Preparation For Singing

No one can sing properly without first preparing for it, mentally and

physically, with all the organs concerned in the production of the


We have in this to perform three functions, simultaneously:--

First, to draw breath quietly, not too deeply; to force the breath

against the chest and hold it there firmly till the upward and outward

streaming--that is, singing--begins. (See plate, T
e Path of the


Second, to raise the soft palate at the same time toward the nose,

so that the breath remains stationary until the singing begins.

Third, to jerk the tongue backward at the same time, its back being

thus raised, and elastic, ready to meet all the wishes of the

singer,--that is, the needs of the larynx. The larynx must not be

pressed either too low or too high, but must work freely. The breath

is enabled to stream forth from it like a column, whose form is

moulded above the larynx by the base of the tongue.

When these three functions have been performed, all is ready. Now the

pitch of the tone is to be considered, as the singing begins.

The consummation (Hoehepunkt) of the tone, above the palate, gives the

point of attack itself, under the palate.

Now further care must be given that the point of attack on the

palate--that is, the focal point of the breath--be not subjected to

pressure, and that the entire supply of breath be not expended upon

the palatal resonance.

For this the palate must remain elastic, for it has a twofold duty to

perform. It must not only furnish resistance for the focal point of

the breath,--except in the very highest head tones,--around which it

can be diffused; the same resistance, which stands against the stream

of breath from below, must also afford a firm, pliant, and elastic

floor for the overtones, which, soaring above the palate, shift, as is

needed, to or above the hard and soft palate, or are divided in the

nose, forehead, and head cavities. It can easily be seen how any

pressure in singing can be dangerous everywhere, and how careful the

singer is forced to be to avoid such mistakes.