Bel Canto: A History of Vocal Pedagogy by James Stark

By James Stark

In this good documented and hugely readable publication, James Stark offers a background of vocal pedagogy from the start of the bel canto culture of solo making a song within the overdue 16th and early 17th centuries to the current. utilizing a nineteenth-century treatise through Manuel Garcia as his element of reference, Stark analyses the various assets that debate making a song innovations and selects a few fundamental vocal 'problems' for certain research. He additionally offers facts from a chain of laboratory experiments performed to illustrate the concepts of bel canto.

The dialogue bargains widely with such subject matters because the emergence of virtuoso making a song, the castrato phenomenon, nationwide variations in making a song kinds, controversies concerning the perennial decline within the paintings 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 old and medical descriptions of fine making a song. His is a clean and profound dialogue of matters very important to all singers and voice teachers.

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Extra info for Bel Canto: A History of Vocal Pedagogy

Sample text

Welltrained opera singers, on the other hand, should be able to sing with varying degrees of glottal closure, low larynx, and subglottal pressure, in order to meet the expressive needs of different styles and moods of music. In short, better controls are required in experiments where glottal closure is a factor.

In her own vocal manual, Méthod de chant théorique et pratique (École Marchesi), first published in Paris around 1885 with several later editions, Marchesi followed Garcia’s instructions for the coup de la glotte closely. She described prephonatory set by saying that ‘the glottis must be closed an instant before Expiration commences; in other words, it should be prepared’ (Marchesi 1970, xii). Like Garcia, she also recognized the importance of the coup de la glotte to the continuation of the tone: If the Vocal Cords are not firmly and evenly closed throughout their entire extent at the instant that the air commences to escape from the lungs, the lips of the glottis being unable to fully contract during Expiration, the sound will be weak and hoarse ...

It is extremely difficult to find alternative terms which would appropriately capture the underlying generality of differences in overall muscular tension between the two categories’ (Laver 1980, 146). Garcia’s ‘pinched glottis,’ Mackenzie’s ‘stop-closure,’ Pressman’s ‘damping factor,’ Catford’s ‘anterior phonation’ and Laver’s ‘tense’ voice are all descriptions of a shortened glottis which results from strong glottal closure. While the shortened glottis seems to be a well- 26 Bel Canto accepted theory among some researchers, more laboratory research into glottal closure is needed in order to produce the objective data that would better describe the exact nature of the shortened glottis.

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