“I am asked sometimes if I teach registers of the voice. I can say decidedly no, I do not teach registers. The voice should be one and entire, from top to bottom, and should be produced as such, no matter in what part of the voice you sing. Throughout the voice the same instrument is doing the work. So, too, with voices of different caliber, the coloratura, lyric and dramatic. Each and all of these may feel the dramatic spirit of the part, but the lighter quality of the voice may prevent the coloratura from expressing it. The world recognizes the dramatic singer in the size of the voice and of the person. From an artistic point of view, however, there are two ways of looking at the question, since the lyric voice may have vivid dramatic instincts, and may be able to bring them out with equal or even greater intensity than the purely dramatic organ.
“Vocal Mastery is acquired through correct understanding of what constitutes pure vowel sounds, and such control of the breath as will enable one to convert every atom of breath into singing tone. This establishes correct action of the vocal chords and puts the singer in possession of the various tints of the voice.
“When the diaphragm and respiratory muscles support the breath sufficiently and the vocal chords are permitted to do their work, you produce pure tone. Many singers do not understand these two vital principles. They either sing with too much relaxation of the diaphragm and respiratory muscles, or too much rigidity. Consequently the effort becomes local instead of constitutional, which renders the tone hard and strident and variable to pitch. Again the vocal chords are either forced apart or pinched together, with detriment to tone production.
“The real value of control is lost when we attempt to control the singing instrument and the breath by seeking a place for the tone the singing instrument produces. When the vocal chords are allowed to produce pure vowels, correct action is the result and with proper breath support, Vocal Mastery can be assured.”
A young French girl had just sung a group of songs in her own language and had won acclaim from the distinguished company present. They admired the rich quality of her voice, her easy, spontaneous tone production and clear diction. A brilliant future was predicted for the young singer. One critic of renown remarked: “It is a long time since I have heard a voice so well placed and trained.”
“And who is your teacher?” she was asked.
“It is Mr. Duval; I owe everything to him. He has really made my voice; I have never had another teacher and all my success will be due to him,” she answered.
We at once expressed a desire to meet Mr. Duval and hear from his own lips how such results were attained.