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Coloratura and Riffs

I get so many emails asking how to develop the ability to sing riffs and other quick and florid types of passages. In classical vocal music this florid singing is known as coloratura. Any type of quick singing obviously requires flexibility in the vocal instrument. The only way to develop the ability to sing quickly and dramatically is to first train the voice to remain in a –you guessed it– relaxed speech-level posture throughout the range. Once some degree of proficiency in basic technique has been gained, then flexibility can be practiced.

In all styles of singing, the quick riffs should sound natural and spontaneous. The only way to develop this sound is to practice the passages at more moderate speeds, note by note, and gradually increase the tempo. The goal is to maintain your speech-level posture, feel no strain or excess breath pressure beneath the cords, and feel as though the passage is connected from bottom to top (rather than flipping into a disconnected, falsetto type of production in the higher ranges).

Once the flexibility and balance are established, the singer can then begin to “lean into” the passages a bit more and invite more air resistance at the cords (being very careful not to lose the relaxed floating speech-level posture, or invite any outer muscle involvement).

It’s perfectly reasonable to expect to practice certain difficult fast runs and trills for quite some time before they are performance ready. Once they have been perfected they will sound very natural and spontaneous. Each style of music has certain patterns that seem to be repeated with slight variations. Therefore as these certain patterns have been mastered they can be used in many different song applications and in improvisations.

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This blog is not owned or operated by Speech-Level-Singing International, it is owned and operated privately by Guy Babusek. The views expressed herein are strictly his own.

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