pop singing technique

Classical Singing vs Pop Singing: Why Technique matters in both genres

Classical or Operatic singing is stereo-typically pompous.

It just doesn’t feel as cool, or as free as pop singing.

Pop singing sometimes is associated with simplicity and lack of depth by opera or classical voice aficionados. But it feels cooler and more natural to many.


pop singing technique

Whether you are looking to sing like a pop pro or like an operatic beast, neither style has to be constrained by those stereotypes.


Pop Singing Technique

Let’s explore the Pop singing technique first.

Pop is synonymous with raw, unfettered emotion. Pop’s cousin, Rock, is the same but more rough around the edges. Pop is typically more clean than Rock. and way more heavily ‘produced’. That means all the roughness in the voice and instrumentals are removed. Pitch corrections, time/tempo corrections and a huge amount of compression (meaning the voice can sound extremely undynamic, almost robotic) all combine to give it that ‘poppy’ feel.

One of the challenges of a singer trying to sing pop is to actually produce sound that is their true voice, as opposed to the super-compressed result we hear on the radio. You can’t make that sound and be at your best. Whether you sing live or in a studio, you need to rely on the sound engineers/sound technician to give you that poppy sound, not a bad technique that artificially makes you sound that way.

So, if you do attempt that sound, vocal issues will be your payback. Vocal fatigue and a small vocal instrument will become your trademark as you attempt to recreate the vocal compression you hear on the radio.


How do Pop and Classical vowels sound different?

Let’s listen to an example.

In this recording, I show a classical ‘oh’ vowel. Rich and round, yes; pop,  definitely no.

In contrast to the Pop version :

It’s a slightly less forward vowel. (we’ll explain this in more detail later) In layman’s terms,  you could say the vowel is less focused, more spread.

The question is how did I make that sound?

Let’s first answer by explaining what I didn’t do.


I didn’t shout.

I didn’t give up my support.

I didn’t change my breathing.

I didn’t relax my mental focus.


What did I do?


I sang a vowel (which was different to a classical oh vowel).

I kept my support.

I breathed correctly.

I kept my mental focus.


That’s the ‘Oh’ vowel, what about the rest?

This is just a brief look at one vowel sung in the pop idiom,  using a healthy technique.

In a future post, I’ll focus on another vowel and show you a very cool hack for a pop sound..

Stay tuned, literally.


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