First of all, what is Legato? In music, legato is a smooth transition from one note to the next one, the notes are connected. Unlike Staccato which are detached and separated notes.
No matter if you’re singing rock, opera, pop, soul, musical theater, blues, country or R’n’B, singing in legato will not only give you a smooth, flowing sound, without breaks between notes, but most importantly Freedom, stabilized by the Airflow!
How to Sing in Legato?
Singing smoothly, with a continuous flow of air can be tricky when we move from consonants to vowels and vice versa, change dynamics, move pitches etc.
When you sing, you want to think of one continuous airflow per phrase. It is so important to have a continuous flow of air that is not interrupted by unnecessary air pressure changes.
What’s the difference between air pressure and airflow? The air pressure is the pressure created below the vocal folds when they are in the closed phase of the vibration. The airflow is the air above the vocal folds that comes out with the sound waves during the open phase of the vocal fold vibration. The ideal ratio is 50/50 pressure and airflow in normal, healthy singing. When the vocal folds close too long in the vibration, it causes unnecessary tension in the voice.
If you maintain an even air pressure and volume, this will eliminate tension and strain in your voice. So when you sing, whether that’s during your exercises or a song, try not to increase the pressure and volume for higher notes. Or decrease the pressure and volume for lower notes. Maintain an even level of vocal fold tension.
Legato for Rhythmical Songs
You might think that Legato can only be used for ballads or arias. But that’s very far from the truth. An even airflow with smooth transitions from vowels to consonants without changing the volume in an uncontrolled way, is beneficial for any type of song.
‘You as the singer are NOT the Drummer!’
When you sing rhythmical songs, avoid accenting the rhythm with the breath!
Legato is Movement
To “Support” does NOT mean holding your breath. Quite the opposite, it’s MOVEMENT! The movement of the airflow stabilizes the voice and allows you to do whatever you want with you voice.
In this video Luciano Pavarotti talks about Legato (min 5:55), check it out:
Enjoy amazing freedom, power, range, and flexibility when you master legato phrasing, using consistent airflow and vibration as the only supporting elements!
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