing. Good singers only think about hitting the notes, while great singers think of phrases. Phrases become verses and choruses. Verses and choruses become songs. Great singers keep an awareness of that larger story.
My first singing instructor said if you want to be a popular singer that, “sounding good is not as important as sounding recognizable”. This was strange to hear as a beginner, but I realized that singing is sometimes more about art than a technique. When you turn on the radio, you may be able to recognize singers in only a few notes. Whether you like the song or not, style is an important part of becoming recognizable and connecting with your audience no matter the genre.
As you learn to sing and immerse yourself in the singing community, you will hear other singers and voice coaches use terms such as vocal register, range, breaks, etc.
You likely have no idea what these terms even mean, let alone how to apply them to your own vocal development.
To make it more confusing, not all vocal pedagogist define these things in the exact same way.
So, where do you start?
The term soprano refers to the highest-pitched singing voice. It comes from the Italian word, sopra, meaning over, on top, or above. While the majority of sopranos are women, male countertenors who can sing in the soprano range are called sopranists, and young boy sopranos are called trebles.
Stage fright is when you get nervous and anxious usually before or during a musical performance like singing. It's entirely normal when singing around people to feel a little shy; in fact, it’s hard to think of any singer who hasn’t experienced stage fright, shyness or other performance issues. Adele, powerhouse that she is, has admitted to throwing up out of nervousness before concerts even when she was topping the Billboard charts. Here are some tips to help with overcoming stage fright when singing.
Vocal ranges like baritone, tenor, alto, bass, soprano and mezzo-soprano are usually used to determine different types of voices within singing. There are a lot of vocal ranges out there, which means choosing a type of music or repertoire to sing can be a challenging and frustrating task for singers. Learn how to determine your vocal range and music repertoire by following these steps.
Singing in your whistle register (also known as whistle notes or bell notes) is no easy feat. Beyoncé’s notorious key changes in “Love On Top” eventually climb to a whistle register voice, but anyone who’s tried singing along to this song knows it’s taxing on the voice and for many, proves physically impossible.
Phrasing is how we divide a song into musical ideas, including where we breathe and where we place emphasis. For an example, sing through “Happy Birthday”. You probably sang 4 phrases: (1) Happy birthday to you, (2) happy birthday to you, (3) happy birthday dear Grandma, (4) happy birthday to you. That’s easy, natural phrasing!