By GALA Expert
November 29, 2023
Crisp and clean choral diction has a huge impact on the quality of the sound produced by a chorus. This page contains information about diction in general as well as resources for singing in a variety of languages.
Diction principles across most languages
- Begin the vowel sound on the beat. That means that a preceding consonant must begin slightly ahead of the beat.
- Extend the vowel sound of every word or syllable for as long as possible keeping the resonating spaces in the mouth open and vibrant.
- When singing a diphthong (two vowels in succession) extend the first vowel sound as long as possible before moving briefly to the second. There are some exceptions to this rule but listen to your conductor for advice on any variation.
- Consonants should be crisp and short unless specified otherwise by your conductor.
ChoralNet offers a few links and resources about choral diction.
The Diction Domain includes books, websites, recordings, software, fonts and tools that help singers perform in various languages.
The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a series of symbols that encompass every consonant and vowel sound. Singers can learn the basic IPA symbols to help with score notation when learning next from a foreign language.
English Stuff has an interesting webpage for singers interested in learning basic IPA.