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TitleThe Old Italian School of Singing
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Table of Contents
                            Cover
Table of Contents
Foreword by Ward Marston
Preface
Introduction
1. The Attack
2. The Breath
3. The Resonance
4. Mouth Position and Articulation
5. The Registers
6. Movement and Agility of the Voice
7. The Words in Singing
8. Interpretation
9. Expression
A Summary of Essential Directions for Historical Singing
Appendix 1
Appendix 2
Appendix 3
Appendix 4
Notes
Bibliography
Index
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 2

The Old Italian School of Singing

Page 110

non might imply that it is not the perfectly formed voice that gives the greatest artis-
tic satisfaction, but rather a voice that is capable of a variation in timbre.

We know that Jenny Lind had difficulties with the notes just above the break, due
to forcing her voice, before she went to Garcia. She complained that those notes never
got quite right again, but from her listeners we gather that her A above middle C had
therefore a charming veiled quality and that the first note the A of “Casta Diva” from
Bellini’s opera Norma took their breath away for the sheer beauty of it.62

A remark of Mancini illustrates this very well with “a charming paradox,” arous-
ing our amazement:

I say that there may be natural defects which are more beautiful and more attractive in the
voice when they are not corrected by art. Give me a veiled [velata] voice, which has enough
body to be heard in any place no matter how large; it entices, pleases and softly seizes the
human heart by means of its marvelous thick color; never crude, never strident.

He warns, however, that this natural defect should only be allowed in a soprano
or contralto voice but not in a tenor or bass for the reason that

these last natural voices, as the sustenance and foundations of the harmony, ought to be
sonorous, robust, and virile; and the veiled voice cannot ever be so, so behold how nature
brings good out of ill, and we bring good out of defects through study, and let us then emu-
late nature in art.63

It is a general phenomenon nowadays that male singers, noticeably Lieder singers and
particularly baritones, produce a veiled and breathy sound.

Most singers will have trouble spots on certain notes in certain repertoire. The
great art is to make the best of these little defects. Among the historical singers we will
find many singers who were absolutely perfect in all they sang. Patti, Melba, Sembrich
and Nezhdanova belong to this category, but then we have to take into account that
they stuck to the repertoire that suited their type of voice. Melba only once attempted
to sing the role of Brünnhilde in Wagner’s Ring Cycle but realized straightaway that she
would ruin her voice if she continued; in her typically honest and blunt manner she
openly conceded that she had been a fool. Patti attempted to sing Carmen but that was
not a success. Lilli Lehmann struggled with serious problems with her middle voice,
which had became virtually non-existent with advanced age. The transition from chest
to middle posed a real obstacle. This was caused by the fact that she did not have a
good attack and consequently hooted in the middle voice. She made up for her per-
ceived defects, however, by possessing great ease on the high notes. She had an
immensely impressive stage personality combined with self-assurance and stamina that
allowed her to present a fascinating performance. Her singing certainly is completely
personal in its weird technical devices, all invented by a singer of genius who had to
overcome deficient basic knowledge of the laws of vocal production by clever but highly
individual manipulation. Many of her pupils had difficulty in following her instruc-
tions.

5—The Registers 103

Page 111

Instructions of the Old Italian School
for Uniting the Registers in Women’s Voices

For practical guidelines to the union of the registers, we can do no better than
read how Garcia has set them down for us. He begins by revealing the true reason why
teachers generally reject or deny the use of the chest register: not because its use does
not imply great advantages, not because neglect of the low notes robs the singer of her
best dramatic effects and dynamics, but because it needs profound knowledge to study
this register. Misdirected instruction can easily ruin the instrument of the pupil. The
union of the chest register with that of the falsetto can only be established by long and
skillful work. This is why it seems easier and more natural to free oneself of the bur-
den by avoiding it completely. Garcia continues to tell us that as soon as the chest voice
is available, work should begin to unite this register with the next one. It is an excep-
tion when nature has already made this union in a voice. On each of the notes D1, Eb,
E, and F, the exercise64 consists of passing from one register into the other uninterrupted
and without breathing during the transition, at first slowly and sparingly repetitive,
attacking the transition vigorously. Then the speed should be increased as well as the
number of repeats. The first notes will alternatively be chest and falsetto. Garcia stresses
the importance of not being afraid to “give a firm attack to the kind of jerk that links
the transition from one register to the other: only continuous exercise will soften it at
first and next make it disappear.” The chest notes will stop at F. If a certain facility is
achieved this might extended from D to F#. Garcia stresses the importance of giving
the chest notes power as well as the notes of the medium: “One should be careful to
refrain from reducing the brilliancy and the force of the notes of the chest voice, just
as one should give the falsetto all the energy it is capable of.” It is a mistake to give in
to the temptation to reduce the power of the stronger note proportionally to the weaker
one. This will result in weakening the voice.

