How to Sing, Illustrated Tutorial, Index and Intro

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My Purpose 1 My Title to write on the Art of Song . . 5

SECTION I Preliminary Practice...... ll

SECTION II Of the Breath........ 19

SECTION III Of the Breath and Whirling Currents . . 27

SECTION IV The Singer's Physiological Studies ... 35

SECTION V Equalizing the Voice; Breath; Form . . 45

SECTION VI The Attack........ 69

SECTION VII Nasal. Nasal Singing ...... 73

SECTION VIII Singing toward the Nose. Head Voice . . 78

SECTION IX The Head Voice....... 86

SECTION X Sensation and Position of the Tongue . . 99

SECTION XI The Sensations of the Palate .... 102

SECTION XII The Sensation of the Resonance of the Head Cavities 108

SECTION XIII Singing Covered....... 123

SECTION XIV On Vocal Registers....... 133

SECTION XV Development and Equalization .... 142

SECTION XVI White Voices........ 154

SECTION XVII Theodor Wachtel....... 158

SECTION XVIII The Highest Head Tones ..... 162

SECTION XIX Extension of the Compass and Equalization of Registers ........ 169

SECTION XX The Tremolo........ 170

SECTION XXI The Cure......... 176

SECTION XXII The Tongue........ 181

SECTION XXIII Preparation for Singing..... 189

SECTION XXIV The Position of the Mouth (Contraction of the Muscles of Speech) ..... 192

SECTION XXV Connection of Vowels...... 196

SECTION XXVI The Lips....... . . 212

SECTION XXVII The Vowel Sound AH . . . . . . 214

SECTION XXVIII Italian and German...... 219

SECTION XXIX Auxiliary Vowels \...... 226

SECTION XXX Resonant Consonants ...... 229

SECTION XXXI Pbactical Exercises...... 232

SECTION XXXII The Great Scale ...... . 239

SECTION XXXIII VelocitY.........245

SECTION XXXIV Trill . . . . . ->..... 251

SECTION XXXV How to hold One's Self when Practising 256

SECTION XXXVI Concerning Expression >..... 263

SECTION XXXVII Before the Public ...... 265

SECTION XXXVIII Interpretation ........ 270

SECTION XXXIX In Conclusion........ 279

Note. — A Good Remedy for Catarrh and Hoarseness 281


My purpose is to discuss simply, intelli-
gibly, yet from a scientific point of view, the
sensations known to us in singing, and ex-
actly ascertained in my experience, by the ex-
pressions " singing open," " covered," " dark,"
"nasal," "in the head," or "in the neck,"
"forward," or "back." These expressions
correspond to our sensations in singing; but
they are unintelligible as long as the causes
of those sensations are unknown, and every-
body has a different idea of them. Many
singers try their whole lives long to produce
them and never succeed. This happens be-
cause science understands too little of singing,
the singer too little of science. I mean that
the physiological explanations of the highly
complicated processes of singing are not
plainly enough put for the singer, who has
to concern himself chiefly with his sensations

in singing and guide himself by them. Sci-
entific men are not at all agreed as to the
exact functions of the several organs; the
humblest singer knows something about them.
Every serious artist has a sincere desire to
help others reach the goal — the goal toward
which all singers are striving: to sing well
and beautifully.

The true art of song has always been pos-
sessed and will always be possessed by such
individuals as are dowered by nature with
all that is needful for it — that is, healthy
vocal organs, uninjured by vicious habits of
speech; a good ear, a talent for singing,
intelligence, industry, and energy.

In former times eight years were devoted
to the study of singing — at the Prague Con-
servatory, for instance. Most of the mis-
takes and misunderstandings of the pupil
could be discovered before he secured an en-
gagement, and the teacher could spend so'
much time in correcting them that the pupil
learned to pass judgment on himself properly.



But art to-day must be pursued like
everything else, by steam. Artists are turned
out in factories, that is, in so-called conserva-
tories, or by teachers who give lessons ten or
twelve hours a day. In two years they
receive a certificate of competence, or at
least the diploma of the factory. The latter,
especially, I consider a crime, that the state
should prohibit.

All the inflexibility and unskilfulness, mis-
takes and deficiencies, which were formerly
disclosed during a long course of study, do
not appear now, under the factory system,
until the student's public career has begun.
There can be no question of correcting them,
for there is no time, no teacher, no critic;
and the executant has learned nothing, abso-
lutely nothing, whereby he could undertake
to distinguish or correct them.

