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


Low female voice


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


Lowest male voice type


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


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


The pronunciation and enunciation of words


The variations in volume in a given song


Singing Glossary: F - P



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


To be under the correct pitch


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


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


Notes which are sung smoothly and connected

Mezzo Soprano

The second highest female voice type


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


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


The high or low frequency of a sound


Singing Glossary: R - Z



The notes that a performer can sing comfortably


The range of a voice or instrument


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


Any set of musical notes ordered by fundamental frequency or pitch


To be above the note

Soft palette

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


Highest Female Voice


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


Highest male voice


The color or timbre of pitch


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: