FAQs

What? Who? How?


What is SingersBabel?

SingersBabel helps you learn the pronunciation and meaning of texts in American English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Latin (Ecclesiastical and Gallic), Russian, and Church Slavonic. Listen to a native speaker recite the text in two speeds, poetic and slow, while viewing a literal translation and IPA transcription in MP4 video format on your computer or the soon-to-come SingersBabel mobile app (iOS only, at this time).

Who uses SingersBabel tools?

Hundreds of singers, conductors, teachers, coaches and many university libraries are already using SingersBabel. Choruses large and small enjoy the benefits of practicing and rehearsing with SingersBabel tools.           

Who are the content creators for SingersBabel?

The content creators are native speakers*/sung-diction specialists from around the world. They are professional singers and/or diction coaches. More information may be found here.

*with the exception of Latin, because, well, no one is alive who was a native speaker of Latin. :-)

How can I use these tools in lessons and rehearsals?

Singers can use these tools to improve their pronunciation at their own pace before lessons or rehearsals, so the teacher, or the ensemble and conductor, can make the most of their time. Ensembles that use these tools also experience more unified vowels, better tuning, a deeper connection to the text, and greater vocal freedom.

How do I learn more about SingersBabel, its products and diction?

Visit our website here or our new app here.

Technical Issues


What browsers work best with the SingersBabel website?

SingersBabel recommends using Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari as your browser. Microsoft Internet Explorer and AOL are not recommended, as the browsers have not been kept to current standards.

Because the SingersBabel website uses Adobe Flash for the BabelGuidesTM, it is important that your browser be as up-to-date as possible and with the latest versions of Adobe Flash Player or QuickTime.

You may download Google Chrome for free using this link: https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/95346?hl=en

Mozilla Firefox for free using this link: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/

Safari for free using this link: http://support.apple.com/downloads/#safari

Adobe Flash Player for free using this link: http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/otherversions/

QuickTime for free using this link: http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/

 

 

BabelSounds Mobile App Issues

If you have issues with the BabelSounds mobile app, please email the following information to info@singersbabel.com:

1. iOS or Android

2. Operating system version

3. Language

4. Issue (be specific)

How to I update my browser?

If you are using:

Google Chrome - launch the browser and click on the Customize & Control GC button on the upper right side. It looks like 3 horizontal lines. Go down the menu list to the 4th from the bottom About Google Chrome. Click that and a page will come up and Google will check to see what version you are using. If it is out of date, it will prompt you to update.

nb: Google Chrome already includes Adobe Flash Player. If you update Google Chrome, it automatically updates Adobe Flash Player.

If you are using:

Mozilla Firefox - launch the browser and hover your mouse pointer over the Help menu at the top and select About Firefox. If there are updates available for Firefox, they will be automatically downloaded and installed.

nb. Firefox does not automatically come with Adobe Flash Player or QuickTime. These must be installed as plugins. See instructions in FAQ Which browsers work best?

If you are using:

Safari - launch browser and hover your mouse pointer over the Apple icon at the top left and select Software Update. If there are updates available for Safari, they will be automatically downloaded and installed.

 If you are using: 

Internet Explorer or AOL, don't. Period. 

 

How do I access the BabelGuides I've purchased?

When you purchase a BabelGuideTM though our Online Store, you will see a message that says "Payment Successful" and two emails will be sent to you: one that tells you to click to download your purchase and one that is an Invoice or receipt for your purchase.

If you do not see these emails, please check your spam folder. To ensure delivery of emails from SingersBabel, please add store@singersbabel.com and info@singersbabel.com to your address book.

After clicking to download your purchase, a Zip file will download to you. Inside the Zip file will be several files:

nameofwork-p.mp4 is the poetic reading

nameofwork-s.mp4 is the slow, intoned reading

nameofwork-a.mp4 (not available for all works) is a reading which alternates, line by line, between the poetic and the slow

nameofwork.pdf is a printable PDF of the word-for-word Translation and IPA Guide

 

You should save these files wherever you usually save downloaded files.

