Singing Better

The Four Problem Words

 

There are 4 commonly sung words in English that are problems because they are triphthongs rather than diphthongs.  They are “your”, “our”, (“hour”), “I’ll”, “while” It’s also because we allow “lazy mouths” to happen.


YOUR

In common speech, “your” is spoken as a diphthong (2 vowels) “ee-er” rather than as a triphthong (3 vowel sounds) that it is.  It should be sung  “ee-oo’-er” but that takes more work with the mouth.  Especially since “ee-oo-er” goes directly from the farthest front vowel “ee” to the farthest back vowel “oo” which also requires lip protrusion.  (Check this out on the vowel graphic 2 pages back.)  You have to work to say “your” correctly especially when it’s thrown in quickly in a phrase.


OUR (HOUR)

Not “ah-er” but “ah-oo-er”  Be sure to get the middle””oo” sound in it.  Again the problem is extreme movement - going from  the low “ah” to  the back “oo” then back to the middle “er”.  The lazy way is to leave out the “
oo” especially since the “oo” also requires lip protrusion.  When it’s fast, you have to consciously work to pucker the lips.  (Check this out on the vowel graphic 2 pages back.)


I’LL

Not “ah-ll” but “ah-ee-ll”.  It takes more work to get the “ee” in as the middle vowel sound.


WHILE

Not “whoo-ah-ll”  but “whoo-ah-ee-ll”.  Moving to the front “ee” requires more movement.

                         If you have any confusions or suggestions,

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                                    tednorton@roadrunner.com