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The pedagogy of vocal articulations

I found this image quite hysterical.

Just for the record: I did not draw that ^ ... but I do find it amusing, lol.



Sostenuto: Sustaining tones.

It is important that the student begin their tone with a clean and neat beginning ( no air before the tone is produced, and neither a harsh attack, but a happy coordinated beginning in the middle of each extreme). This vocal articulation builds the Thryoarytenoid muscle which is the chest voice. Exercise should be done in chest voice so the voice can strengthen and grow.


Staccato: Short articulations that focus on the well coordinated start to the tone. IT is important for women to train with staccato because it strengthens the lateral cricoarytenoid muscle ( the glottal closing muscle).

An exercise for this would be on a vowel

1 - 3 - 5 - 8 - 5 - 3 - 1

1 - 3 - 5 - 8 8 8 8 - 5 - 3 - 1


Portamento: A slide or exaggerated legato. This articulations teaches to blend the registers (Thyroarytenoid, and Cricoarytenoid muscles). Garcia states that Portamento will help to equalize the registers by exchanging the tension between the CT and TA muscles.

This articulation should be a choice in singing, when most times it is used as a default. It should be practiced like going down a slide, not stepping down. An exercise for this would be sliding down a perfect 5th.


Aspirato: this articulation is an exception to the rule of a clean and neat beginning of the tone, for "Let us not forget to train the larynx!" -(I have this quote in my notes and not sure who said it).

An aspirato or little "H" is used to rearticulate a repeated pitch. For example in the soprano aria Ich folge dir gleichfalls on the chromatic ascending line, or in Handel's Every Valley shall be exalted on the repeated pitches of Exalted.


Martellato/Marcato: "Hammered"

The Martellato is a marked vocalization in contrast with the staccato. It is indicated in a score as such:

An Example of this is in Handel's Messiah Bass Aria Thus Saith the Lord, when the bass sings "And I will shake".

In this articulation, the larynx activities remain constant in its tone production and the articulation is accomplished with a pulsation in airflow.


Trill/Trillo: Many treatises talk about this articulation, but none of them explain how to do it. Most pedagogs wrote that you are born with it... and that it can be learned by imitation only and cannot be explained. hmm....

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