Tips Copertura: everybody the same?

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.

Tips Vocal logic

For a singer or a performer it is often more effective looking for vocal solutions thinking in a way that has a vocal logic instead of a truer one. We have a point of acting to obtain the voice so deformed by instrument way of being built and related and cohordinated and the fact that we are inside that we have to accept and make allied this deformation. The vocal correct gesture acts in all its possibilities only from a vocal way of perceiving and thinking; if we know that well we don’t need to make confusion bewteen what and how we think to sing and how we really act to sing.

Basics Where to feel appoggio and sustain

There is only a way of being appoggiati and sostenuti, and it depends on a certain precise connection between diaphragm and larynx. You can hear it in a certain kind of overtones for the sustain and a related way for the appoggio, being that relation perfect when you can correctly execute a messa di voce (from pianissimo to forte or fortissimo and back to pianissimo). The way you perceive them and where you feel in the body depends on style, vocal range, individual body and body specifities, technical level (the higher level pass from a point of similarities of perceptions). All the places everybody can feel must work during the correct vocal gesture, so often in the training we have to work what you will never feel while singing, because it is the balance of all the places of diaphragm insertions with some wanted overacting that make the correct appoggio and sustain for style and voice.
On this subject one of the more common mistakes is to overwork the insertion you want to be heard in the sound, without noticing that it is the lack of some others that make its work not satisfing, the second being the fear for the overdoing of some specifics and the choice to make every voice simply and prudently just balanced without any specifics (losing in that way what of personal and truly specific a voice can produce in a deeper level).

On contemporary voice

One thing that has been a defeat to classical singers and teachers, and still persists as an issue, is the comprehension of musical and sound requires by voices used for contemporary purposes and the reject of some sounds in the voice. We (classical singers and techers category) have not made properly, in the past 40 years, the path toward the appreciation, the recognition and the knowledge about pop, rap, jazz, rock and extensively contemporary voices and so depriving of the appropriates and correct tools coming from our technique for this different kind of use of voice instrument. I still hear judgements on the quality of sounds in classical terms to judge and comprehend those voices. Please make a step forward  and understand that many things can be done even with not round and classically sustained sounds, as my work and many singers show. They need our tools, modified and readjusted for their sound and we need to be and to shape and use the knowledge we have for musical needs and not ideal singers of always the same repertoire.

Diaframma

Diaframma: l’unica respirazione che non è diaframmatica è l’assenza di respirazione. Se il diaframma non lavora siamo morti. Ci son modalità di lavoro del diaframma che presentano storture di vario tipo e praticamente un solo modo di averlo che lavori in modo davvero corretto e non è detto che solo se è del tutto corretto sia possibile un buon gesto vocale, che può essere presente anche se il lavoro del diaframma non è ciò che in teoria denota un respiro perfetto. Certe deformazioni impediscono l’utilizzazione degli strumenti del cantante, di cui il diaframma e il suoi agganci sono una parte, ma che non coincidono con il respiro automatico e il lavoro del diaframma stesso per respirare.

*All’interno di questi margini, allenamenti e utilizzazioni è buona parte della tecnica vocale. Io chiamo tecnica una maniera efficace, ripetibile e non dannosa di ottenere dei risultati musicali.

**Alcuni difetti che vanno corretti in alcuni in altri vanno ignorati o al massimo contenuti per non essere di impedimento, ma se fanno parte della ricerca espressiva e musicale e son parte della sua efficacia vanno il più possibile preservati.
*** Quest’ultima cosa anche detta: non tutti i settaggi devono essere uguali e non tutti devono cantare nello stesso modo.

On breath and appoggio

What is breathing for singing? What is correct breathing? Is it different from normal correct breathing? What are the muscles related? Which muscles have we to work to obtain a good singing breath?
The ancient methods talk about an appoggio (a sort of stand, of pillar) the voice find in a correct breath and of floating on the breath, of singing on the soffio (a gentle, very gentle blow) of the breathing. When we do sing well we lose the exact perception of the air going out and we just perceive a sound around us and a sort of lightness mixed to a sense of solidity and that’s what we call appoggio. How can we find appoggio? This is one of the most important questions of singing. It is normally the result of a good technique work, and it is essential to have the pressure without effort to make the vocal folds work properly. It is in some sort the way to make air become sound and energy, and not a rough blowing air. I tell my students to imagine that with appoggio air becomes water, a living water on which we surf. A sea or a lake or an ocean, it depends on the music we are singing, but not a geyser going out but something that become elastic on which we can float and jump and play surfing on the waves. It is a sort of pressure the air will have under the larynx that you will not feel as a pressure in a water gun for garden ready to be open, but just a freedom and a consistence in the body. This because we can augment the pressure by breathing out the air or by creating an opposition between the muscles of expiration and those which provoke inspiration. In the first case we will have not a good air for singing while in the second case all our air will become ready to become just sound and not to be rough to our larynx or vocal folds. I found very useful the osteopathic conception of breathing which is not that far from yoga conception (the true things relate all to the same, just the use or the path to join those is different). To osteopathy we have three horizontal structures involved in breathing: one under clavicular, the proper diaphragm and the pelvic diaphragm. Those horizontal structures in a good respiration move accorded one to the other. The clavicular for the voice is involved in the throat opening (also Jerzy Grotowski found that evidence in his acting technique), the proper diaphragm goes up and down in exhalation and inhalation, and it is just involuntary as the hearth. The pelvic one is composed by muscles that make lateral and backward-forward movement. A great part of singing technique is related to the possibility in controlling the diaphragm by the structures to which is anchored, and many are absolutely useful and good for many purposes. The new step I found in my experience is to control the effort and the wrong attack of sound by the training or retraining of pelvic diaphragm, which is directly related to the proper diaphragm. We can have easy pressure by opposing voluntarily the inspiratory muscles of pelvic diaphragm during phonation. I found very healthy to coordinate sound attack to a muscular inspiration through some studied movements that will have the result of an opposition of inspiratory and expiratory forces and a phonation with no effort. When this opposition is present the voice has the appoggio. With this simple appoggio and without a voluntary use of all the sustain muscles normally used in vocal technique in my experience I find an easy elastic voice that permits to work on faulty coordination of others part of the instrument voice. For a performing voice it will lack of some support sometimes, but it will be easy to add it when the fundamental defaults are extinguished and the gain in term of capacity of shaping new coordination is quite relevant. In a not so faulty voice I will add the necessary support by appropriate vocalisation and by appropriate repertoire. I usually wait the moment in which the attack of the sound has joined a good automatic coordination so to seem totally natural to teach the voluntary supports to obtain a voluntary work on sound more refined. The pelvic diaphragm often is not properly working and I have developed many exercises to work it and relate it to the voice, exercise anybody of any age can do. Results have been surprising also to me in profesional singers with or without problems, in some damaged vocal folds, in adolescents during the changing of the voice.