Garcia concludes with the basic principle of the historical method: “I make the
chest and falsetto register coincide between the five notes C1 to F# inclusive because
one has to have the ability to change register on one of those notes and I evade the
transition on the lowest and the highest notes, because below D1 the falsetto notes
are too weak to be heard and above F# the chest voice will tire the instrument too
much.”65

Furthermore, Garcia says that the same procedure can be applied to male voices,
to unite chest register with falsetto register for tenors in the same way as sopranos, with
baritones and basses a minor third lower. To do justice as a singer to classical reper-
toire, it is necessary to acquire the notes from C1 to F1 in both chest and medium voice.
This means that even within a word one has to be able to transfer from chest to medium
and vice versa smoothly and without any disturbing change in vocal sound.

“Madame Pasta’s incredible mastery of technique is revealed in the amazing facil-
ity with which she alternates head- notes with chest- notes; she possesses to a superla-
tive degree the art of producing an immense variety of charming and thrilling effects

104 The Old Italian School of Singing

Page 219

microphone 27, 101
middle voice 7, 34–35, 59, 62, 72–73, 78, 80, 86,

89, 91, 93–95, 103, 105
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Mendelssohn) 109
Mignon (Ambroise Thomas) 9
Mignon (Goethe) 129
Milton, John 119
“Mon Coeur s’ouvre à ta voix” (Samson and

Delilah) 87
mordent 116
Moreschi, Alessandro 31, 101
Morgenstern, Christian 136
mouth: drooping 76, 79, 81; smiling 32, 60, 73,

75–77, 79–82, 85–86, 92, 122, 126, 161–162

nasality 64–65, 85
Nathan, Isaac 12–13, 28, 43, 48–49, 52–53, 58,

71, 81–82, 91–92, 107, 119–120, 143, 147–148,
152, 155

Nelli, Herva 141
Newton, Ivor 27
Nezhdanova, Antonina 8, 37, 59, 61, 94, 103, 105,

112, 116–117, 119, 137, 143, 149–150
nightingale (bird) 11, 65, 116–117, 120–121, 137, 146
The Nightingale (Alabieff ) 116–117
Nordica, Lilian 8, 43, 52, 131, 140
Norma (Vincenzo Bellini) 103
Nourrit, Adolphe 99, 156

“O ihr kleinmütig Volk” (Christian Morgenstern)
136

Observations on the Florid Song 92; see also Tosi,
Pier Francesco

Olivero, Magda 46, 54, 152
Olivier, Sir Lawrence 125
“Ombra leggiera” (Dinorah) 9
“On Wings of Song” (Mendelssohn) 138
oratorio 154–155
Orfeo (Gluck) 138
overtones 8, 57, 76
Overture to Glory (film) 145
Oysher, Moshe 145

Paderewski, Ignaz 160
palate, hard 57, 60, 62–63, 65–66, 72, 89–90;

soft 24, 59, 64–66
Palestrina, Giovanni Pierluigi 31
“Parigi, o cara” 119; see also La Traviata
Paris Opera 32
Pasqué, Ernst 156–157
Pasta, Giuditta 93, 102, 104, 116–117, 148, 158
Patti, Adelina,, 8, 18, 23, 27, 37, 46, 50, 70, 94,

96–97, 101, 103, 114, 124, 143–144, 150–151
pharynx 16, 27, 35, 50, 59–60, 63, 65–67, 71–72,

78–79, 81–82, 105, 115, 117, 126, 161
phonation 3, 5, 15, 25, 38, 93
phrase 19, 40, 44, 50–54, 83, 85, 96, 113, 121, 121,

127–129, 138–139, 142–143, 145, 147, 162, 182
phren 45
Pilkington, Michael 92; see also Observations on the

