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Top Things To Remember For Training & Singing Narrowed Vowels?

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Training & Singing Narrowed Vowels  

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  1. 1. Do you have a specific training routine or approach that helps you to sing narrowed vowels better?

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What are the top things to remember when training narrowed vowels? Please share... I'll start. Here is my contribution.



How To Sing Narrowed Vowels & Their Benefits

There are three kinds of vowels in singing; open vowels, middle vowels and narrowed vowels. As many students of singing of all levels of experience can tell you, when the lyrics of songs take the singer into narrowed vowels, the singing voice begins to become troublesome if they are not executed properly. In fact, the inability to sing narrowed vowels are one of the major reasons why the singing voice does not cooperate when singing, especially in the higher regions of the voice. Not only does the strength and skill to sing narrowed vowels serve the practical need to be able to articulate narrowed vowels in your lyrics, but, narrowed vowel training is also important resistance training work. When you train narrowed vowels, you strengthen the adductors and intrinsic musculature you need for a stable voice, a more modal sound color and belting. Putting it the point, narrowed vowel training is great for developing your belt voice capabilities. Therefore, narrowed vowel training gives you two primary benefits. When singing narrowed vowels, it is important that you lower the acoustic mass (overall energy). If you do not lower the acoustic mass of narrowed vowels, they will not be able to amplify and stabilize. Narrowed vowels with too much acoustic mass, causes constriction and/or instability of the vocal folds and your singing.

Primary Benefits of Training Narrowed Vowels

  • Improves the ability to articulate narrowed vowels in your lyrics when singing to make your diction easier to understand to the listener.
  • The muscle strengthening and coordination from training narrowed vowels helps augment your belt voice training.

Primary Narrowed Vowels When Singing

Narrowed Edging VowelsNarrowed Neutral VowelsNarrowed Curbing VowelsVowels Follows by /r/
/i/ "ee" as in see /I/ "ih" as in sit/ɔ/ "aw" as in law/ʉ/ "oo" as in you /ɣ/ "ou" as in wouldWhen a vowel is followed by an /r/, it is called "r-controlled" vowels, or "r-colored" vowels. /ar/ sound as in car, guitar, Arthur /âr/ sound as in care, bear, mare, scare, aquarium /îr/ sound as in pier /ir/ sound as in turnip, spider, certificate, and beaver /or/ sound as in manor, observatory, author, brought, and orchard /er/ sound as in butter, cutter, and mother

* These word samples are English language equivalent, but the same rules apply for other languages that make the same sounds.

Three Points of Narrowing

The Singing Vowel / Sound ColorAll three acoustic modes have narrowed vowels as well as the vowels that are followed by /r/.  
The Vocal TractThe vocal tract, or physical space that is resonating your vowels literally narrows.
The Acoustic MassThe mass of the phonation MUST lower or "narrow" metaphorically, in order to insure that the vowel will continue to amplify in the formant. 
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To me, the r controlled sound is what some in metal called the "yawrl" sound, such as that used by Scott Stapp. Sometimes by Eddie Vedder.

Anyway, it took me a while to respond to this thread but it makes me also think of the vowel shapes that you, Bob, have spoken of. For I find myself doing this. For example, I don't make every word ee, but that is the root shape through which to provide a resonant spot.


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No, the R-Controlled vowels are not "The Yarl". It is only a coincidence that the "The Yarl" has an "r-ish" sound color to it, but they are not related. 

Bob, r-controlled vowels are narrow vowels. The require the same attention as "ee" or "oo", etc... 

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But in all of those words above we would simply not sing the "r" unless it's the starting letter, and then we would just want to skim it and get off of it as soon as possible.

Example: Doors, Roadhouse Blues. You've got to get off the "r's."

You mentioned "Guitar" as an r-controlled vowel.  But the vowel is open.  We sing "Gihtah."  

I guess I'm not getting what you're trying to teach.






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