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 o
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.