Singing Consonants: Tipping for R

The sound for the consonant R is the hardest to shape in speaking and singing. An R can be confusing because it sometimes stands alone as an individual sound and sometimes is closely linked with a vowel. It is a voiced consonant. When you sing words that contain a consonant R, you may notice that your

  • Tongue’s tip rises toward the roof of your mouth behind the alveolar ridge for this consonant.

  • Lips shape for the vowel sound that follows the R.

In other languages, R is rolled or flipped. Flipping an R means saying the R like a D, and rolling an R means touching the tip of your tongue on your alveolar ridge as you would with a D, and then blowing air over it to make your tongue vibrate like in a tongue trill. Flipped or rolled Rs aren’t appropriate for American English. Try the following sentences to practice R:

  • Row, row, row the boat.

  • Right the wrong.

  • Race red rover.

  • Run, rabbit, run.

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