Forgot your password?  

Resources for students & teachers

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 170 pages of information about Vocal Mastery.

“I have put analysis last because it is the crowning virtue, the prime necessity.  We study analysis here in the studios, learning how to separate music into its component parts, together with simple chord formations, general form and structure of the pieces, and so on.  Can you comprehend the dense ignorance of many music students on these subjects?  They will come here to me, never having analyzed a bit of music in their lives, having not an inkling of what chord structure and form in music mean.  If they played piano even a little, they could hardly escape getting a small notion of chord formation.  But frequently vocal students know nothing of the piano.  They are too apt to be superficial.  It is an age of superficiality—­and cramming:  we see these evils all the way from the college man down.  I am a Yale man and don’t like to say anything about college government, yet I cannot shut my eyes to the fact that men may spend four years going through college and yet not be educated when they come out.  Most of us are in too much of a hurry, and so fail to take time enough to learn things thoroughly; above all we never stop to analyze.

“Analysis should begin at the very outset of our vocal or instrumental study.  We analyze the notes of the music we are singing, and a little later its form.  We analyze the ideas of the composer and also our own thoughts and ideas, to try and bring them in harmony with his.  After analyzing the passage before us, we may see it in a totally different light, and so phrase and deliver it with an entirely different idea from what we might have done without this intelligent study.”

CONSCIOUS OR UNCONSCIOUS CONTROL

“Do you advise conscious action of the parts comprising the vocal instrument, or do you prefer unconscious control of the instrument, with thought directed to the ideal quality in tone production and delivery?” was asked.

“By all means unconscious control,” was the emphatic answer.  “We wish to produce beautiful sounds; if the throat is open, the breathing correct, and we have a mental concept of that beautiful sound, we are bound to produce it.  It might be almost impossible to produce correct tones if we thought constantly about every muscle in action.  There is a great deal of nonsense talked and written about the diaphragm, vocal chords and other parts of the anatomy.  It is all right for the teacher who wishes to be thoroughly trained, to know everything there is to know about the various organs and muscles; I would not discourage this.  But for the young singer I consider it unnecessary.  Think supremely of the beautiful tones you desire to produce; listen for them with the outer ear—­and the inner ear—­that is to say—­mentally—­and you will hear them.  Meanwhile, control is becoming more and more habitual, until it approaches perfection and at last becomes automatic.  When that point is reached, your sound producing instrument does the deed, while your whole attention is fixed on the interpretation of a master work, the performance of which requires your undivided application.  If there is action, you control that in the same way until it also becomes automatic; then both singing and acting are spontaneous.”

Follow Us on Facebook