I am learning to sing riff and runs and I don't know but my research in google and youtube says that riff and run singing has to be light singing, looking riff and runs as up and down instead of forward and back, so I'm confused if it has to be light singing, then do people use something like a falsetto for the riff and runs? Can I use headvoice for the light singing? I don't know but some people say headvoice is "lighter" chest. Since I feel like I like to sing in headvoice more than falsetto, so I thought like maybe I can switch from chest to headvoice as I started singing the vocal runs and riffs? Am I correct?

1 Answer 1


Nope, not correct! Riffs and runs are purely about accurate pitches very fast. Any sense of "lightness", falsetto vs chest, front vs back, etc, are fundamentally not about that agility.

Different singers may have different skill levels at singing riffs and runs at different parts of their voice (for me, my pitch accuracy is highest in head voice so that helps my runs). So there may be some degree of ease or comfort that comes from lightness or whatever.

But a singer who is really good at riffs and runs will be able to do them in all parts of their voice!

  • If it's not front vs back, then how do singers separate the riff and runs notes, is it staccato?
    – Whatssuppp
    Commented Mar 11 at 7:42
  • Unfortunately in singing, words aren't super precise, because it's largely about feeling in the body, and that can't always be communicated well. "front vs back" in my vocabulary is referring to the sensation of resonance being more prominent in the front or the back, which is related to tongue root position (low tongue is back, high tongue (i.e. nasal) is font). It might be you're referring to something else by front v back. Either, nope not stoccato! Stoccato can be used, but it typically has a sound that's not as good. The separation is just accurate pitch control at high speed.
    – Alan
    Commented Mar 11 at 15:39

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