A Guide to Singing – Glossary

City Academy Singing for Beginners - Starting Singing and Setting Goals Post

Ever been in a singing class and felt like they might as well be speaking a different language? Well that’s because they are! Most singing terms are Italian which can make picking up technique even more tricky. All of our Singing Courses at City Academy are built to ensure our students develop a good knowledge of musical terms and technique. Our Head of Singing and professional singer, Bernadette Doyle, has put together a singing glossary of useful terms to give you a head start!

Singing Glossary: A - D

 

A Cappella

Singing without any form of accompaniment

Alto

Low female voice

Baritone

Male voice located between bass and tenor in range and tone quality

Bass

Lowest male voice type

Belt 

The loudest sound a singer can make, mixing their lower and upper resonances

Diaphragm

The dome shaped muscle attached to the bottom of the lungs that separates your chest and stomach cavities. The main muscle involved in breathing

Diction

The pronunciation and enunciation of words

Dynamics

The variations in volume in a given song

 
 

Singing Glossary: F - P

 

Falsetto

Comes from the Italian word for “false.” Usually the highest part of a man’s voice when singing in an upper register

Flat

To be under the correct pitch

Intonation

The relation of one note to another, and the relative pitching of each note

Larynx

Commonly called the voice box, is an organ in the top of the neck involved in breathing, producing sound, and protecting the trachea against food aspiration

Legato

Notes which are sung smoothly and connected

Mezzo Soprano

The second highest female voice type

Nodules/Nodes

Small non-malignant lesions or bumps that occur on the vocal cords

Phrasing

Refers to the breaths in-between notes and rhythm of the song

Pitch

The high or low frequency of a sound

 
 
  

Singing Glossary: R - Z

 

Range

The notes that a performer can sing comfortably

Register

The range of a voice or instrument

Resonance

The modification and amplification of the vocal sound by certain areas of the body

Scale

Any set of musical notes ordered by fundamental frequency or pitch

Sharp

To be above the note

Soft palette

The soft tissue at the back of the roof of the mouth

Soprano

Highest Female Voice

Staccato

The opposite of Legato - each note is separate from the one before and after it

Tenor

Highest male voice

Tone

The color or timbre of pitch

Vibrato

The vibration of the singing sound

Vocal chord/folds

Two muscular folds that connect from the inside front to the inside back of your larynx; their change in thickness and vibrating length, due to adjustment in tension, affects the pitch and intensity of your tone

 
 

 

At City Academy we run Singing Classes for adults, as well as a range of exciting opportunities including six different Choirs, Open Mic Nights, Musical Theatre Classes and more, whether you're new to singing or have previous experience. Here's the singers of our Songbirds Choir performing at our yearly Summer Concerts

 


We hope you found our glossary useful, you are now ready for the world of singing!

For more information read our Singing blog posts, or browse our Singing Classes: