Everyone is singing with diphthongs. It may be an unusual word. But without them, we wouldnât be able to communicate. So what are Diphthongs? How do we singers ensure weâre using them correctly? Dr Dan has the answers to these questions, as well as a couple of practical diphthong singing exercises in this short video.
First question to answer: what is a diphthong? Well, what better place to obtain a definition about the English language than the Concise Oxford English Dictionary. âDiphthong: a sound formed by the combination of two vowels in a single syllable, in which the sound begins as one vowel and moves towards another.â
Itâs a bit like colours. We have the primary colours of red, blue and yellow. Separately theyâre only three colours, but as every pre-schooler knows, if you add blue and yellow together you get a fourth colour: green. With colour the mixing options are virtually limitless, but fortunately the construction of language is rather more finite.
eye [aÉªÌ¯] â as in the words âriseâ and âlife
ay [eÉªÌ¯] â heard in words like âdayâ and âgameâ
oi [ÉÉªÌ¯] â can be heard in âcoinâ and âoysterâ
out [aÊÌ¯] â as in the words âowlâ and âloudâ
o [ÉÊÌ¯] â as in the words âlowâ and ânoâ
ear [ÉªÉÌ¯] â is heard in the words âdearâ âfierceâ
air [ÉÉÌ¯] â is found in âlairâ and âcarefulâ
oo-r [ÊÉÌ¯] â can be heard in âpureâ and âmanureâ
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