I'm a vocalist who's done different kinds of ensembles over the years, and I often have this instinct to scoop to (rearticulate? emphasize?) a repeated note if the other voices change to make a different chord. Here's a basic example: Two chords where 2 voices move from a C chord to a G chord, and the voice that stays on G is highlighted

Is there a word for this? Maybe it's a bad habit that doesn't have a name because it's a bad practice? My voice teacher suggested that he'd notate this with a tenuto, but Wikipedia's description for tenuto doesn't seem relevant to what I'm doing?

  • I see that on some other questions there's some music typesetting magic. I couldn't immediately find a guide for that notation so I included a screenshot instead (sorry!) If someone wants to swap this screenshot out for some fancy-schmancy music code, be my guest! or point me toward a tool/guide I can use to generate my own
    – Jacob
    Apr 14, 2022 at 7:23
  • 1
    The "typesetting magic" is probably jTab or ABCjs, as documented here. It's kind of more trouble than it's worth, and very buggy. Screenshots are maybe better IMO. Apr 15, 2022 at 21:17
  • If you are doing it on purpose, know what it sounds like to others and want that effect, then it is not a bad practice for you. But it is not clear to me exactly what it is you are doing: are you sliding from a C to a G?
    – PJTraill
    Apr 16, 2022 at 14:34
  • @PJTraill Nope, I'm using a scoop to rearticuate the same note (G->G in the example) -- I hope that made sense, I'm not really sure how else to describe it short of uploading an audio file or something 😅
    – Jacob
    Apr 17, 2022 at 2:39

2 Answers 2


Simple question, simple answer.

It is called a scoop. Adele, John Legend use the technique. I used to wonder if it was because they couldn't hit the note directly. Still do...

  • I think I disagree here. Scooping refers to starting a note off pitch and then adjusting up/down to land on the correct pitch. Whereas this question refers to when you're already singing the correct note, and wish to re-articulate it. There are several ways to re-articulate without scooping (adding a glottal attack for example). I think @jacob was just using scooping as one example of how to do this.
    – Alan
    Apr 14, 2022 at 12:18
  • 4
    @Alan - But we do restart the note off-pitch and then adjust up to land on the correct pitch in the question's example...
    – Dekkadeci
    Apr 14, 2022 at 12:31
  • in fact, Musescore has an articulation for this, and they call it a scoop, so if you wanted any reference for people understanding the terminology you could certainly go find some. +1
    – user45266
    Apr 19, 2022 at 1:14

The technical term for what people are calling "scooping" is glissando. You are sliding up or down from one note to another in a continuous (legato) manner. Most vocal terms are Italian since we Italians created the disciplined art of teaching voice called Bel Canto, (meaning beautiful voice), with masters of the art like Manuel Garcia.

  • 2
    I think that glissando is a wider term and scooping refers to this very specific case.
    – ojs
    Apr 21, 2022 at 6:24

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