Singing Tips

Role Of The Soft Palate In Singing

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Understanding how to move the soft palate in singing and how to manage that movement with your tongue is beneficial. You want the soft palate in singing to lift for a significant tone. When the soft palate does not lift, you create a sound that has excessive tone in your nose.

Read on as we take a look at what is soft palate in singing, how to raise soft palate, how to control soft palate and why is soft palate important in singing?

What Is The Soft Palate In Singing?

Let’s start with a definition of what is the soft palate in singing?

The soft palate is the muscular part at the back of the roof of the mouth. It is behind the hard palate, which is the bony part of the roof of the mouth.  It plays a crucial part in stopping food and other substances entering the nasal passages whilst swallowing and is significant in the forming of certain sounds, making the role of soft palate in singing important.

Why Is The Soft Palate Important In Singing?

The soft palate in singing is important to lift whilst singing so the sound doesn’t become nasal. The soft palate signifies an obstacle to the resonance vocal, rather than going directly to the oral cavity it will also end up in the nasal cavity. This creates a piercing/sharp tone, loss of clearness, and bad projection of sound.

A lifted palate in singing lets the voice properly resonate via the oral cavity, getting projection and power from the acoustics, as well as improvement of harmonics and an enrichment of the quality of tone.

singer lifting the soft palate

How Does Lifting The Soft Palate Make Your Voice Sound Different?

To know how to lift soft palate to make a difference to the tone of your voice, you need to understand the role soft palate in singing plays.

Swallow causes the larynx to rise, the epiglottis lengthens to form a kind of bridge around the larynx, it covers the airways to protect them and it lets the food pass directly along the oesophagus towards the stomach.

 The soft palate in singing sound is more resounding due to the distance from sound source to surface being further. When it lifts, the pharynx space is enlarged, which lets additional volume be created with less effort. To generate a sound that has a resonant tone, you can lift the soft palate in singing. This is an important phase, when having singing lessons you will have heard phrases such as life the soft palate in singing, imagine an egg in the mouth or smile inside.

How To Lift The Soft Palate

To prepare the soft palate in singing you need to be able to move your tongue to touch your soft palate and then lower it to rest in your mouth. Here is how you can feel your tongue rising to meet your soft palate in singing:

Move the soft palate in singing up and down

Look in the mirror and shine a torch to the back of your throat. Look for your soft palate and attempt to move it. If you are not certain how to move it, say ‘hung-ah’ then look at the soft palate and tongue meet, then move apart. Say ‘hung-ah’ a few more times until you feel the muscles which move the soft palate. For how to raise the soft palate try to move the soft palate up and then release. If you still can’t move your soft palate in singing, try yawning.

The tongue typically releases down at the beginning of a yawn. Try not to let the tongue push down like it does at the end of a yawn, the tongue has to release down as the soft palate goes up.

Lift your soft palate in singing for four counts

Look at the following step to figure out how to lift your soft palate in singing. When you can perform that motion, lift the soft palate in singing and attempt to keep it for four counts. Let go then hold it up for four counts again. What you want to do is to hold up the soft palate in singing. Maintaining the soft palate in singing up means the resonance is just right, as dropping the soft palate in singing too low creates a nasal sound.

Move your Tongue

Say “hung-ah” again and watch the back of your tongue move up. Attempt to move the back of the tongue up and down, like when you repeat a K sound. Repeat moving the back of the tongue up and down till you are sure that you know how to move it up and then release it.

Separate the tongue and the soft palate

Lift the soft palate in singing and release the tongue. Don’t push the tongue down, then release to create space in the mouth or a gap between the soft palate and the tongue. This helps the role of soft palate in singing as the opening is what you want to feel when you inhale and when you sing.

singer singing on stage

 How To Control The Soft Palate

Singers will spend time trying to lift their soft palate in singing. Occasionally their efforts to do this may cause additional bad habits due to the tongue, breath or jaw being caught up with their effort to lift the palate.

The soft palate is basically, the flap of skin aimed to lift to block off your nasal passage. For the purposes of singing, imagine singing into a small metal cup. The sound will disperse and diminish as it continues to bounce off the hard surfaces. Then think about singing into a huge spherical metal urn. The sound created is a lot more resonant because the space between the sound source and surface is larger. The same thing occurs with the soft palate in singing. When it lifts, the pharynx space is bigger, which lets more volume to be formed with not as much effort. You can tend to tell if someone’s soft palate in singing isn’t lifted as you can listen to the tone which will sound very nasal. It is encouraged for you to practise and as you go about your daily life be mindful of the moments when you yawn or start to yawn. This is the sensation of how to lift soft palate.

Don’t fully mimic a yawn while singing. Notice that when you yawn, your jaw opens very wide and your tongue goes back into the throat. If you sing whilst mimicking a yawn, you may see an excessively dim tone.

How To Keep The Soft Palate In Singing Lifted?

It is necessary to know that merely because you are lifting your palate during a breath, it won’t mean your soft palate in singing is staying up. There are some techniques and vocal exercises which can show how to control soft palate.

The Internal Smile

The internal smile is very simple to attain while soft palate singing – basically brighten your eyes, elevate your cheeks beneath your eyes, let your jaw drop a touch at the back of the mouth and then increase the soft palate. You can raise the soft palate either with the beginning of a gentle yawn, or try to inhale from an unexpressed ‘K’ sound.

The Hot Potato:

Increase the sensation of the role of palate in singing through breath in the ‘Hot Potato’ exercise.

  • Picture you have a spoon filled of very warm potato right in front of your mouth.
  • Blow on it with your lips in an ‘ooh’ shape like you are saying ‘Or’
  • This is the best exercise to do right before training your soft palate in singing. With your tongue nearly in the ‘ng’ position, blow out 3 times, breathe in using the same amount of space and then sing ‘oooooooohhhh’.
  • You can do numerous vocal techniques; however, beginner singers should remain with 1,2,3,2,1 on an ‘ooh’ vowel or an ‘ihh’ vowel. Prior to singing through a more complex piece such as passagio, firstly prepare a series of sirens on an ‘oooh’ vowel from bottom to top so your voice is used to lifting the soft palate in singing through your range with effortlessness.


Final Thoughts

By now you should have a better idea of how to raise soft palate and what is soft palate in singing. If you don’t think that raising the soft palate in singing will change everything for you as a singer, we encourage you to go back and practise some more. When soft palate in singing is done correctly you can produce an incredible tone and improve your ability as a singer. You will go from a hoarse voice which cracks and breaks regularly to an effortless, extensive range. So, what are you waiting for? Take the time to find out how to raise soft palate to advance your vocals.

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