Vocal performance tutorial 8 - Vowel production by Tina & Ben Henderson

The five Italian vowels are: I E A O U - and this is how they sound in English ...

  • I      as in cheese
  • E     as in ever
  • A     as in garden
  • O     as in for    
  • U     as in fool

These five vowels are the basis of the vowels of all western language.

They make up almost 100% of the sounds that we have to sing in any language...so they’re really important to master.

Some tips when singing the vowels ...

  • I      - experiment with the shape of the lips. It should sound wide and bright.

  • E     - think of the word “air” when you sing it.

  • A     - keep your tongue flat, and your mouth open. Imagine being at the dentist: ”Arhh”

  • O     - again, keep your tongue flat, and your mouth open

  • U     - don’t pout too much! Try singing “MUU”, “NUU”, or singing the vowel I first.

All the vowels are made by the vocal cords, the lips don’t play too big a part in vowel production...if you want proof, try this:

Open your mouth just about a fingers width, and produce all the vowel sounds without moving your lips...can you feel where in your mouth is producing the sound?

It is the back of the throat, the vocal cords, isn’t it?

Practice producing the vowels with the “hairpins” exercise.

Start quietly, and increase in volume, then decrease in volume - remember that you can sing quietly or loud, and concentrate on keeping the pitch of the note clear even during the quiet parts!

© Tina & Ben Henderson 2007