Magic Choral Trick #338 How Much Singable Consonant is Enough?

The first question that comes up when you ask chorus members to really sing the L’s, M’s, N’s, V’s, NG’s and Z’s is:

Is all the effort worth it?


Not only does singing through these sounds lock in the synchronization, mainly because people are listening so much to each other, but the legato improves.

The whole effect is suddenly richer and smoother, because other than for planned breaks in the sound (breaths), the sound never stops.

The chord continues to sound – but through the M or the NG or the L.

And when a phrase ends on one of these sounds – it feels complete, tidy and clean.

Like the diphthong resolution vowel though, it still needs to be very short, but very intense.

Song = Saw………………NG

Smile = sMah……eeL

I find that I don’t hear the singable consonants unless each member of the chorus is singing them at about 3 times the intensity of the target vowel.

I say this mainly so that each mind in the chorus is actually thinking the singable consonant at exactly the same time. I find when I give my singers an instruction as specific as “3 times more intense”, they find it easier to focus their minds at exactly the time that it’s needed.

To the singers it feels ridiculous at first – but the overall smoothness in the sound makes it a habit really worth instilling.

About janetkidd

I've been waving my arms in front of choirs now for more than 35 years - and these are descriptions of all the very best things I've learned. I direct a Women's Competitive Barbershop Chorus, a Men's Competitive Barbershop Chorus, a Med School choir, and for a few weeks each year - Big Choir (about 100 voices) - which performs at an annual fundraising concert. Hope at least some of these Choral Magic Tricks will be useful to you - and thanks for reading. Janet

Posted on June 22, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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