The video screen looks too small. How do I enlarge it?

First, navigate to View in your video player menu bar. Make sure "Normal Size" is checked.

Also, you may click on the icon on the bottom right of your video player to enlarge the video to full screen. Touching the Esc key usually brings it back to a smaller size.

The Enlarge Screen Icon looks like this:

 or  

Why can't I hear anything when I play the videos?

Please make sure your speakers are turned on and the volume is loud enough to hear. This is particularly important for laptops, which often have small speakers that can be hard to hear.

Make sure that your speaker volume or headphone volume isn't muted. Click on a muted button to un-mute it. Look for the signal bars to see if they need to be increased.

  or  

 

 

I would like to change my email address. What do I do?

Login to SingersBabel. Click on "Profile" and in the second section, make changes to your email address. Click on Update at the bottom of the page before exiting.

I've forgotten my password. What do I do?

On the Login page, enter your User Name and click on "Forgot Password?" and follow the prompt to reenter your User Name. A new password will be sent to the email address associated with your User Name. Login again to SingersBabel, using the password just sent to you. Once logged in, you may change your password to whatever you wish by clicking on Profile and clicking on Change Password in the first section of the page. 

Sharing


May I print copies of a PDF for my chorus to use?

No, you may not, unless you have a subscription for your ensemble with SingersBabel. Then, each registered singer in your ensemble will receive a unique login to access (view, listen, and print) the subscription content on SingersBabel. 

May I share files on my Ensemble's page with people outside of my chorus?

No, you may not. The tools on SingersBabel are available only to registered subscribers. Sharing the content on SingersBabel with non-registered users is a violation of the terms of use. Read the full Privacy & Terms of Use Policy.

May I share files I've purchased at the SingersBabel Online Store with my friends?

No, you may not. You have purchased a license for one user only, unless you have purchased multiple licenses. Read the full Privacy & Terms of Use Policy

As a subscriber, may I share my password with my friends?

No, you may not. When registering and making payment as a subscriber to SingersBabel, you will be provided with credentials. You, and only you, are authorized to access SingersBabel with your credentials. Read the full Privacy & Terms of Use Policy

Payments


What is subscription "auto-renewal"?

As a convenience, subscribers can have their subscription renewed automatically; i.e. monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or yearly.

How can I turn off subscription "auto-renewal"?

SingersBabel Website: Login to the SingersBabel website. Click on Profile to edit your information. In the middle of the page, just below the credit card information, there is a check box (checked by default) that says "Enable Auto-Renewal for your subscription". Uncheck this box to turn off auto-renewal. Click on Update before exiting the page.

SingersBabel App: As with any iTunes subscription, to discontinue or change your subscription, go to your iPhone's Settings. Click on your name and you will be taken to your Apple ID page. Click on "iTunes & App Store" and then click on your "Apple ID: yourname@xyz.com". Click on "View Apple ID" (you may be asked for your Apple ID account password). You will be taken to your iPhone Account Settings. Midway down the screen you will see "Subscriptions." Click on that and you will see which subscriptions are active. Click on the SingersBabel subscription to see the information and to make changes.

What credit cards do you accept?

Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards are accepted on the website and online store.

 

How can my Ensemble or Institution pay for a subscription?

On the Website: We prefer that Ensemble and Institutional Subscribers pay by check or direct deposit. The subscription agreement will include an invoice which can be given to your financial office to process. Contact us to get more information: info@singersbabel.com.

In the SingersBabel App:

The soon-to-come SingersBabel app will be available only in the iTunes Store. You will make purchases from the store or a subscription using your iTunes credentials and payment method.

How can my Institution pay for a subscription?

Institutional subscribers may pay by check if they so desire. The subscription agreement will include an invoice which can be given to your financial office to process.

Diction Topics


What is IPA?

