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Terminology for singing the beginning of a note softly

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juliansader
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Hi everyone,

This is just a quick question about terminology:

Very often, vocalists sing the beginning of a note somewhat softer than the rest of the note. Sometimes this seems to happen unconsciously, as if the vocalist is unsure about the pitch or volume, and needs a moment to adjust. In other cases (particularly in operatic singing, as far as my experience go) this is a deliberate technique in which the soft beginning part of the note lasts longer and the note only gradually increases in volume. In these latter cases, the voice almost has a wave-like quality, alternating between soft and loud at each note.

Is there a specific term for this phenomenon and/or technique?

Thanks,

Julian

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This is how I understand onsets; 2 extremes and a big middle ground (isn't it always like that?):

Aspirate (breathy), breathing before the folds engage: "ha" with a lot of "hhhh"

Glottal, folds slamming together before air is applied: "ah" with a strong "a" attack

Balanced, where the breathing and vocal mechanism is coordinated to create timbres ranging between the aforementioned extremes

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Hi everyone,

This is just a quick question about terminology:

Very often, vocalists sing the beginning of a note somewhat softer than the rest of the note. Sometimes this seems to happen unconsciously, as if the vocalist is unsure about the pitch or volume, and needs a moment to adjust. In other cases (particularly in operatic singing, as far as my experience go) this is a deliberate technique in which the soft beginning part of the note lasts longer and the note only gradually increases in volume. In these latter cases, the voice almost has a wave-like quality, alternating between soft and loud at each note.

Is there a specific term for this phenomenon and/or technique?

Julian: Starting a note and then getting louder on it is a 'swell', or, if just for a note, sometimes called a 'tension crescendo', and is used among classical singers (and others) as an expressive device. If the singer has vibrato, these two elements combine to make the 'wavy' effect during the overall crescendo.

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