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What Gives Sweetness to the Voice?

The hard work necessary for acquiring the agility of coloratura singing very often results, if ill-directed, in fatigue or hardness in the quality of the voice; The avoidance of this pernicious effect is very important. When the student has begun this very young, say at twelve or thirteen years, as in my own case, she should be warned against screaming or laughing loudly as girls are apt to do while playing out of doors. This, with reasonable care of the health and precautions against taking cold, can be directed by the parents, the student and singing teacher must work together to avoid any strain in the vocal exercises. For this the practicing should be done slowly, softly, and in short periods as suggested in the article on coloratura style. The complete sustaining of the tone on the breath is very necessary as that lifts, as it were, any possible strain off the vocal cords and helps to free the throat muscles from any rigidity.

Relaxation Needed

The division of labor between the vocal cords and the diaphragm is a great step in advance in the work of the student. The vocal cords demand relaxation and freedom from pressure while to the diaphragm belongs the control of the breath. The deeply-controlled breath is sure to give free play to the larynx, vocal cords and pronouncing apparatus and for that reason should be sought after first and foremost. There should always be breath in the lungs, after the phrase is ended, and the control should not be given up at the close of the phrase. The speaking voice is a factor in helping the quality of the tone for a low-pitched speaking voice sustained like the singing voice and a clean-cut enunciation strengthens the medium register and should not tire it.

Tone and breathing are inseparable subjects in an article on singing, for breathing is an integral part of the true method of tone production whether spoken or sung. Unfortunately few singers seem to hear the tones of their own voices correctly, and they often have an erroneous idea of their quality or quantity.

The Teacher Who Can Criticize

Therefore the teacher who properly criticizes both and is able thus to prevent the loss of sweetness in the voice by forcing or pushing, is the best guide to beautiful tone-production. A teacher, no matter how capable, can only be the guide and pilot and without intelligent, hard work one cannot attain the goal of high ideals and faith born of technical mastery. Rest and plenty of it; diet, and not too much of it, are two things necessary in keeping the voice fresh and sweet. All exhausting physical exercises as well as rich, highly-spiced or greasy food must be given up by the aspirant to vocal honors.

One hears the exclamation very often: “Oh, I would give anything to be able to sing!” The person who says that, exaggerates the greatness of their desire. Many people would like to be singers, but the desire is killed by distaste for the work and sacrifices invariably necessary to become one. Sweetness of voice must be the result of sweetness of spirit, therefore a person making the sacrifices incidental to every singer’s career, in a begrudging, resentful spirit could not have the sweetness of thought and consequently would lack it in their voice. Too little attention is paid to matter of thought in its effect on tone, but “that is another story.”



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