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Questions and Answers.

R. Q.—1. If you wish to  learn sight-reading, and a teacher is not available, buy one of the many good systems in print and study it out by yourself, or get into touch with some teacher by correspondence; for a small fee she will advise you how best to proceed in your work. I don’t advocate mail teaching as a rule, but under these conditions it is safe. I can give you the addresses of such teachers if you will inclose a stamp for reply.

2. Most successful opera-singers are good musicians in an abstract sense. Musicianship comprehends far more than technical facility. It would be cheaper to study the piano seriously for a year or two than pay a pianist to travel with you.

3. The singers of to-day are not necessarily better singers than Patti was in her prime, but they may average better on the score of musicianship.

S. P. F.—Read Mr. Wodell’s article in this number and you will gain a few valuable hints on the modern coach. I would stay with a teacher who was safe rather than change unless you wish to give your coach good singing lessons.

J. J. W.—George F. Root has written as good a work for your needs as any. If you feel inclined to go to the expense of getting the three volumes by Shakespeare, they will help you. Behnke and Pierce and Wieck are also good.

Kate.—1. You touch upon the most intricate problem of the art and ask me to answer “fully and simply.” The terminology of the subject differs with every author and in nearly every studio; therefore if I answered your question by saying such and such notes were sung on such and such registers, you would be no wiser than before. Most of the volumes that have appeared on vocal culture devote a chapter to this subject. It is a case of “Hobson’s choice” as to their clearness or value. In my own work, upper, middle, and lower are the terms most used, with adjustments to meet my idea of the needs of each particular case.

2. It depends upon the run and the voice. There can be no arbitrary rule for registration.

3. You will find the list you require in the March Etude.

4. Probably because they agreed with the old Italian models that the missa de voce came next in importance to attack.

E. Muse.—1. It is not the method, but the teacher, that should concern you. Bassini’s is as good as any, as far as it goes, in a safe teacher’s hands.

2. Consult numbers V, VI, and VII of the “Repertory” series.

E. G.—Twenty-four is not too old to begin, and, if your instrumental foundation is securely laid, you should, with diligence, accomplish much in two years.

M. J. M. C. G.—1. Treat them as if singing were natural, like speaking, and they will soon realize the comfort of a relaxed throat.

2. Keep the tones as clear and resonant as possible without forcing.

3. In all tones above C third space.

4. Male voices are treated like female voices, so far as all general principles of tone-taking are concerned.

5. Not behind them, or hanging at the sides, or in their pockets, but all three if comfort, convenience, or occasion requires.

6. I do not.

7. If the song is a good one, I will analyze it in The Etude.

L. M. C.—I am more alarmed by the quantity you have taken than I should be by a fear of not having had accomplished enough in the time you have studied. It pays to make haste slowly. Exchange your spur for a curb.

E. D . I.—It must, of course, depend upon the work you accomplished in that one year. In a village that does not support a voice-teacher, of which there are many, it frequently occurs that rare voices are to be found. In such an event the responsibilities of a piano-teacher who is induced to supply the deficiency are great. The columns of The Etude are open to your use. Ask any questions, but be definite. Take your question, for example. How can we be expected to know what work you did in the one year, what kind of a voice you have, what studies you pursued, their effect upon your voice; even your general musical knowledge would guide us somewhat in pre paring a helpful and an intelligent answer. We will gladly help you, but you must do your share. Try again, but be more definite.

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