The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a pronunciation system created by an international team of linguists, with the purpose of providing one set of symbols that can be used by everyone. Learn more at the International Phonetic Association, here.

What languages do you currently offer?

We currently offer repertoire in American English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Latin (Ecclesiastical and Gallic), Russian, and Church Slavonic on our website and the soon-to-come SingersBabel mobile app.

Our BabelSounds mobile app offers American English, French, Italian, Ecclesiastical Latin, Germanic Latin and Russian soundsets with examples. It is available through the iTunes App Store and Google Play. More information can be found here.

Do the tools on SingersBabel replace the need for a coach?

Absolutely not! These tools are meant to give you a starting point. The more you can prepare before arriving at a lesson, coaching or rehearsal, the further you can delve into the piece vocally, musically and interpretatively. 

I'm not sure I'm saying it correctly. How can I check?

There are a number of ways: a) You can record yourself speaking, play it back and compare to the native speaker; b) Intone the text along with the native speaker in the slow video. Aim first to match the correct vowels, then check for accuracy with the consonants; or c) Ask a teacher or diction coach.

I hear another native speaker say it differently. Who is correct?

There are many differences between spoken and sung language, but, even among diction coaches, opinions about the "correct" pronunciation in singing can differ. The tools on this site are meant to give examples of what is authentic and expressive. It is not the only way to do it. If someone else presents a good reason to do it differently and it feels good vocally, then there's no reason not to do it.

Why is IPA useful?

Well, for instance, in American English there are 16 vowel sounds but only 5 or 6 vowels. With IPA, each sound has its own symbol, so there’s no need to guess what sound you’re aiming for, once you learn the basics. Additionally, an IPA transcription shows the stress in a word.

Online Store


How does the Store work?

On the website: Go to Store menu and click on Purchase BabelGuides. You will see drop-down boxes by which you can filter by Composer, Poet/Librettist, Language, or Genre. Perhaps the easiest way to find a specific work is to type the title or composer's last name in the Search box and click on SEARCH. Using the Search box is effective as long as you know the exact title or spell the composer's name correctly. Problems occur when there are diacritical marks. In order to find "Fauré" one has to type the acute mark "é". "Faure" will not work; however, "Faur" will work. For the Brahms song Es träumte mir, the a umlaut "ä", must be present. Neither “traumte” nor “traeumte” works; however, “Es tr” will work.

Once filtered, the titles are in alpha order, and include articles; i.e. “Ein deutsches Requiem” starts with “Ein”. Filtering by Poet is useful for programming purposes, as in a set of Goethe songs by various composers.

Works are available for purchase and download in two formats: Complete (BabelGuideTM with native speaker reciting the text & printable PDF of the word-for-word translation and IPA Guide for the entire work) or by single movement, in the same configuration. For multiple searches, don’t forget to click on Clear Results.

In the SingersBabel app: Go to the Store  store_icon.jpg at the bottom of the screen. Ensuring that the Purchase Tab is toggled, you will see drop-down boxes by which you can filter by Composer, Poet/Librettist, Language, or Genre. Perhaps the easiest way to find a specific work is to type the title or composer's last name in the Search box and click on SEARCH. Using the Search box is effective as long as you know the exact title or spell the composer name correctly. Problems occur when there are diacritical marks. In order to find "Fauré" one has to type the acute mark "é". "Faure" will not work; however, "Faur" will work. For the Brahms song Es träumte mir, the a umlaut "ä", must be present. Neither “traumte” nor “traeumte” works; however, “Es tr” will work.

Once filtered, the titles are in alpha order, and include articles; i.e. “Ein deutsches Requiem” starts with “Ein”. Filtering by Poet is useful for programming purposes, as in a set of Goethe songs by various composers.

Individual works or movements from works are available. Once filtered, choose the work you are interested in by clicking on the “Details” button of that work. On that screen you will see the pertinent information regarding the BabelGuide, including a sample. You may click on the “Add to Wish List” button to add the work to your Wish List wish_list_icon.png or, click the “Buy” button to purchase. 

