How To Sing Difficult-Sounding Trills Like Your Favorite Pop And R&B Stars!

Published: 12th January 2010
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Do you ever wish you could sing complex, difficult-sounding trills like your favorite pop and R&B stars, but find that you can't because your voice doesn't reach as far as you'd like it to? Or maybe the notes slide together, preventing you from getting that crisp, every-note-defined sound? Or you just simply can't make your voice do it at all?



Many singers have this gift naturally, but if you're not one of them don't worry! You can learn how! This article will show you exactly how you can train your voice to be able to sing these beautiful trills and sound just like your favorite stars in almost no time!



First of all, what exactly is a trill?



A trill is a stylistic technique that a singer sings as part of a word or phrase in a song. Technically speaking, it's a series of notes sung together in rapid succession. Trills can be small, only a few notes at the end of a phrase or word or they can be big, expanding several notes, very quickly over many beats. (Think Christina Aguilera, or Usher)



Trills are usually complimentary to the key that the song is in, but they don't necessarily follow the key signature exactly. For example, if a song is in the key of C major, that key signature has no sharps or flats. So a trill sung in that song will contain notes that sound complimentary to that key signature, but it may still contain sharps or flats for the sake of dynamics. There really isn't an exact formula for singing trills, but they are complimentary to the key signature. (That means they have to "work" with the song without making it sound off or too different)



Listen to any Beyonce, Christina Aguilera or an R&B song for examples. Listen for the quick succession of notes the singers' sing... these are trills.



There are a few components to being able to sing good, defined trills in a song. The first is delineation. In musical terms, delineation is the ability to make each note sound crisp and defined, without slurring into the next, at the same time not disconnecting it from the next note. Your voice should not stop while it's jumping from note to note, and if you are delineating properly, each note will sound crisp, defined and obviously different from the next.



If you can't delineate very well now, you might notice that your voice has a hard time switching to different notes very quickly, or it sounds as if it's slurring the notes together. If you are experiencing those problems, you can practice certain scales to train your voice to be able to delineate better.



Here are two examples. The first is a triplet scale, and the second is a note bend with a "fall off" note. Click the link below to go to a special page where you can listen to the scale, and practice along to the notes you hear the piano playing. Practice these a few times a week and after a short while you'll notice that they get easier to sing and the notes will have that crisp, defined sound. This is the basic technique you need to be able to put together those trills.



Free Scales!



The second component to good trills is imitation! Style is based on imitation. When you hear a certain trill or note bend, and you want to be able to sing it, imitate it until you can do it on your own. Listen to it closely and figure out exactly what the singer does with their voice to make that particular sound. Then master it, and add your own personal touch to it to make it yours.



Trills are learned by imitating other trills and techniques and by trial and error. Try singing it one way and if it doesn't work, keep trying different ways until you find something that does. Also, for longer trills, if you can't seem to get it right, try breaking it down into smaller sections first. Master each section separately, then put them all together.



The last component and a VERY important one to singing a great trill is plain old, raw attitude. You have to really be feeling the song for it to come out right and have that special "oomph" to make it fabulous. This is something that really has to come from within you; it's not something that's taught. You have to really feel it.



So to sum it all up, practice scales to improve your delineation, learn the trills you want to learn by imitating ones you already know and building on them to make them your own, and try to feel the music as MUCH as you can. If you do all of this, you'll be singing along with your favorite stars, nailing all the notes before you know it!



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