Vocal Mastery eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 207 pages of information about Vocal Mastery.


“The singer who wishes to make a career in concert, should constantly study to do things easily and gracefully.  She is gracious in manner, and sings to the people as though it gave her personal pleasure to stand before them.  She has a happy expression of countenance; she is simple, unaffected and sincere.  More than all this her singing must be filled with sentiment and soul; it must be deeply felt or it will not touch others.  Of what use will be the most elaborate technic in the world if there is no soul back of it.  So the young singer cultivates this power of expression, which grows with constant effort.  The artist has learned to share her gift of song with her audience, and sings straight across into the hearts of her listeners.  The less experienced singer profits by her example.

“Shall the singer carry her music in a song recital, is a much discussed question.  Many come on with nothing in hand.  What then happens?  The hands are clasped in supplication, as though praying for help.  This attitude becomes somewhat harrowing when held for a whole program.  Other singers toy with chain or fan, movements which may be very inappropriate to the sentiment of the song they are singing.  For myself I prefer to hold in hand a small book containing the words of my songs, for it seems to be more graceful and Jess obtrusive than the other ways I have mentioned.  I never refer to this little book, as I know the words of my songs backward; I could rise in the middle of the night and go through the program without a glance at words or music, so thoroughly do I know what I am singing.  Therefore I do not need the book of words, but I shall always carry it, no matter what the critics may say.  And why should not the executive artist reassure himself by having his music with him?  It seems to me a pianist would feel so much more certain of himself if he had the notes before him; he of course need not look at them, but their presence would take away the fear that is often an obsession.  With the notes at hand he could let himself go, give free reign to fancy, without the terrible anxiety he must often feel.


“People often ask whether I prefer to sing in opera or concert.  I always answer, I love both.  I enjoy opera for many reasons; I love the concert work, and I am also very fond of oratorio.  Of course in the opera I am necessarily restrained; I can never be Frieda Hempel, I must always be some one else; I must always think of the others who are playing with me.  In concert I can be myself and express myself.  I get near the people; they are my friends and I am theirs.  I am much in spirit with oratorio also.


“Do I think the coloratura voice will ever become dramatic?  It depends on the quality of the voice.  I think every dramatic singer should cultivate coloratura to some extent—­should study smooth legato scales and passages.  To listen to some of the dramatic roles of to-day, one would think that smooth legato singing was a lost art.  Nothing can take its place, however, and singers should realize this fact.”

Project Gutenberg
Vocal Mastery from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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