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VOCAL TECHNIQUE                    13
When I taught myself how to breathe, I used the foregoing song as an example for controlling my respiration. In the beginning I sang four measures and I was obliged to take breath.
I then began my physical exercises. Three weeks later I could sing eight measures before again taking breath and was able to complete the whole refrain with the sole respiration taken at the start.
Then I continued to practice the prolonging of my respiration patiently, methodically, and slowly, and could add after five weeks another eight measures of the first stanza.
It was, however, martyrdom when I tried to stop at the point d'orgue (organ point) of the seventeenth measure. The stop, indeed, was necessary for the sake of preserving the special and characteristic grace of this eighteenth century music in which the song is written.
I succeeded by practicing and was able to sing the first sixteen measures with the single respiration oVattaque.
At last to make the virtuosity triumph it was necessary to add to the verse the refrain of the song. That means another five measures — which was easy, owing to the gymnastic ex­ercises practiced with the same refrain at the beginning of the song.

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III