There still remains the trill, which is best practised in the
beginning as follows:--
The breath is led very far back against the head cavities by the
[=a], the larynx kept as stiff as possible and placed high. Both
tones are connected as closely, as heavily as possible, upward
nasally, downward on the larynx, for which the y, again, is
admirably suited. They must be attacked as high as poss
ble, and very
strongly. The trill exercise must be practised almost as a scream.
The upper note must always be strongly accented. The exercise is
practised with an even strength, without decrescendo to the end; the
breath streams out more and more strongly, uninterruptedly to the
Trill exercises must be performed with great energy, on the whole
compass of the voice. They form an exception to the rule in so far
that in them more is given to the throat to do--always, however, under
the control of the chest--than in other exercises. That relates,
however, to the muscles.
The breath vibrates above the larynx, but does not stick in it,
consequently this is not dangerous.
The exercise is practised first on two half, then on two whole, tones
of the same key (as given above), advancing by semitones, twice a day
on the entire compass of the voice. It is exhausting because it
requires great energy; but for the same reason it gives strength.
Practise it first as slowly and vigorously as the strength of the
throat allows, then faster and faster, till one day the trill
unexpectedly appears. With some energy and industry good results
should be reached in from six to eight weeks, and the larynx should
take on the habit of performing its function by itself. This function
gradually becomes a habit, so that it seems as if only one tone were
attacked and held, and as if the second tone simply vibrated with it.
As a matter of fact, the larynx will have been so practised in the
minute upward and downward motion, that the singer is aware only of
the vibrations of the breath that lie above it, while he remains
mindful all the time only of the pitch of the upper note.
One has the feeling then as of singing or holding only the lower
tone (which must be placed very high), while the upper one vibrates
with it simply through the habitude of the accentuation. The union of
the two then comes to the singer's consciousness as if he were
singing the lower note somewhat too high, halfway toward the upper
one. This is only an aural delusion, produced by the high vibrations.
But the trill, when fully mastered, should always be begun, as in the
exercise, on the upper note.
Every voice must master the trill, after a period, longer or shorter,
of proper practice. Stiff, strong voices master it sooner than small,
weak ones. I expended certainly ten years upon improving it, because
as a young girl I had so very little strength, although my voice was
very flexible in executing all sorts of rapid passages.
To be able to use it anywhere, of course, requires a long time and
much practice. For this reason it is a good plan to practise it on
syllables with different vowels, such as can all be supported on
[=a], and on words, as soon as the understanding needed for this is
in some degree assured.
If the larynx has acquired the habit properly, the trill can be
carried on into a piano and pianissimo and prolonged almost
without end with crescendi and decrescendi, as the old Italians
used to do, and as all Germans do who have learned anything.