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Improving Your Singing: Shaping Soft Palate Consonants

To shape and clearly sing soft palate consonants, keep the tip of your tongue against your bottom teeth, lift the back of the tongue to touch the soft palate, and shape your lips for the vowel sounds before and after the consonant. The K consonant is unvoiced, and G and NG are voiced.

While shaping the soft palate consonants in the following table, see to it that

  • The back of your tongue rises to meet the roof of your mouth at your soft palate, while the tip of your tongue continues touching your bottom front teeth.

  • Your lips stay free of tension and ready to make the vowel sound that follows the consonant.

If you have trouble with the sounds of K and NG because English isn’t your primary language, practice saying sing and sink to feel and hear the difference between the NG and the K. The NG is voiced and the K is unvoiced.

Practicing G, NG, K, and Q
G NG K Q
get sing keep quiet
gild hung cup quote
gore bang key quarrel
guppy clang caper queen

If you struggle to sing a soft palate consonant, try this. For the first few practice sessions, make the consonant sound with the middle of your tongue arching to touch the back edge of the hard palate. By moving the consonant out of the very back of your throat, the sound won’t get trapped in the back of your mouth.

As you become more comfortable with keeping the back space open while making soft palate consonants, you’ll be able to touch the back of the tongue in the right spot on the soft palate.

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