Jeannie gives a preview of the things that she has ready in her upcoming lessons on embellishments. She defines embellishments as extra notes that are designed to enhance the emotion and connection of a song, not just to show off.
- We are now about to embark on the journey of Embellishments. It's gonna be a lot of fun. I have some terrific exercises for you and it gets more and more style-specific and we'll explore different types of embellishments and styles that use them. In, ah, in listening to different singers, you certainly recognize when there are these extra notes, ah, that go in between the main melody notes.
Embellishment means to decorate or enhance and some singers, like, for example, Mariah Carey, ah, Christina Aguilera, are two that stand forward as the brightest peacocks of the bunch. Um, Luther Vandross had some very tasteful embellishments. They're the extra notes that are supposed to be for the purpose of enhancing the communication and the emotion of the song.
Unfortunately, it's also fairly common to hear a singer use embellishments because they're showing off or they want to, you know, show you, oh, I can do this and I can do this, and it isn't used to enhance the emotion. It's used to show off. Well, anybody who's basically saying, look at me, look at me when they sing is, uh, not inviting the audience to experience anything on an emotional level other than, you know, the singer try, attempting to get admiration, and we'll take a look more in detail about the role of a singer, the role of an audience, and how these two roles interplay so that you, as a singer, can really move your audience, touch them, and experience the world of your song.
For embellishments, basically, they tend to be three notes, sometimes a little more, but it tends to be a series of three to four notes, which if it's any longer than that, connects to another three to four notes perhaps connects to another three or four notes. ♫ Hey Hey Hey Hey Hey Hey Hey ♫ Ba, da, da, da, da, da, da, that's seven, so ♫ Hey Hey Hey ♫ is really the first embellishment.
Then it connects to the next one and then it has a little tail for an ending. There's lots of embellishment possibilities. As we move forward in the embellishment exercises, we'll explore quite a few of them, as I mentioned. There are a few key, important aspects. Key, important; that means very important as far as embellishments go. When you want to ensure that you sound authentic and are able to use them to the best of your ability to enhance the song.
The first is the accuracy of notes. If you end up smearing a, a few of the notes in an embellishment, it sounds amateur, so learning or figuring out exactly the notes that you're going to sing, wherever you want to put an embellishment, is very important. I've heard many, many singers not so savvy with embellishments and they're singing somebody else's song where there are embellishments, and every time they sing the embellishment, it doesn't, something's off.
And the main thing that's off is they really don't know the notes that they're singing, or should be singing, and, so, it sounds that way. It sounds sloppy, it sounds unprofessional. If you were preparing for any of the big auditions, it often is expected that you will include embellishments in your songs. This would then be an aspect of preparation very important for you to get a hundred percent under your control.
Other than that, embellishments are fun. So, whether you're preparing for a big audition, or just doing these exercises for your own enjoyment, to be able to sing songs that use them and sound convincing, authentic, and good, I'm sure that you will find many that will be fun to do as we move forward in these exercises. Vowel accuracy, as you sing an embellishment has a lot to do with the accuracy of the notes.
There will be a number of things that we'll explore regarding vowel sounds. We've already taken a look at some aspects of that in earlier lessons. And as far as embellishments go, the way you pronounce the vowel and the consistency of the vowel sound as you're going through the notes is a, well, I can't stress it enough, it's just a really important thing. So we're going to take a look with a magnifying glass at how that's true and how to apply these basic principles as we move forward in the exercises.
Note: Vocal Lessons with Jeannie Deva was recorded and produced by ArtistWorks. We are honored to host this training in our library.
- Adding four extra sounds (trills, oohs, ohhs, and ahhs)
- Singing a single steady vowel sound over a chord
- Moving up and down in pitch
- Practicing embellishments in different styles, including pop, rock, country, R&B, and funk