What are Glottal Onsets?


Have you ever noticed that some people can just sing so loudly and with such confidence without seeming to use much effort? It just looks so natural for them and it also seems like magic to you!

One of the basic techniques to achieve that confident sound is to first acquire good or complete vocal fold contact! A glottal onset is extremely useful for those of us who are seeking to achieve this good or complete vocal fold contact.

Read the article below to know how to get a good vocal fold contact!

How Do I Sing From My Diaphragm? Why Do I Run Out Of Breath?

So, what is a Glottal Onset?

A Glottal Onset in its simplest form just means having the vocal folds come into contact first, before you begin tone production. The resultant sound is usually strong and loud, confident-sounding, and not breathy.

How would you know if you have gotten that glottal onset correctly?

Here’s an analogy to help you along:

Picture this, you had a long day at work and you just wish to treat yourself a good dinner.

So, you decided to head down to Changi Village, because you crave the piping hot chicken wings with the fragrant combination of mouth-watering ingredients at the famous Changi Village International Nasi Lemak.

You decide to queue, and end up queuing for a good 40 minutes and suddenly some person just cuts the queue in front of you without warning!

At this time, you most certainly will be able to put a glottal onset to good use by saying a firm, confident and loud “Oi” sound, and making yourself heard by that rude person all around like 7.1 surround sound!

The trick to getting a good glottal onset is in not using too much breath. After years of experience of teaching vocal students, we found that it is very common that whenever beginner vocal students try to make this loud and confident sound, they usually take in a huge amount of breath before making the sound, and that causes them to sound constricted and tight in the throat instead.

As such, we always encourage our students NOT to take in too much breath before they sing as that will only add on more pressure onto their vocal folds, and create too much constriction in their throat.

The long-term repercussions of doing this include developing sore throat, or even vocal polyps and nodules! If you ever feel constricted or tight in your throat while singing, lighten up, and treat it as a fun activity.

Don’t over-think it, and just enjoy the process!

Singing is always about enjoyment and having fun!

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