Professional singing is not natural and it is a wearing activity, that’s why you need a technique. A technique, a good technique, will make yourself and nobody notice those two things and that’s why it is so important for singers to build a proper technique instrument, and for us the professional of voice to ajourn our tools and adjust and evolve them with the evolution of music.
In vocal technique to solve a technical point often means to make in the perception of the singer the disappearing of the question. This is the case for the passaggi, or vocal bridges. When truly solved the mechanism to adapt gesture and postures and muscles work and copertura will make the singer never perceive that such passaggio do exist.
* This is one of the typical examples of how a technical level will give opposite perceptions, even if from a physiological level the question is the same. In a technical solved level the singer will say exactly the opposite of the not solved singer about any question.
LILLI LEHMAN: SINGING TOWARD THE NOSE. HEAD VOICE
When the peak of the softest part of the palate is placed forward toward the nose, instead of being drawn up high behind the nose, as in the head voice (see plate, head voice and nasal tone), it forms a kind of nasal production which, as I have already said, cannot be studied enough, because it produces very noble tonal effects and extraordinary connections. It ought always to be employed. By it is effected the connection of tones with eachother, from the front teeth back to a point under the nose; from the lower middle tones to the head tones. In truth, all the benefit of tonal connection depends upon this portion of the soft palate; that is, upon its conscious employment.
This is all that singers mean when they[Pg 79] speak of “nasal singing”—really only singing toward the nose. The soft palate placed toward the nose offers a resonating surface for the tone.
The reason why teachers tell their pupils so little of this is that many singers are quite ignorant of what nasal singing means, and are tormented by the idea of “singing toward the nose,” when by chance they hear something about it. They generally regard the voice as one complete organ acting by itself, which is once for all what it is. What can be made of it through knowledge of the functions of all the coöperating organs they know nothing of.
Blind voices are often caused by the exaggerated practice of closing off the throat too tightly from the head cavities; that is, drawing the pillars of the fauces too far toward the wall of the throat. The large resonating chamber thus formed yields tones that are powerful close at hand, but they do not carry, because they are poor in overtones.[Pg 80] The mistake consists in the practice of stretching the pillars too widely in the higher vocal ranges, also. In proportion as the pillars are extended, the breath spreads over the entire palate, instead of being concentrated on only one point of it, and bringing at the same time the resonance of the head cavities into play. The soft palate must first be drawn up to, then behind, the nose, and the attack of the higher tones be transferred thither. The pillars of the fauces must necessarily be relaxed by this action of the soft palate. Thereby breath is introduced into the cavities of the head to form the overtones, which contribute brilliancy and freshness to the voice.
Many singers persist in the bad habit here described, as long as nature can endure it; in the course of time, however, even with the most powerful physiques, they will begin to sing noticeably flat; with less powerful, the fatal tremolo will make its appearance, which results in the ruin of so many singers.
The same pressure can be associated to strain or perfect phonation. There are many ways to produce the same pressure: creating it before the attack, on the attack, with a certain speed, at a precise speed and with or without suspension, with some muscles and timing and reciprocal order of movement, putting a tension in some part and then just creating a slight tension in another part to create conditions for the attack etc. Understanding this is fundamental to have a correct attack and many different ways of attacks accorded to musical and interpretative requirements.
It is called fiato (breath) a certain precise movement of connection bewteen a pressure under the glottis and the voice, being that not a flow of air despite the name. It is a force, a pressure in the muscles, a lightness in the throat, a point of concentration, a posture given by a precise muscular movement.
Often it is said that the larynx has to be low; and in my experience this is often a misunderstood concept. In the high notes it has to be high enough to be correct for their production. There is a range of movement that is correct for voices and notes production and it is in this range that we have to manage its movement. Tha larynx has to be in that range for every note, just lowering in the moment of voice production. To have in all the extension an innatural low larynx will create more problems then it solves, and will need an exaggerate need of pressure that can be accepted and desired only for the last notes of each tessitura or in certain cases of belting. The larynx will come up and down in a controlled way along the tessitura, just it will lower a bit in the correct attack.
One of the fundamental points in technique is when and with what position making the first turn, also called copertura. Great part of national schools and national taste in sound is given by this position and way of making the copertura. If you prefer you can think about it as the first point in which you make the turn of the larynx, being the second the necessary one to obtain the high notes in female voices, falsetto in men and a certain kind of successive slightly turn for high notes in men voices that don’t desire a falsetto sound.
It gives the clear and precise english sound in medium and medium high register with its quite high position and the habit of not getting below, the somewhat flatted and falsetto sound in France, the velvet and lightness of accent and high tones in the spanish due to the involvement of soft palato to obtain the copertura, the always connected to sustain of american school that gives more strenght to the nearly same position then english school but less poetry in the ovetornes, the low position in german school that need to put some intubation to make the turn possible and connected, the perfect balance of all these elements in italian belcanto school, the slightly below positions of the swedish italian belcanto that gives more weight by the lower positin, the russian school which now is the closest to the italian belcanto we have.
The first turning oint can be moved and managed both by pronounciation or use of mask muscles and soft palate or nose inside muscles and the sustain and appoggio muscles and the posture in itself. It is something to think about when starting a training and also it is to have a strategy about according to repertoire and market in which the singer is working.