The following system, as formulated, is largely the outgrowth of my summer work at Point Chautauqua, on Lake Chautauqua. There we have a school every summer, not only for the professional singer and teacher, but for those who desire to become such. Beside the private lessons we give a practical normal course in class lessons. There the principles, the theory, and the devices used are studied and worked out in a practical way by lecture, by illustration, and by the study of all kinds of voices. Many who have taught for years have there obtained for the first time an idea, the true idea, of flexible vitalized movements, the devices demanded by nature for giving the voice vitality, freedom, ease, etc. These teachers who are thus aroused become the most enthusiastic supporters of, and believers in, our system of flexible vitalized movements.
It is, therefore, through the Chautauqua work that I have been impressed with the importance of placing this system in a plainer and more definite way, if possible, before the vocal world.
The first principle of artistic tone—production.
The first principle of artistic tone-production is
The Removal of All Restraint.
The theory founded upon this principle is as follows: Correct tone is the result of certain conditions demanded by Nature, not man’s ideas. These conditions are dependent upon form and adjustment; and form and adjustment, to be right, must be automatic, and not the result of direct or local effort.
The devices used for developing the above conditions are simple vocal exercises which are favorable to correct form and adjustment, and are studied and made to influence the voice through correct position and action.
A correct system for training and developing the voice must be based upon principle, theory, and device; upon the principles of voice which are Nature’s laws, upon the theories based upon these principles, and upon the devices for the study and development of such principles.
My purpose in this little work is to give just enough musical figures or exercises to enable us to study and apply the movements, the practical part of our system.
The first principle of artistic tone-production is the removal of all restraint. This no one can deny without stultifying himself. The removal of all restraint means absolute freedom, not only of form and action, but of tone. It is evident, then, that any local hardening or contracting of muscle, any tension or contraction which would prevent elasticity, would make the removal of all restraint impossible. Hence we find that this first principle is an impossibility with the rigid local-effort school. On the other hand, relaxation, while it may remove restraint, makes artistic control and tonicity impossible. Hence artistic tone, based upon this first principle, is an impossible condition with the limp or relaxed school.