Guitarists and bassists talk about the attack of a note – the amount of force and decisiveness with which a note is initiated. Yet again, vocalists can learn lessons from other instruments.
Today’s tip is a simple one regarding the attack of your words.
In general, don’t attack your words too hard.
What does this mean? And how do you fix it if you are doing it?
Easiest for me to give you a audio example where the attacks on the words are too hard. Listen to the first of the two short clips in this player:
You hear pressure building up behind each word. Doesn’t sound good, does it?
Here are a few ways to fix it:
- Practice even airflow (rather than bouncy, inconsistent airflow) and breath support.
- Lighten up on any glottal stops – simply choose to let less air pressure build up before you let airflow begin.
- If you have to, make adjustments to some consonants. For example, a very hard “T” as in “tree” can become “ch” to allow air to escape a little more gradually. And “p” as in “people” can be said as something midway between “p” and “b” to soften up that consonant.
Now listen to the second track in the player above to hear the same example with less attack on all the words.
Now, this is just a guideline. Certain genres – punk and rock, for example – can afford a lot more attack than others – such as jazz. But try recording yourself and listening back – are your plosives (p, b, k, g) and your sibilants (s, f, etc) exploding upon attack?
(c) 2010 Adrienne Osborn