If we do this warm up exercise with a group of singers 1 2 3 4 5 4 3 2 1 2 3 4 5 4 3 2 1 (doh re mi fah soh fah me re doh re mi fah soh fah mi re doh) then a semi-tone higher with each repetition we hear this:
1 2 3 4 5 4 3 2 1 2 3 4 5 4 3 2 1 (doh re mi fah soh fah mi re doh re mi fah soh fah mi re doh)
Especially when the exercise gets into a high register – no matter what vowel or what words we’re using to sing the note pattern
To be fair, the 5/soh does fall on beat one in this exercise, which means it’s already in an accented position – but the same thing often happens on the highest note of a run within a song.
To smooth out the bump on the high note we need to think extra legato from the top note to the note immediately following it.
Or to put it in a way that people seem to understand – when doing the exercise above, I ask for a lugubrious slide from 5 down to 4 every time that comes up in the pattern.
This works immediately to smooth out the bump in the sound.
However, this technique is only as good as the amount of dependable mental focus of the singer or singers. As soon as we understand the concept, we feel we no longer need to think that annoying time sensitive legato thought – and once again the bump will show up.
The exercise at the top of this post is a great way to drill this thought.