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

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Preparation For Singing
Development And Equalization
The Sensations Of The Palate
The Highest Head Tones
Concerning Expression
Extension Of The Compass And Equalization Of Registers
White Voices
The Position Of The Mouth (contraction Of The Muscles Of Speech)
Italian And German
In Conclusion

Random Music Lessons

The Highest Head Tones
The Cure
On Vocal Registers
The Singer's Physiological Studies
My Purpose
The Attack
In Conclusion
Italian And German


Singers, male and female, who are lacking velocity and the power of
trilling, seem to me like horses without tails. Both of these things
belong to the art of song, and are inseparable from it. It is a matter
of indifference whether the singer has to use them or not; he must be
able to. The teacher who neither teaches nor can teach them to his
pupils is a bad teacher; the pupil who, notwithstanding the urgent
warnings of his teacher, neglects the exercises that can help him to
acquire them, and fails to perfect himself in them, is a bungler.
There is no excuse for it but lack of talent, or laziness; and neither
has any place in the higher walks of art.

To give the voice velocity, practise first slowly, then faster and
faster, figures of five, six, seven, and eight notes, etc., upward
and downward.

If one has well mastered the great, slow scale, with the nasal
connection, skill in singing rapid passages will be developed quite of
itself, because they both rest on the same foundation, and without the
preliminary practice can never be understood.

Put the palate into the nasal position, the larynx upon oe; attack
the lowest tone of the figure with the thought of the highest; force
the breath, as it streams very vigorously forth from the larynx,
toward the nose, but allow the head current entire freedom, without
entirely doing away with the nasal quality; and then run up the scale
with great firmness.

In descending, keep the form of the highest tone, even if there should
be eight to twelve tones in the passage, so that the scale slides
down, not a pair of stairs, but a smooth track, the highest tone
affording, as it were, a guarantee that on the way there shall be no
impediment or sudden drop. The resonance form, kept firm and tense,
must adapt itself with the utmost freedom to the thought of every
tone, and with it, to the breath. The pressure of the breath against
the chest must not be diminished, but must be unceasing.

To me it is always as if the pitch of the highest tone were already
contained in the lowest, so strongly concentrated upon the whole
figure are my thoughts at the attack of a single tone. By means of
ah-e-[=a], larynx, tongue, and palatal position on the lowest tone
are in such a position that the vibrations of breath for the highest
tones are already finding admission into the head cavities, and as far
as possible are in sympathetic vibration there.

The higher the vocal figures go the more breath they need, the less
can the breath and the organs be pressed. The higher they are, the
more breath must stream forth from the epiglottis; therefore the
[=a] and the thought of e, which keep the passages to the head
open. But because there is a limit to the scope of the movement of
larynx and tongue, and they cannot rise higher and higher with a
figure that often reaches to an immense height, the singer must resort
to the aid of the auxiliary vowel oo, in order to lower the larynx
and so make room for the breath:

A run or any other figure must never sound thus:

but must be nasally modified above, and tied; and because the breath
must flow out unceasingly in a powerful stream from the vocal cords,
an h can only be put in beneath, which makes us sure of this
powerful streaming out of the breath, and helps only the branch
stream of breath into the cavities of the head. Often singers hold the
breath, concentrated on the nasal form, firmly on the lowest tone of a
figure, and, without interrupting this nasal form, or the head tones,
that is, the breath vibrating in the head cavities, finish the figure
alone. When this happens the muscular contractions of the throat,
tongue, and palate are very strong.

The turn, too, based on the consistent connection of the tonal figure
with the nasal quality,--which is obtained by pronouncing the oo
toward the nose,--and firmly held there, permits no interruption for
an instant to the vowel sound.

How often have I heard the ha-ha-ha-haa, etc.,--a wretched tumbling
down of different tones, instead of a smooth decoration of the
cantilena. Singers generally disregard it, because no one can do it
any more, and yet even to-day it is of the greatest importance. (See
Tristan und Isolde.)

The situation is quite the same in regard to the appoggiatura. In
this the resonance is made nasal and the flexibility of the
larynx,--which, without changing the resonance, moves quickly up and
down--accomplishes the task alone. Here, too, it can almost be
imagined that the thought alone is enough, for the connection
of the two tones cannot be too close. But this must be practised, and
done consciously.

Next: Trill

Previous: The Great Scale

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