MUSICAL PHRASING FOR SINGERS & PIANIST

Your stylistic choice will determine your phrasing. Your ultimate goal is to be able to sing and play the song the way you feel the song. This gives you the ability to communicate the song and evoke those feelings to your listeners The voice is one of the most expressive instruments. Good musical phrasing and shaping of the words create a very unique sound.

What does it mean to phrase each line? It means the singer is shaping each word, each phrase, each line. It is a combination of pitch, volume (dynamics), tone, enunciation, emphasis (accents) and more. It’s the phrasing that will make a vocalist stand out from the rest. The above elements apply to a pianist phrasing minus the enunciation.

It’s important to have a solid foundation for a good performance. An impressive characteristic of a great singer is flexibility in their vocal sound. The singer possesses the ability to adapt their voice to fit a style of music. When you have a solid foundation, you have an arsenal of techniques to use. With a solid foundation to sing, applying the musical phrasing gives you a uniquely different sound with an edge.

Another element of musical phrasing to consider is called back phrasing. Back phrasing is when you purposefully sing ahead of or behind the beat. Back phrasing is heavily used in jazz and more contemporary styles. 

It takes time and practice to create your own distinct and recognizable phrasing. An important step is to record yourself and listen to the recording to see what you like and don’t like when you sing. Listen to Audrey Diaz sing “Killing e Softly” the tone, pitch, and dynamics gives her phrasing a very distinct and unique sound.

JOKE FOR THE DAY:

“When she started to play, Steinway came down personally and rubbed his name off the piano.”
Bob Hope

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