Click on My Library to access the works you have purchased. For each work you will see the information regarding the work, a PDF which is printable, and at least two MP4 files. One is the Poetic Reading and the other will be either the Slow Reading, or the Alternating Reading, which alternates between Poetic and Slow, line by line, or both. Earlier versions of works have only Poetic and Slow readings. Click on the reading that you want to hear.

Can I buy resources for a single song or single movement from a work?

Yes, but first review FAQ How does the Online Store Work? Then go to the Store menu and choose Purchase BabelGuides. There you will be able to purchase single song or single movement BabelGuidesTM with native speaker reciting the text and a printable PDF of the word-for-word translation and IPA Guide.

Why can't I find the composer's name? Or, how do I spell the composer's name?

If the name is spelled with an umlaut, acute accent or some other diacritical mark, you must use the mark. If you don’t know the ASCII code to use the mark, spell the name up to but not including the mark. Ex. 1 – the composer named Fauré. If you search for “Faure”, without the acute accent over the “e”, you will not find the name. Solution: search for “Faur”, eliminating the “e” entirely. 

If you don’t know exactly how the name is spelled, or it is hyphenated, includes upper and lower case letters or is in several parts - yikes! - spell the name up to but not including the part of which you are not sure. Ex. 2 – the composer named Saint-Saëns. If you search for “Saint-Saens” without the “ë”, “Saint Saens” without the hyphen or “St. Saens”, with an abbreviated “St.”, you will not find the name. Solution: search for “Saint”, eliminating the hyphen and the second part of the name. 

 

Subscriptions


What does SingersBabel offer for subscribers?

SingersBabel provides learning tools to help you improve your diction while singing, using BabelGuidesTM  which feature recitations by native speakers at a slow and normal pace, Sound Sets, complete access to our Library of over 400 titles, and printable word-for-word Translations and IPA Guides.

What is the advantage of a subscription to SingersBabel?

A subscription grants unlimited access via the Internet to the complete SingersBabel Library of works, for one low price. Click here for an Individual Subscription.

What does SingersBabel offer for non-subscribers?

SingersBabel provides learning tools to help you improve your diction while singing, including free access to a Work-of-the Week, Sound Sets, and an Online Store, where you can purchase and download our BabelGuidesTM

What is the difference between the subscriber Library and the online store?

The subscriber Library grants access to the entire* collection of works SingersBabel offers for one low price to individuals, ensembles or institutions. Each work is represented by BabelGuidesTM, which consist of MP4 videos of the original text, word-for-word translation, and IPA transcription scrolling by, while recited by native speakers, in a poetic version and a slow, intoned version. Also included are printable PDFs of the word-for-word translation and IPA Guide.

The online store allows musicians to purchase a BabelGuideTM of a complete work or movement from a work. Or you can purchase just the PDF of the Translation/IPA Guide.

*There are a few works that, due to licensing restrictions, are available only by sale in the Online Store.

Is there a way I can try out SingersBabel for free?

Yes! On the website only, you may register for a free 1-day trial subscription which gives you complete access to the site. Go to Register and under Subscription Types, select 1 Day Free Trial.

Is there a subscription available for my Chorus or Ensemble?

Yes! An Ensemble Subscription is available on the website only, to groups with 20 or more singers, at a low price of $3.00 per singer per month of use, with a minimum of a 2-month subscription. Any work or works available in the SingersBabel Library may be selected and special access to the webpage will be created for the ensemble. In addition to tools for text preparation such as BabelGuidesTM, each singer will have access to Sound Sets.

Go to Store\Subscriptions\Ensembles.

How do Institutional Subscriptions work?

Yearly Institutional Subscriptions are offered to colleges, universities, summer music programs, and other educational institutions through a proxy server. SingersBabel offers a one (1) month free trial to the site. For more information about Institutional Subscriptions click here