There are also singers, male and female, who use too much head tone
through their entire compass; such voices are called white. Their
use of the palatal resonance being insufficient, they are not able to
make a deeper impression, because their power of expression is
practically nothing. Frau Wedekind and Madame Melba are instances of
this. In such cases it would be advisable to raise the pillars of the
fauces a little
igher, and place the larynx somewhat lower, and to
mingle judiciously with all the other vowels, the vowel sound oo,
that requires a lower position of the larynx. The voices would become
warmer and would sound more expressive. As soon as the singer is able
to create easily and inaudibly on every tone the correct propagation
form for the next tone, all questions as to register must disappear.
He must not, however, be drilled on registers; several tones must
not be forced on one and the same point. Every tone should be put
naturally into its own place; should receive the pitch, duration, and
strength it needs for its perfection. And one master rules it
The goal is, unfortunately, so seldom reached because it can be
reached only through the moderation that comes from mastery; and,
alas! only true masters practise it.
It may be accepted as true that the lower ranges of the voice have the
greatest strength, the middle ranges the greatest power of expression,
the higher the greatest carrying power.
The best mixture--all three together--may be developed to the highest
art by the skill of the individual, often, indeed, only by a good ear
for it. Whenever expression of the word's significance, beauty of the
vocal material, and perfection of phrasing are found united in the
highest degree, it is due either to knowledge or to a natural skill in
the innumerable ways of fitting the sung word to the particular
resonance--connections that are suitable to realize its significance,
and hence its spirit. They are brought out by a stronger inclination
toward one or the other of the resonance surfaces, without, however,
injuring the connection or the beauty of the musical phrase. Here
aesthetic feeling plays the chief part, for whatever may be its power
and its truthfulness, the result must always be beautiful,--that is,
restrained within proper limits.
This law, too, remains the same for all voices. It is a question of
the entire compass of a voice trained for artistic singing, one that
is intrusted with the greatest of tasks, to interpret works of art
that are no popular songs, but, for the most part, human tragedies.
Most male singers--tenors especially--consider it beneath them,
generally, indeed, unnatural or ridiculous, to use the falsetto,
which is a part of all male voices, as the head tones are a part of
all female voices. They do not understand how to make use of its
assistance, because they often have no idea of its existence, or know
it only in its unmixed purity--that is, its thinnest quality. Of its
proper application they have not the remotest conception. Their
singing is generally in accordance with their ignorance.
The mixture is present by nature in all kinds of voices, but singers
must possess the skill and knowledge to employ it, else the natural
advantage goes for nothing.