Vocal Mastery eBook

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

“Breath control is indeed a vital need, but it should not be made a bugbear to be greatly feared.  The young student imagines he must inflate the lungs almost to bursting, in order that he may take a breath long enough to sing a phrase.  Then, as soon as he opens his lips, he allows half the air he has taken in to escape, before he has uttered a sound.  With such a beginning he can only gasp a few notes of the phrase.  Or he distends the muscles at the waist to the fullest extent and fancies this is the secret of deep breathing.  In short, most students make the breathing and breath control a very difficult matter indeed, when it is, or should be an act most easy and natural.  They do not need the large quantity of breath they imagine they do; for a much smaller amount will suffice to do the work.  I tell them, ’Inhale simply and naturally, as though you inhaled the fragrance of a flower.  And when you open your lips after this full natural breath, do not let the breath escape; the vocal chords will make the tone, if you understand how to make a perfect start.  If the action is correct, the vocal chords will meet; they will not be held apart nor will they crowd each other.  Allow the diaphragm and respiratory muscles to do their work, never forcing them; then you will soon learn what breath control in singing means.  Remember again, not a particle of breath should be allowed to escape.  Every other part of the apparatus must be permitted to do its work, otherwise there will be interference somewhere.’


“Everything pertaining to the study of vocal technic and the art of singing may be summed up in the one word—­Causation.  A cause underlies every effect.  If you do not secure the quality of tone you desire, there must be a reason for it.  You evidently do not understand the cause which will produce the effect.  That is the reason why singers possessing really beautiful voices produce uneven effects and variable results.  They may sing a phrase quite perfectly at one moment.  A short time after they may repeat the same phrase in quite a different way and not at all perfectly.  One night they will sing very beautifully; the next night you might hardly recognize the voice, so changed would be its quality.  This would not be the case if they understood causation.  A student, rightly taught, should know the cause for everything he does, how he does thus and so and why he does it.  A singer should be able to produce the voice correctly, no matter in what position the role he may be singing may require the head or body to be in.  In opera the head or body may be placed in difficult unnatural positions, but these should not interfere with good tone production.


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Vocal Mastery from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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