|See the link for the
TongueAsCulprit.doc for full text/description of this presentation
|What in the world
was God thinking when she designed the tongue? Why dedicate the delicate
motor activity of articulation and vowel formation to a muscle primarily
suited for the gross motor activity of pushing food down? Singers and other
voice users have been suffering ever since.
|The primary function
of the tongue is to assist in transporting food to our stomach, to keep us
alive. Asking the tongue to perform the fine motor activity of articulation
is akin to using a forklift when you need a pair of tweezers. Nonetheless, we
have no alternative, so we had better learn to tame this muscle.
|The tongue is a
major player in the articulation of consonants, but it is equally crucial for
vowel formation, particularly in singing, where vowels are sustained much
longer than in speech. A stiff or retracted tongue adversely affects all
aspects of tone formation. Tension causes the tongue to move jerkily from
vowel to vowel, impeding the formation of a vowel legato, that is, the
smooth, efficient progression from one vowel to the next. Tongue tension also
impedes the ability to create pitch legato, that is, the seamless transition
from one pitch to another. This, in turn, adversely affects intonation and
the creation of a fully resonant sound. This tension also causes consonants
to separate—rather than connect—the vowels. Unfortunately, such is the nature
and location of the tongue that often neither student nor teacher is aware of
this inhibiting tension.
discusses my approach to eliminating tongue tension in singing. It describes the optimal use of the tongue
in the formation of consonants and vowels, and presents exercises I use to
help students eliminate tongue tension.