Musical Terms Glossary: Singing

One of the toughest parts of learning an instrument is getting acquainted with all the special musical terms surrounding the process! Each instrument has its own set of nomenclature, which can seem daunting and confusing. Below, you will find a glossary of the most common musical terms in the singing world.

Read on to learn more, or to check a term you heard in class or read in your workbook! 

Musical Terms Glossary: Singing

  • Belt: A high held note that sounds chesty and full. 
  • Bridge: The area of a persons voice where they transition from chest voice to head voice. 
Head & Chest Voice: Really? - Vocal Craft
  • Chest Voice: The low register of the voice, primarily resonating in the chest. 
How To Sing In Chest Voice?
  • Croon: A style of singing that is low and smooth. 
  • Diaphragm: A muscle felt directly below the rib cage. Used in singing breathing technique. 
Thoracic Diaphragm: what is it and why is it important? - Rehab1 Blog :  Rehab1 Blog
  • Falsetto: a method of voice production used by singers to sing notes higher than their normal range.It is a disconnected tone and sounds airy and breathy. 
  • Flip: The act of abruptly switching from chest voice to head voice
  • Hard Palette: The hard palate is a thin horizontal bony plate located in the front of the roof of the mouth.
Hard and Soft Palates
  • Head Voice: The high register of the voice, primarily resonating in the head. 
What is head voice?
  • Larynx: The 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
The larynx - what is it and where is it located? - Macmillan Cancer Support
  • Mix Voice: A technique used by singers that combines both head and chest voice. 
Top 3 Secrets for Hitting High Notes... Now! - Blog - The Worship Vocalist
  • Nodules: Vocal nodules are hard, rough, noncancerous growths on your vocal cords.
Vocal Cord Polyps, Nodules, and Granulomas - Ear, Nose, and Throat  Disorders - Merck Manuals Professional Edition
  • Passaggio: The classical term for transition points in the singing voice.
Find Your Vocal Range and Voice Type Test | VOCAL NEBULA
  • Phonation: The process of converting the air pressure from the lungs into audible vibrations is called phonation. 
phonation in speech | phonation & articulation
  • Phrasing:The concept of rhythm in singing. 
  • Pulling up: The act of taking chest voice above is comfortable range in an unhealthy manner. 
  • Rasp: A tone of voice that is crackly and rough, often used in rock music. 
  • Riff: An embellishment on a single word or sound using multiple notes. 
Vocal Warmups GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY
  • Soft Palette: The soft palate is the muscular part at the back of the roof of the mouth. It sits behind the hard palate, which is the bony part of the roof of the mouth.
Hard and Soft Palates
  • Strain: Using the muscles of the voice in an unhealthy way during singing. 
Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal Blog: Vocal Strain: What is it? What can you  do about it?
  • Vocal Cords: The vocal cords (also called vocal folds) are two bands of smooth muscle tissue found in the larynx (voice box). The vocal cords vibrate and air passes through the cords from the lungs to produce the sound of your voice.
Vocal Cords Labeled Anatomical and Medical Structure and Location Scheme  Stock Vector - Illustration of isolated, parts: 198089599
  • Vocal Fry: Vocal fry is the lowest register (tone) of your voice characterized by its deep, creaky, breathy sound.

Closing Notes

Our Singing Glossary is always evolving, so if there are any other terms you aren’t sure of ask your teacher! Or feel free to reach out to us to set you up with one of the best singers in the city!

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