The incompetence and lack of talent white-
washed over by the factory concern lose only
too soon their plausible brilliancy. A failure
in life is generally the sad end of such a



factory product; and to factory methods the
whole art of song is more and more given
over as a sacrifice.

I cannot stand by and see these things
with indifference. My artistic conscience
urges me to disclose all that I have learned
and that has become clear to me in the
course of my career, for the benefit of art;
and to give up my " secrets," which seem to
be secrets only because students so rarely
pursue the path of proper study to its end.
If artists, often such only in name, come to
a realization of their deficiencies, they lack
only too frequently the courage to acknowl-
edge them to others. Not until we artists
all reach the point when we can take counsel
with each other about our mistakes and defi-
ciencies, and discuss the means for overcom-
ing them, putting our pride in our pockets,
will bad singing and inartistic effort be
checked, and our noble art of singing come
into its rights again.




Rarely are so many desirable and neces-
sary antecedents united as in my case.

The child of two singers, my mother being
gifted musically quite out of the common,
and active for many years not only as a
dramatic singer, but also as a harp virtuoso,
I, with my sister Marie, received a very
careful musical education; and later a nota- ■
ble course of instruction in singing from her.
From my fifth year on I listened daily to
singing lessons; from my ninth year I played
accompaniments on the pianoforte, sang all
the missing parts, in French, Italian, German,
and Bohemian; got thoroughly familiar with
all the operas, and very soon knew how to ,
tell good singing from bad. Our mother
took care, too, that we should hear all the
visiting notabilities of that time in opera as
well as in concert; and there were many of
them every year at the Deutsches Landes-
theater in Prague.


She herself had found a remarkable singing
teacher in the Frankfort basso, Foppel; and
kept her voice noble, beautiful, young, and
strong to the end of her life,—that is, till
' her seventy-seventh year, — notwithstanding
enormous demands upon it and many a blow
of fate. She could diagnose a voice infalli-
bly; but required a probation of three to
four months to test talent and power of
making progress.

I have been on the stage since my eigh-
teenth year; that is, for thirty-four years.
In Prague I took part every day in operas,
operettas, plays, and farces. Thereafter in
Danzig I sang from eighteen to twenty
times a month in coloratura and soubrette
parts; also in Leipzig, and later, fifteen
years in Berlin. In addition I sang in very
many oratorios and concerts, and gave lessons
now and then.

As long as my mother lived she was my
severest critic, never satisfied. Finally I be-
came such for myself. Now fifteen years



more have passed, of which I spent eight
very exacting ones as a dramatic singer in
America, afterward fulfilling engagements as
a star, in all languages, in Germany, Austria,
Hungary, France, England, and Sweden. My
study of singing, nevertheless, was not re-
laxed. I kept it up more and more zeal-
ously by myself, learned something from
everybody, learned to hear myself and others.
For many years I have been devoting my-
self . to the important questions relating to
singing, and believe that I have finally found
what I have been seeking. It has been my
endeavor to set down as clearly as possible all
that I have learned through zealous, conscien-
tious study by myself and with others, and
thereby to offer to my colleagues something
that will bring order into the chaos of their
methods of singing; something based on sci-
ence as well as on sensations in singing;
something that will bring expressions often
misunderstood into clear relation with the
exact functions of the vocal organs.



In what I have just said I wish to give
a sketch of my career only to show what my
voice has endured, and why, notwithstanding
the enormous demands I have made upon it,
it has lasted so well. One who has sung for
a short time, and then has lost his voice, and
for this reason becomes a singing teacher, has
never sung consciously; it has simply been an
accident, and this accident will be repeated,
for good or for ill, in his pupils.

The talent in which all the requirements of
an artist are united is very rare. Real tal-
ent will get along, even with an inferior
teacher, in some way or another; while the
best teacher cannot produce talent where
there is none. Such a teacher, however, will
not beguile people with promises that cannot
be kept.

My chief attention I devote to artists,
whom I can, perhaps, assist in their diffi-
cult, but glorious, profession. One is never
done with learning; and that is especially
true of singers. I earnestly hope that I may



leave them something, in my researches, ex-
periences, and studies, that will be of use. I
regard it as my duty; and I confide it to all
who are striving earnestly for improvement.