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 vocalist.org  http://www.vocalist.org.uk/diction.html