Florid Song”
Pirate Dreams 154; see also Schumann- Heink,

Ernestine

pitch 25, 27, 35, 56–57, 63, 75–76, 100, 107,
117–118, 125, 148

Pizzaroni (Pisaroni), Benedetta 93
placement 19, 62, 67, 72, 74, 111–112, 133
Poesie und Musik (Franz Grillparzer) 130
point of control 23, 33–35, 39, 47, 78, 83, 85,

105–106, 110, 112–113, 120, 126
point of pressure 25, 33–34, 39, 42, 49, 55–56,

59, 61, 73, 106, 110, 120, 126
Porpora, Niccolo 49
portamento 109, 113–114
posture 9, 36, 40–44, 46, 52–53, 56, 73, 112, 120,

122, 153, 162
projection 26, 62, 72
pronunciation 5, 14, 36, 84, 87, 110, 123, 126, 128,

130
Purcell, Henry 140
I Puritani (Vincenzo Bellini) 51

Queen of the Night (The Magic Flute) 111
“Qui la voce” (I Puritani) 51

Rachmaninov, Sergei 6–7, 134, 151
recording as an aid to understanding 4–7, 12, 18,

37, 46, 48, 51, 59, 87, 94, 96–97, 116, 118–119,
122, 125, 137, 141, 146, 152–153; negative value
142, 144–145, 150, 160

Reger, Max 149
register 13–14, 33–34, 59, 62, 89–105, 107, 161
“Rejoice Greatly” (The Messiah) 155
Renaissance painting 118, 144
resonance 14, 16, 27, 35, 49, 55–74, 79–83,

88–89, 93, 102, 106, 112, 124, 162; chest 49, 59;
head 61–62, 65–66, 112; nasal 16, 64–69, 71;
natural 55–56, 60, 65, 73, 80, 82; sinus 71–72

resonator 14, 16, 18, 56–57, 63, 70–72, 108, 110,
123, 161

Reszke, Edouard de 69
Reszke, Jean de 67–69
Révész, G. 132–133
Rheinweinlied (Georg Herwegh) 135
Rimsky- Korsakov, Nikolay 148
Ring cycle (Wagner) 103, 131
ring of voice 7, 36, 57, 62, 70, 80
Robin Adair 70, 114
Rodd- Marling, Yvonne see Husler, Frederick
Rokitansky, Freiherr Hans von 69
Romantic Age 114
Romeo and Juliet (Gounod) 94
The Rose and the Nightingale (Rimsky- Korsakov) 137
Rosina (Barber of Seville) 148
Rossini, Gioachino 9, 80, 95, 98–99, 102,

106–107, 110–111, 113–117, 120, 148, 161
rubato 149
Rubinstein, Arthur 30
Rudersdorff, Hermine 20

Salomon, Eugène de 120
Samson and Delilah (Camille Saint- Saëns) 87
Santley, Sir Charles 8, 13, 18–19, 28, 37, 41, 90, 110
Scaria, Emil 69
Schmidt, Joseph 91
Schmitt, Friedrich 19, 120

212 Index

Page 220

Index 213

Schnorr von Carolsfeld, Ludwig 133
Schonberg, Harold 137
Schubert, Franz 129, 135, 144, 152–153, 189
Schumann, Robert 129, 144
Schumann- Heink, Ernestine 8, 28–29, 35, 75,

92, 97, 153
Sembrich, Marcella 8, 19, 50–51, 61, 101, 103, 105,

119
“Sevillana” (Don César de Bazan) 113
Shakespeare, William (playwright) 119
“Sicilian Cart- Driver’s Song” 7
sinus- tone 13; see also resonance
Sirota, Gershon 91
Sistine Chapel 30–31
smile 29, 35, 50, 52, 60, 73, 76–78, 82, 88, 122,

137, 154, 179; artificial 77; natural 29, 75, 77, 80
Snegurotchka (The Snow Maiden) 148
Sobinov, Leonid 9, 99
solfeggi 20, 29, 88, 108, 110–111, 115–116, 151, 161
le son piqué 22
La Sonnambula (Vincenzo Bellini) 46
Sonnleithner, Leopold von 152–153
sonority 25, 27, 31, 49
soprano voice 11, 20, 59, 62, 96–97, 109, 112
speech therapist 23
spiccato 22
staccato 23, 69, 106, 109, 111–113
Stendhal (Henri Beyle) 97, 102, 134, 158
Stockhausen, Julius 13, 28, 31, 87–88, 112
Stradal, August 142
Strauss, Richard 138, 149
“stroke of the glottis” 15, 17–22, 24, 36, 62, 107,

