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Vocal Slides in Are We?

Are we?Malin Lewis
00:00 / 04:29

Vocal slides involve connecting lots of notes in up and down patterns across the vocal register, and are often used as warm ups. Malin uses them in Are we? in a variety of ways, in various registers. We’ll be looking at the smooth, descending lines in the middle-low register, that add to the harmony and bass-line of the track.


Creating vocal slides


  1. Pick a comfortable-middle pitch, and sing it confidently on an ‘ahh’ or ‘ooh’ sound.

  2. Gradually moving downwards, sing like you are moving over stepping stones - carefully choosing which pitch comes next, pausing, then gently landing on the next pitch.

  3. Repeat this until you have reached a comfortable-low pitch in your low register.

  4. Find your original pitch, or somewhere else comfortable-middle. Repeat the stepping stone exercise, but this time, connect all of the pitches. It may help to think of a long string that runs above the stepping stones, that you carefully extend your hand across whilst crossing smoothly.

  5. Repeat this until you have reached a comfortable-low pitch in your low register, or extend this further if you would like. 

Vocal slide exploration


  1. Sing the word ‘over’, with syllable ‘o-‘ on a comfortable low-mid pitch, and ‘-ver’ on a higher pitch, three or four steps away.

  2. Sing this again, but use the ‘v’ as a slide upwards into the higher pitch; the ‘v’ sound should cover all of the steps in between the notes. You might feel some buzzing on your lips!

  3. Repeat these slides, changing the direction or pitches as you feel comfortable. You can try different words, or sliding up and down on vowels. Some good words to try might be ‘diverse’, ‘streaming’, ‘unfurl’ and ‘free’.


Vocal slides in Are we?


Malin uses vocal slides in many registers of their voice, to create different effects and textures in Are we?. Around halfway through, just after the violin comes in, the vocal slides in Malin’s lower register create a beautiful duet with the violin as they move in complimentary ways.


Singing along


  1. When you hear the violin start to move (around 2 minutes in), sing along with Malin as they slide downwards through their register. Your slides don’t have to be the same pitches as Malin’s slides; any notes that you feel would fit well with the track can be explored.

  2. Explore just how connected you can make these slides; Malin has a fantastic way of running notes into each other, and singing through all of the space in between steps. Remember to take big breaths before phrases!

  3. Listen to when the track starts thinning out, and some vocal slides are clearer as solo lines. Malin uses these slides expressively, lingering on some pitches more than others. Can you hear when they move between registers, and the quality of their voice changes a little? Can you slide between the registers in your voice? 

Vocal slides in 'Are we?'Malin Lewis
00:00 / 00:46
A black and white ink drawing of a stream with rough stepping stones. Handwritten text reads 'This way'...
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