White Voices

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

all,--the ear!

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.