5 Thoughts About IPA

The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) can be an extremely helpful tool for singers. It can also be very confusing! If you plan to use IPA in your piece, consider these thoughts... 1. IPA doesn't always sound the way it looks: Especially the vowels! If you want an "e" sound like the word "bee," the symbol is [i]. Weird, right? Sometimes we get scores that ask for [o] as in "Bob," and we get confused. Then you get annoying emails from us:) 2. Make sure your guide is consistent: If you include an IPA guide in the notes of your score, make sure the rest of the piece stays consistent with these notes. 3. PLEASE INCLUDE NOTES! It is so crucial that composers be very clear about their expectations. If you have really, really,really clear notes before your score, you'll get fewer annoying emails from us :) :) 4. About those tongue-chart things: If you want an [a±] vowel, and it's truly the ONLY vowel sound that will do the job, consider including a recording for the appropriate sound. Those tongue chart things are helpful, but we won't get the exact sound until we hear it. 5. CONSULT A SINGER: The best advice. I think I finish every blog this way... Oh! And check out these neat-o IPA sources! IPA Keyboard! WIKI IPA! IPA Source!

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