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The Great Scale
Nasal Nasal Singing
Resonant Consonants
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The Vowel-sound _ah_
The Cure
Practical Exercises
My Title To Write On The Art Of Song
The Tongue
Singing Covered


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Preparation For Singing
The Highest Head Tones
Development And Equalization
White Voices
The Sensations Of The Palate
Concerning Expression
Extension Of The Compass And Equalization Of Registers
The Position Of The Mouth (contraction Of The Muscles Of Speech)
Before The Public
The Singer's Physiological Studies


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Singing Toward The Nose Head Voice
The Attack
The Cure
How To Hold One's Self When Practising
Equalizing The Voice; Breath; Form
The Sensation Of The Resonance Of The Head Cavities
My Purpose
Italian And German
In Conclusion
The Tongue



The Sensation Of The Resonance Of The Head Cavities





The sensation of the resonance of the head cavities is perceived
chiefly by those who are unaccustomed to using the head tones. The
resonance against the occipital walls of the head cavities when the
head tones are employed, at first causes a very marked irritation of
the nerves of the head and ear. But this disappears as soon as the
singer gets accustomed to it. The head tones can be used and directed
by the breath only with a clear head. The least depression such as
comes with headaches, megrim, or moodiness may have the worst effect,
or even make their use quite impossible. This feeling of oppression is
lost after regular, conscious practice, by which all unnecessary and
disturbing pressure is avoided. In singing very high head tones I have
a feeling as if they lay high above the head, as if I were setting
them off into the air. (See plate.)

Here, too, is the explanation of singing in the neck. The breath, in
all high tones which are much mixed with head tones or use them
entirely, passes very far back, directly from the throat into the
cavities of the head, and thereby, and through the oblique position of
the larynx, gives rise to the sensations just described. A singer who
inhales and exhales carefully, that is, with knowledge of the
physiological processes, will always have a certain feeling of
pleasure, an attenuation in the throat as if it were stretching itself
upward. The bulging out of veins in the neck, that can so often be
seen in singers, is as wrong as the swelling up of the neck, looks
very ugly, and is not without danger from congestion.

With rapid scales and trills one has the feeling of great firmness of
the throat muscles, as well as of a certain stiffness of the larynx.
(See Trills.) An unsteady movement of the latter, this way and that,
would be disadvantageous to the trill, to rapid scales, as well as to
the cantilena. For this reason, because the changing movements of the
organs must go on quite imperceptibly and inaudibly, it must be more
like a shifting than a movement. In rapid scales the lowest tone must
be placed with a view to the production of the highest, and in
descending, the greatest care must be exercised that the tone shall
not tumble over each other single, but shall produce the sensation of
closely connected sounds, through being bound to the high tone
position and pressed toward the nose.

In this all the participating vocal organs must be able to keep up a
muscular contraction, often very rigid: a thing that is to be achieved
only gradually through long years of careful and regular study.
Excessive practice is of no use in this--only regular and
intelligent practice; and success comes only in course of time.

Never should the muscular contractions become convulsive and produce
pressure which the muscles cannot endure for a long time. They must
respond to all necessary demands upon their strength, yet remain
elastic in order that, easily relaxing or again contracting, they may
promptly adapt themselves to every nuance in tone and accent desired
by the singer.

A singer can become and continue to be master of his voice and means
of expression only as long as he practises daily correct vocal
gymnastics. In this way alone can he obtain unconditional mastery over
his muscles, and, through them, of the finest controlling apparatus,
of the beauty of his voice, as well as of the art of song as a whole.

Training the muscles of the vocal organs so that their power to
contract and relax to all desired degrees of strength, throughout the
entire gamut of the voice, is always at command, makes the master
singer.

As I have already said, the idea of singing forward leads very many
singers to force the breath from the mouth without permitting it to
make full use of the resonating surfaces that it needs, yet it streams
forth from the larynx really very far back in the throat, and the
straighter it rises in a column behind the tongue, the better it is
for the tone. The tongue must furnish the surrounding form for this,
for which reason it must not lie flat in the mouth. (See plate, the
tongue.)

The whirling currents of tone circling around their focal point (the
attack) find a cup-shaped resonating cavity when they reach the front
of the mouth and the lips, which, through their extremely potent
auxiliary movements, infuse life and color into the tone and the word.
Of equal importance are the unimpeded activity of the whirling
currents of sound and their complete filling of the resonating
spaces in the back of the throat, the pillars of the fauces, and the
head cavities in which the vocalized breath must be kept soaring above
the larynx and soaring undisturbed.

In the lowest range of the voice the entire palate from the front
teeth to the rear wall of the throat must be thus filled. (See plate.)

With higher tones the palate is lowered, the nostrils are inflated,
and above the hard palate a passage is formed for the overtones. (See
plate.)

This air which soars above must, however, not be in the least
compressed; the higher the tone, the less pressure should there be;
for here, too, whirling currents are formed, which must be neither
interrupted nor destroyed. The breath must be carried along on the
wall of the throat without compression, in order to accomplish its
work. (See plate, high tones.)


Singing forward, then, does not mean pressing the whole of the
breath or the tone forward, but only part of it; that is, in the
middle register, finding a resonating focus in front, caused by the
lowering of the front of the palate. This permits a free course only
to that part of the breath which is used up by the whirling currents
in the resonant throat form, and serves to propagate the outer waves,
and carry them farther through space.





Next: Singing Covered

Previous: The Sensations Of The Palate



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