Vocal Vocabulary: Singing Terms For Beginners

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Contrary to what you might see on American Idol or The Voice, singing sensations aren’t made overnight. To be able to belt out songs like Carrie Underwood or Kelly Clarkson, you need to put in the work. This involves constant hours of practice, proper vocal training, and everyday vocal care. But to really consider yourself a legit singer, you need to be able to not only kill it on karaoke night…you need to know how to talk the talk.

Knowing basic singing terms will help you better understand your craft and will show others just how serious you are about your music. When it comes down to it, successful singers are the ones that can croon a tune and know their music lingo inside and out.

To help you beef up your vocal vocabulary, the instructors of our vocal lessons in Scottsdale have put together a short glossary of singing terminology. Enjoy!

  • Pitch – the sound of a note; its high or low frequency

*A common criticism beginning singing students often hear from our instructors during their vocal lessons in Scottsdale is that they’re singing off-pitch. This simple means that they’re singing out of tune, and refers to the rate of vibrations of the vocal folds. Faster vibrations produce a high pitch and slower vibrations produce a low pitch.

  • Flat:      to be lower than the correct pitch of a note


  • Sharp:     to be higher than the note


  • Vibrato:      a style of singing resulting in a trill or pulsating change of pitch


  • A capella:      singing without musical accompaniment


  • Head Voice:       refers to the high range of the voice


  • Chest Voice:      refers to the low range of the voice


  • Riff:       a quick succession of notes, usually repeated


  • Run:        vocally climbing up or down a scale on a single syllable


  • Belting:      a style of singing that produces a loud, forceful vocal sound

Learn even more singing terminology by singing up for our vocal lessons in Scottsdale. We’ll help you perfect your singing chops and vocal vocabulary all at once! Call (602) 751-3537 for more information.

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