French songs everybody knows
French songs everybody knows
French songs everybody knows

How to sing in French : A Comprehensive Guide

French songs everybody knows
How to sing in French with Clara Luciani

Follow these steps to learn how to sing in French :


  1. French Pronunciation
  2. Rhythm and Intonation
  3. Vocal Techniques
  4. Select French Songs for Your Voice
  5. Practice
  6. Challenge you


French, often referred to as the language of love, is known for its romantic and melodic tone. Delving into the world of French songs is both a delightful and enriching experience. So how to sing in French ? Before one can serenade beneath the Eiffel Tower, understanding the nuances of pronunciation, rhythm, and expression is pivotal. I will walk you through the steps and techniques to enhance your French singing prowess. 


Understanding the Basics of French Pronunciation

French pronunciation is markedly different from English, and mastering it is the cornerstone of singing beautifully in French.

  • Vowel Sounds: The French language boasts a variety of vowel sounds, many of which don’t exist in English. Key vowels to master include ‘é’ (as in café), ‘è’ (as in crème), and ‘ë’ (found in Noël).
  • Nasal Vowels: French is renowned for its nasal vowels. Words like ‘vin’ (wine) and ‘pain’ (bread) are pronounced nasally, a unique feature of the French accent.
  • Consonants: Some consonants, like the soft ‘j’ (as in jour) and the guttural ‘r’, are distinctly French. Practicing these sounds will significantly improve your singing clarity.


Mastering Rhythm and Intonation

The rhythm of French songs often follows the natural rhythm of the language. Emphasize the last syllable of a word, as this is the typical stress pattern in French. Additionally, be mindful of the musicality and intonation, ensuring that you’re capturing the song’s emotion.


Vocal Techniques for French Songs

Just as with any singing endeavor, employing proper vocal techniques is crucial.

  • Breathing: Proper breath support ensures clear pronunciation and sustained notes. Especially in French, where words can be syllable-heavy, efficient breath management is essential.
  • Diction: Clear enunciation is vital to convey the song’s message and emotion. Work on articulating every word, ensuring clarity and precision.
  • Resonance: Since French requires many nasal sounds, mastering resonance is paramount. This will add richness and depth to your singing.


Selecting the Right French Song for Your Voice

Start with simpler, slower-paced songs to grasp the pronunciation and rhythm. Once you’re more confident, you can venture into complex numbers. Read my selection of classic French songs.

  • For Beginners: “Je l’aime à mourir” is a classic choice, providing a solid foundation in pronunciation and rhythm.
  • For Intermediate Singers: “La Vie en Rose” by Edith Piaf offers a moderate challenge, combining melodic beauty with more intricate pronunciation.
  • For Advanced Singers: Dive into the world of French opera with pieces like “Habanera” from Carmen. These pieces will challenge and hone both your linguistic and vocal skills.


Practicing with Native French Songs

Listening to native French singers is invaluable. Artists like Charles Aznavour,  Jacques Brel and Barbara offer a treasure trove of songs to immerse yourself in the language’s beauty. The more you listen, the better you’ll become at mimicking the nuances of French singing. If you wish modern French music, discover my recent playlist : French female singers.


Overcoming Common Challenges

It’s natural to encounter challenges when learning to sing in a new language. For French, the most common hurdles include:

  • Silent Letters: Unlike English, French often has silent letters, especially at the end of words ‘espace‘. Familiarizing yourself with these will prevent mispronunciations.
  • Liaisons: In French, some words flow into the next, creating a continuous sound. Recognizing and practicing these liaisons will enhance your singing fluidity.


Now You Know How to Sing in French : The Joy of French Singing

Singing in French is a rewarding endeavor, opening doors to a vast repertoire of beautiful music. While it may seem daunting initially, with dedication and practice, anyone can master the art of French singing. Dive into this melodious journey and experience the joy of expressing yourself in one of the world’s most romantic languages.

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