Note: For beginners.
“As long as you can talk, you can sing”. Nobody in this world does not want to learn how to sing. Got a funny dream of becoming a “pop star” from the time you’ve learned your first nursery rhyme songs, or memorized a television commercial that made you realize that “singing is cool”.
Well for some that got caught in mystery and intrigue, pushing hard their neck up to creatively sing the time they got applauded performing at reunions or parties the trending songs “My Heart Will Go On, To Love You More, and Listen”. Even songs that will eventually tear your veins and pop your eyes out such as “Through The Fire, One Moment in Time and Emotions (with whistles that made you squeak like running away from flying cockroaches”. Until you decided to learn either on your own and give up or with a divine intervention from a magical voice coach that helped you become a diva.
And finally, learning and knowing that “OMG I CAN SING” is not an easy feeling. Being invited to sing in a wedding, pushed to join a singing contest and things that will make you feel like “Imma diva dahling” is satisfying. But, there are frustrations, sick moments, overnight lyrics memorization and M2M (many to mention) that made you feel like, I’m gonna die.
Well, there are ways to overcome a nightmare. Singing is a creative art. Planning to sing your own version of songs? Here are some styles you can do to make it unique and awesomazing.
- Note Substitution
This is a creative style to change a high or a low note differently to avoid a risky part of a song. Either you get a lower note to make it less visible that you cannot sing that “sudden death” sustained note or to switch it higher to make a dramatic interpretation or to save an awkward low note. This is the most common technique that a singer can do while singing which will highlight your mastery on pitch and accuracy on timing.
-Halo by Beyonce (the word “sound”)
*Original: https://youtu.be/FbuYUPx0Ea8 (1:37 – 1:42)
*Creative: https://youtu.be/-YS_35LV1XE (0:16 – 0:22)
- Vocal Fry
This is a vocal register that will make you sound like creaking. Usually it can be achieved on low and mid notes of your range and this dramatically make you sound sultry or ala “Britney b*tch”. The best way to do this is to find those song parts that will make an impact and will show emotion most especially on the beginning stanzas. It can be categorized as a dynamic technique to dissect the “relaxed area” of your lyrics from the climax.
-Oops I did it Again by Britney Spears (words “I, did, I made, more, friends”)
https://youtu.be/CduA0TULnow (0:58 – 1:06)
- Word or Phrase Substitution
This is a simple style that can make you creative by removing or adding some words to your song to convey an artistic stylization or if you forgot your lyrics maybe. Lol. It can also highlight your wide vocabulary and will artistically convey an effective message to your audience if you made it right. Prepare the words before your performance so it will not mess up.
-Vision of love by Mariah Carey- (“turned out to” sung twice)
Original: https://youtu.be/tov22NtCMC4 (3:06 – 3:11)
Creative: https://youtu.be/yAuYu9n48WU (3:31 – 3:45)
- Note Scooping
A style that make your sustained notes that starts from a pitch below the original key gradually pulling it higher to another specific key which perfectly works on songs that change keys from low to its climax that will make your veins pop. It requires proper breathing since it will fail without the proper air support. It can be used effectively on songs that has a powerful instrumental and not suitable for genres that has a less instruments used.
-Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Kyla (word “can’t”)
https://youtu.be/ppsLGKxcOWQ (2:56 – 3:08)
- Vocal Rasp/Distortion Style
A vocal texture that sounds like a vocal strain which somehow caused by nodules on vocal cords but can be used as a technique to make a dramatic song soulful and unique ala “The Grudge ghost” This technique also relates to the Vocal Fry and it has to be learned professionally since not all songs will fit on this technique. You will need to practice this to avoid damaging your vocal cords. It fits on the songs that has a heavy instrumental piece and perfect for the climax part of the songs
-I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing by Aerosmith
https://youtu.be/9o4kvBI5A98 (2:32 – 2:36)
- Glissando and Portamento
A risky technique that makes your sustained notes gliding from one key to another (Portamento) or multiple gliding of notes (Glissando) to perhaps make your performance your final one. FOREVER! It requires tremendous amount of air since this needs to sound smooth and silky. It also requires the mastery on pitch to avoid the awkward flat and sharp notes. It requires a perfect last note to make it successfully executed.
- Voice Curl
An abrupt but smooth shift of a pitch while singing. It sounds like a hiccup if you make it on the entire song. This style can be required if you know how to control your pipes a little. It will sound majestically during the climax part of your song and this technique will make you sound trained and professional since not all singers can execute this properly. The technique is you place it on the first letter/syllable of your word.
-Without You by Mariah Carey (word “Yes”)
https://youtu.be/Hat1Hc9SNwE (2:24 – 2:29)
A vocal texture to highlight a phrase, word or sustained note that sounds like a literal growling lion or “lion singing” if you may. This is a perfect technique to highlight the climactic part of your song that requires a deep emotion to sound powerful. It can rarely apply on less instrument songs but it is best for powerful genres. It requires mastery and not suitable to do it all the way to avoid the “gargling” sound.
-It’s Like That by Mariah Carey
https://youtu.be/nQXxUTeyPgk (2:22 – 2:27)
A style that pulsates your pitch like a wavy sound while singing that can be used to stabilize and avoid shaky pitch or to sound like you forgot your jacket-drama while walking in middle of Antarctica. It requires practice since not everybody has this naturally. Training to wave your sound is the key in a fair amount of air support. This is one of the basic cues to know that you can sing. It sometimes varies on the speed of the pulsating effect. Fast-phased can work on theatrical songs while slow-phased works on mellow songs
Sorry for Love by Celine Dion (sustained word “sorry”)
https://youtu.be/tLZO0thbVgM (3:16 – 3:24)
- Vocal Runs/Riffs
A style which is a little advance to master that switch notes on a single syllable or words that creates a smooth piano-like effect or worst, DIZZINESS! Kidding aside, this technique requires a lot of practice since it is a combination of a vibrato and note gliding. Pitch mastery is required since it puts a lot of artistic effect while you are singing. Most singers nowadays put an effort to make this as part of their songs and strategically it makes you escape the fearing high and low notes if you know how to properly land them on their proper keys.
Beyonce Vocal Runs Compilation
The list were pretty much the basics that you mostly hear from pop singers. You may find it helpful if you will not do the styles excessively or else you will sound like “crazyyyy!” It will be subtle to do like one or two styles on the right place to make yourself artistic. There are many things that needs to discuss in order to become successful in this kind of field. Learning from a trained vocal coach will help you be guided since learning it on your own will not fix the errors which you are not aware that you’re doing. Proper choice of songs is also very important since the techniques listed fits only on some genres.
If you want to practice at home. Try to listen on the clips given and explore more on watching videos and listening to the music since the timing of putting the techniques is included on your practice “to-do list”. Look for singers that knows how to do most of the tricks. Look for videos of your favorite singers conduct the techniques live since some recorded songs were already edited for you to know how to properly execute the styles.
Familiarization is your key to success and learning the basics will go a long way. Bring out the soul and power in you. If singing is your passion, you will have less time learning these basics. Have fun singing!
–created by RJ Jamon | ccto youtube.com videos | ctto photos