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Trilling - how to learn?

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It has been claimed that trilling is something you can learn to do.

But I have yet to have a teacher be able to teach me this vocal affect. They just can't seem to explain to me what it is I'm supposed to be doing in language that I can do something with.

I've worked on my own with Estelle Liebling's and Mathilde Marchesi's exercises - and I believe I HAVE occasionally managed to trill - but it's always been hit or miss, and not consistently repeatable. It seems also to happen only in the upper middle register of my voice. When I try to reproduce the results in the low register, not a chance.

Interestingly, I can "goat trill" endlessly. I can sing really fast staccati. I can trill when I go through the whole process of singing two alternating notes increasingly quickly until I finally just "let loose".

But I don't know what it is that I need to do to get a trill started "off a dime" - as one needs to be able to do for ornamenting. What I end up doing is just a wide vibrato that doesn't sound to me like a real trill (so I'm pretty sure I'm not fooling anyone).

I also don't seem to be able to manage to sustain a trill once I get it - e.g., for those long baroque phrases where one is supposed to sustain the trill for a measure or even two.

Advice? Anything I should read that will explain the whole thing to me clearly?

How did you learn? Or is it something, like rolling r's, that you're just physiologically able to do or not.

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It has been claimed that trilling is something you can learn to do.

But I have yet to have a teacher be able to teach me this vocal affect. They just can't seem to explain to me what it is I'm supposed to be doing in language that I can do something with.

Sing: I am writing a fairly detailed response for you, which I should be ready to post in a couple of days. I hope that will be ok.

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Trilling:

Some people do it naturally. It is something learned best by imitation. Any voice can do it, but it takes vocal freedom (muscular independence) to do it right.

The Garcia exercises for the trill begin with the third, as it is easier , and one you have that right you can go to the second, which is where a true trill is performed. There are of course trills that start right away and trill that start by singing both notes and then going into the trill.

Faure has a section connected with it. Francis is going to find out how to get the exercises out of Sibelius and print them for you at our bel canto group.

Rolling the R is done with the tip of the tongue. It is a muscular co-ordination. the trill is muscular. You have to hear it and imitate it to do it, just as you learn how to sing chest gracefully, for the women here.

There are execises but as Faure says, just as street urchins learn to yodel by ear, you learn to trill with your ears and your ability to empathize, or reconstruct in your own body what you figure out the other person is doing.

I trill naturally but Francis was able to help me make it cleaner.

All the best,

Roberta Prada

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  • 5 months later...

My teacher skipped tongue trills because I couldn't do them. I only did lip bubbles and can do them without breaks.

Now, I'm trying to learn the tongue trill on my own, but I'm breaking. I find that tongue trills require more breath than lip bubbles. As I sing higher, should it require more breath? Up until I'm in the head voice, then does it requires less breath? Or should it be steady throughout the exercise?

Any advice? I'll be practicing the tongue trill every day until I get it.

Thanks in advance!

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