Dynamics in Singing: How to Become a More Dynamic Singer

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What is dynamics in singing?

Singing dynamics is a phrase often misunderstood. In the context of vocals, it equates to how the quality at which you can switch from soft to loud singing. A dynamic singer is able to create a performance that will set them apart from the amateurs.

If you can master dynamics in your singing, it will help you project intensity, feeling, and an extra layer to your vocal performance.

Tips for improving dynamics in a singing performance

1. Practice messa di voce to improve your singing dynamics 

A common method that dynamic singers use to improve their vocals is the Messa di voce exercise. You can see an example of it in action in the video below.

Messa di voce is an Italian saying that translates as “placing of voice”.

In real-world terms, it related to how a performer can sing in a gradual crescendo and decrescendo on a long and sustained tone. It was a vocal technique originating in 18th century Italy.

In practice, a dynamic singer will start singing quietly, gradually increasing the volume whilst retaining a smooth vocal, then bringing the vocals back down again.

2. Increase or decrease volume

A singer can use performance dynamics to enhance their performance. Dynamics are a tool that all singers can use to prevent their performance being static. There are many ways to incorporate dynamics into your vocal performance, from simple things such as increasing volume to varied harmonies.

You can improve your performance by increasing and decreasing volume. This helps the emotion from the song come across during their performance. Many singers choose to increase the volume in their vocals when they hit the most emotional part of the song.

3. Articulate through characterisation

For example, if you’re singing a happy part of the song, try to reflect that in your vocals. Although it may not necessarily fit with the song, it will give an extra dynamic to your performance.

More singing dynamics advice

Change vowel shape: When writing your own songs it can often to be difficult to find ways to make your song stand out, changing vowel shape can help this. A good example is pronouncing ‘me’ as ‘may’, it adds something unique to the performance.

HOT TIP! : It’s important to remember that not all dynamics will be suitable for every singer’s style of vocal. It’s wise to know which ones suit your vocals and which ones don’t work for your vocal.

Add silence/rests: Of course you’re singing so you want to be singing for most of the performance time, but sometimes adding silence or rests to the performance makes the following vocals sound more impressive.

Phrasing: Extending a phrase rather than keeping it short and taking a breath, can often provide a new dynamic to the performance and can help to show off your vocals.

HOT TIP! : Do not try to use all of the above in one performance. It’s encouraged to use dynamics throughout your performance, but if you try to use all of them you risk the performance sounding messy.

One of the best examples of singing dynamics and a creative cover is Hannah Reid from the band London Grammar:

To summarise, it’s not just about singing as loud as possible, but more about exercising control over your vocals.