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(Techniques CD track 12-13, 20-21 / DVD chap 5-6)

Vowel Sounds
Vowel sounds are the sustained, free-flowing vocal tones. They are formed by shaping the mouth space, using the articulators: tongue,

lips, jaw, teeth, hard palate and soft palate. The hard palate is the roof of the mouth behind the top front teeth. The soft palate is the soft area behind the hard palate at the back

of the roof of the mouth. The tip of the tongue should rest behind the lower teeth on all the vowel sounds, moving only to articulate consonants and quickly returning to its resting place. If the tongue pulls back, it blocks the throat passage, interfering with resonance and possibly with focus as well. In the following progression, the tongue lowers from its highest position for "ee" (as in see) to its lowest position for "uh" (as in up). For "aw" (as in dawn) "uu" (as in book) and "oo" (as in soon), the lips form the vowel sounds for each and are most rounded for "oo". The tip of the tongue rests behind the lower teeth for all the vowels.

* I.P.A.: International Phonetic Alphabet

** "a" as in the bright Boston vowel (`paaahk the caaah')

The mouth, widened toward a smile, helps to activate the 'mask resonance' (see page 17, 47, 50) producing overtones that give the voice richness throughout its range. Let your eye teeth show slightly but be careful not to wrinkle your nose or tense your lips unnaturally. When singing on a low pitch, you can brighten your vowel sound by widening your mouth position horizontally, as in a smile. This helps to emphasize the upper resonances and keep the mask placement. If the expression of a word indicates sorrow, the eyes communicate the emotion and the

mouth can still widen, especially on higher and/or louder tones. Notice that in both crying and smiling, the expression of the mouth is similar. For the vowels: "ee" (as in see), "ih" (as in it) and "oo" (as in soon), there is a tendency to close the jaw and throat space. The tongue forms the "ee" sound. The sides of the middle tongue lightly touch the upper molars; the tip rests behind the lower teeth. High and loud tones need more resonating space to sound free and easy. Because of the more open space, the vowels become slightly modified. When the "ee" vowel occurs on a high note, it is best to relax the tongue slightly as in "ih" and open the jaw a little more in order to produce a free and open vowel. At the same time you should try to keep the "ee" as true as possible. This method applies to louder tones throughout the range, especially if the chest resonance is emphasized (see page 47). The lips form the "oo" sound by moving forward and rounding while the tongue remains relaxed low in the mouth. For both high pitches and louder tones, relax the jaw more open than when you say "oo" in the speaking range. But even when the jaw is more open, try to keep a true "oo" vowel by rounding the lips. At first this may feel a little awkward, but with practice it will feel more

natural and the result will be a more open, natural and rich vocal quality.
In phonetics, a vowel is a sound in spoken language that is characterized by an open configuration of the vocal tract so that there is no build-up of air pressure above the glottis.

Front vowels | Central vowels | Back vowels English has twelve vowel sounds. In the table above they are divided into seven short and five long vowels. An alternative way of organizing them is according to where (in the mouth) they are produced. This method allows us to describe them as front, central and back. We can qualify them further by how high the tongue and lower jaw are when we make these vowel sounds, and by whether our lips are rounded or spread, and finally by whether they are short or long. This scheme shows the following arrangement:
Front vowels

/i:/ - cream, seen (long high front spread vowel) // - bit, silly (short high front spread vowel) // - bet, head (short mid front spread vowel); this may also be shown by the symbol /e/ // - cat, dad (short low front spread vowel); this may also be shown by /a/

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Central vowels

/:/- burn, firm (long mid central spread vowel); this may also be shown by the symbol /:/. // - about, clever (short mid central spread vowel); this is sometimes known as schwa, or the neutral vowel sound - it never occurs in a stressed position. // - cut, nut (short low front spread vowel); this vowel is quite uncommon among speakers in the Midlands and further north in Britain.

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Back vowels

/u:/ - boob, glue (long high back rounded vowel)

// - put, soot (short high back rounded vowel); also shown by /u/ /:/ - corn, faun (long mid back rounded vowel) also shown by /o:/ //- dog, rotten (short low back rounded vowel) also shown by /o/ /:/ - hard, far (long low back spread vowel)

We can also arrange the vowels in a table or even depict them against a cross-section of the human mouth. Here is an example of a simple table:
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Front High Mid Low



i: :

u: : :

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Diphthongs are sounds that begin as one vowel and end as another, while gliding between them. For this reason they are sometimes described as glide vowels. How many are there? Almost every modern authority says eight - but they do not all list the same eight (check this for yourself). Simeon Potter, in Our Language (Potter, S, [1950] Chapter VI, Sounds and Spelling, London, Penguin) says there are nine - and lists those I have shown in the table above, all of which I have found in the modern reference works. The one most usually omitted is // as in bored. Many speakers do not use this diphthong, but use the same vowel in poured as in fraud but it is alive and well in the north of Britain. Potter notes that all English diphthongs are falling - that is the first element is stressed more than the second. Other languages have rising diphthongs, where the second element is stressed, as in Italian uomo (man) and uovo (egg).
element previous to tail is known as predecessor. A path in a tree a list of distinct vertices in which successive vertices are connected by edges in the tree. There is exactly one path between the root and the other nodes in tree.

A vertex is a simple object (node) that

The predecessor of a node N is the node that immediately precedes N in an in-order traversal of the tree (or null if no such node exists).