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Music from the South. 109
The men of France are largely to be distinguished by a mixed voice, neither conscientiously tenor nor honestly bass. This will be seen by their operas: those of Gluck, for instance, are so written as to be very difficult of execution to the bass singers of other countries.
Such men in comic opera were Calliot, whom Burney describes; Martin;—in our own day,Chollet, for whom Herold's 'Zampa' was written.
Then, again, in France will largely be found the high male counter-tenor organ, which justified the sarcasm, ' That or the other nose has a good voice} whereas the low female or contralto voice has been always rare; I cannot recollect a solitary French example. So much for peculiarities of register: generally, the quality of vocal tone, take it in what scale you will, is inferior, harsh, poor, not winning; nor can this wholly lie on the difficulties of the language. The close vowels of France are not so directly opposed to amenity of sound as the guttural consonants of Germany and the sibilants of England.
The French appreciation of suavity of tone, moreover, may be described as having kept pace with the supply. The lady who, as a stage widow in a