112–113, 184; see also “coup de glotte”
style 11, 30–31, 108, 114–115, 121, 135, 140–141, 149,

159
Sullivan, Ann 34
Supervia, Conchita 8
Sutherland, Joan 71–72, 140
“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” 143

Tadolini, Eugenia 154
Tagliavini, Ferruccio 9, 44, 54, 57, 61, 99
Tancredi (Gioachino Rossini) 117
Tannhäuser (Wagner) 133
Tauber, Richard 9, 44, 54, 91, 100, 127, 144
Taubert, Carl 117
Taylor, Robert M. 71
“Tell’s Prayer” (Guillaume Tell ) 157
tempo 7, 9, 50, 112, 137–138, 146, 149, 153
tenor voice 9, 23, 30, 98–100, 103–104
Tetrazzini, Luisa 13, 18, 25, 28, 37, 47, 49, 59, 61,

67, 73, 78, 80, 101, 105, 116
Thomas, Ambroise 9, 25, 113
Thursby, Emma 20, 150, 159
timbre 6, 18, 30, 45–46, 56, 60, 64, 68, 78–79,

85, 87–88, 90, 95, 98, 102–103, 123–124, 126,
129, 136–137, 141, 147–149, 156, 158; bright 64,
79, 95, 124; dark 56, 79, 95, 129, 156; sombre
124

Tosca (Puccini) 46
Toscanini, Arturo 132, 137, 141

Tosi, Pier Francesco 12–13, 26, 28, 31, 64–65, 75,
88, 91, 120, 123, 150–151, 162

trachea 48, 71; see also windpipe
tracheitis 68
tradition 69, 90, 138, 141, 144
Traité complet de l’art du chant 36, 90; see also

Garcia, Manuel, Jr.
La Traviata (Giuseppe Verdi) 78, 111, 116, 119, 150
“Trees” (Rasbach) 154
tremolo 48, 118, 157
trill 65, 112, 116–117, 162
trillo di caprino (trillo cavalino) 117
trumpet 10, 28, 33, 39, 42, 55, 62, 73, 106
Tucker, Richard 9, 44, 47, 91, 99

Ungher- Sabatier, Caroline 147, 149
Urlus, Jacques 85–86, 126
Usatov, Dimitri 48

Valentine 127 see Les Huguenots
veiled voice 92, 103, 117
ventricles 49, 60–61, 66, 81, 93
ventriloquist 30
Verdi, Giuseppe 77–78, 132–133, 137, 139, 141,

147, 151–152, 154, 159
Via Crucis (Franz Liszt) 19
Viardot, Pauline 127, 142
vibrato 105, 118–119
vibrator 13, 16, 57–59, 78–79, 83–84, 108, 110,

123, 127, 161; see also larynx
violin 10–11, 16, 28, 35–36, 39, 55, 62, 81, 108,

110, 118, 124
vocal cords 8, 21, 23–24, 26–27, 32–33, 42, 50,

59, 61, 65, 68, 82, 95, 99, 111, 181
vocalization 9, 28, 80, 95, 106, 109–111, 113–116,

120
voce di petto 90–92, 94, 99; see also chest voice
voce di testa 90–92, 94; see also head voice
“Una voce poco fa” (Barber of Seville) 148
“Voi che sapete”(Mozart) 46
La Voix et le chant ( Jean-Baptiste Faure) 20, 101
voix sombre 157; see also timbre
voix- violon 39
vowels 5, 14, 17–18, 22–25, 27–29, 31–32, 34–37,

46, 57–62, 65, 70, 73, 75–77, 79–80, 82–88,
92, 94, 99, 106–108, 110–112, 114–115, 119–120,
122–127, 129–130, 139, 145, 149, 161

Wagner, Richard 67, 85, 102–103, 112, 124, 131,
133–134

Weber, Carl Maria von 140–141
“Wer nie sein Brod mit Thränen aß” (Schubert)

153
windpipe 25, 34, 36, 48–49, 58–59, 61, 63, 118,

126
wobble 48, 102, 118
Wolf, Hugo 144
wolf tone 65
Wood, Sir Henry 7–8, 13, 46, 67, 148, 161

YouTube 9, 44, 46

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