Download Bel Canto: A History of Vocal Pedagogy by James Stark PDF

By James Stark

In this good documented and hugely readable e-book, James Stark offers a background of vocal pedagogy from the start of the bel canto culture of solo making a song within the past due 16th and early 17th centuries to the current. utilizing a nineteenth-century treatise via Manuel Garcia as his element of reference, Stark analyses the numerous assets that debate making a song suggestions and selects a few basic vocal 'problems' for precise research. He additionally offers facts from a sequence of laboratory experiments conducted to illustrate the options of bel canto.

The dialogue offers greatly with such subject matters because the emergence of virtuoso making a song, the castrato phenomenon, nationwide alterations in making a song kinds, controversies in regards to the perennial decline within the artwork of making a song, and the so-called secrets and techniques of bel canto.

Stark bargains a brand new definition of bel canto which reconciles historic and medical descriptions of fine making a song. His is a clean and profound dialogue of concerns vital to all singers and voice teachers.

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Extra resources for Bel Canto: A History of Vocal Pedagogy

Example text

Friedrich S. Brodnitz, a well-known medical specialist in vocal disorders, linked vocal hyperfunction to tenseness in the vocal organs caused by the tensions of modern life. He especially condemned the coup de la glotte, which he mistakenly thought of as an abrasive glottal plosive as opposed to firm onset. He also cautioned against faulty respiration, the overextension of registers, poor posture, psychological factors, and many other aspects of vocal technique that can contribute to vocal damage.

This naturally meant Garcia and all his followers, including my mother and myself. (91–3) While Marchesi was belligerent, she was nevertheless correct in her assessment of Curtis. Curtis complained of ‘the singing teacher who commands her pupils to keep their palates up, sing in the back of their heads, and strike the glottis. ’ (Curtis 1909, 149–50). This was a direct attack on Mathilde Marchesi. He added, ‘The shock, or coup de glotte, is death to the voice; it is born of ignorance, and to teach or allow its continuance is a crime.

As mentioned in the Introduction, there seems to be a bias against vigorous glottal closure, based on an assumption that such closure may be harmful to the voice. Voice teachers who emphasize relaxation are loath to use such words as ‘pinch’ or ‘squeeze’ in relation to singing. Some voice scientists have also veered away from advocating strong glottal closure. Catford and Laver, whose field is primarily the phonetics of speech rather than singing, both considered ‘full glottal phonation’ to be the ‘normal’ setting for speech as well as for the falsetto voice (Catford 1964, 32; Proctor 1980b, 55–6).

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