More on diction

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Well, hello there, friends. Today I would like to make a few comments about some common errors that singers tend to make. They relate to:

1. Pronounciation of the suffix ING (not ING Direct)

The prefix of some words should not be linked with this suffix “ing”. For example, some people sing goWING instead of goING. Try out the ING words before singing.

2. Words with the letters OWN

The best way to explain this is to say that these words should be rounded up. For example, DOWN is commonly pronounced DUNG and TOWN is commonly pronounced TUNG.

3. Linking of adjacent words in the same phrase

There are times when adjacent words in the same phrase can be linked to each other. However, this is not a good idea all of the time, for the purpose of esthetics (at least audible)or tasteful singing. For example:

– “I am, I am”. These words are linked by some singers to sound like “I Yam, I Yam”. Now what are you singing about? A root vegetable?

There are many more examples. The best way to avoid them is to listen with a keen ear to other singers and to your own self.



Diction For Singers – Consonants

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Hello there readers. How have you progressed with your vocal exercises? I am having progressive improvement in my own vocal quality and hope you are experiencing the same. Today we will talk about consonants, which are the other letters in the alphabet minus the vowels.


  • make words intelligible.
  • should therefore be sung clearly and pronounced distinctly and quickly.

The key word here is DISTINCTLY, meaning that the consonant should be heard, but not overemphasized.

Many singers tend to pronounce words without paying attention to the consonants, especially at the ends of words. This gives you the impression that the word is incomplete, leaving you hanging on the edge of your seat, waiting to hear the rest of it.

For example, perfecT – is sometimes pronounced as perfecK or perfec.

The secret to successful diction is to train the air to mentally hear the words of one’s songs as well as to sound them out during rehearsals. It may not always be possible to get it perfect always if the song is sung with a very quick tempo, but it is important to try.

The pronunciation of consonants therefore has the important effect of pronouncing words in their entirety, adding to the beauty of the song.

Now listen to songs with a keen ear in order to determine ways of improvement.


Diction For Singers – Vowels

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Diction is the clarity with which words are pronounced and is an area that I constantly groan about when listening to singers of all genres. Words are composed of vowels and consonants which need special attention while one is singing.

Vowels make up the sounds in language. Their correct pronunciation gives:

  • clarity
  • distinction
  • variety
  • color and brightness to a song.

I usually advise my students to study the song as if preparing for an examination in order to give full attention to diction, especially in the area of the pronunciation of the vowels. It is important that we pay attention to the fact that vowels are pronounced slightly differently when they are sung, in order to add maximum beauty to the words.



* A as in gArden, fAther. This is a rounded sound and not flat and hard like the following A sound in hAt, mAt, thAt.

* A as in Afar, Alone, Amazed, hAt, sAt, mAt, thAt.

* E as in Ever, nEver, sEver. Avoid giving this vowel an A sound as in bill, sill etc.

* I as in chEEse, knEEs etc

* O as in Or, nOr, GOd, fOr

* U as in fOOl. Lips should be slightly pouted


The vowels A, E and O should be sung with plenty of mouth space to allow them to be sung clearly.

Mouth space means that:

1. the jaw is allowed to drop (practice by opening and closing the mouth widely).

2. with the tongue is relaxed on the floor of the mouth. Don’t press it or force it down because that is not helpful.

3. The tip of the tongue lies behind the lower teeth.

The singer therefore has to change the shape of the mouth and lips depending on the vowel being sung.



In addition to practicing the vowel sounds, listen to a favorite song to determine the accuracy of vowel expression. Can this be improved?

Read more on vowels at