February 22, 2017

La Tagliana

It is an open secret that the first love affair of the late heir to the Austrian throne was with a beautiful young Italian singer, Mlle. Emilia Tagliana. She was the pupil of my dear old Maestro Lamperti, and studied with him in the Milan Conservatory. After a novitiate in a few Italian theatres, Mlle. Tagliana was engaged at the Ring Theatre (of ill-fated memory), and it was while shed was singing there that the Crown Prince saw, heard and fell in love with this little artitste. They were both very young, and for a time no notice was taken of this youthful Romeo and Juliet, but finally Prince Rudolph declared his intention of espousing (morganatically) La Tagliana, and then, of course, there was trouble. The lovers were at once separated, Mlle. Tagliana being packed off to Italy and forbidden to set foot in Austria, and the Crown Prince sent on a tour of the Orient, guarded by tutors, etc. On his return a bride was ready, and nolens volens he was wedded to the blue-eyed Princes Stephanie of Belgium. 

La Tagiana in the meantime came down to Lake Como, where she passed the summer, with many others of Lamperti's pupils, of whom I was one at the time. Her romance and her petite, graceful figure, with great melting dark eyes and delicate features, her air of melancholy and sweet, pathetic voice, were all familiar enough to the students gathered there round the old maestro. We regarded her with admiring awe, and, of course, sympathized ardently with her love idyl. After the prince was safely wedded, Mlle. went to sing at Berlin, and finally drifted back again to Vienna. The gossip of that most gossipy city always has it that the prince remained faithful to "love's young dream," so far as he could be and the fair Princess Stephanie was openly jealous of the dark-eyed singer. I do know what became of La Tagliana, as I never saw her again after that one summer on Lake Como. 

"Rudolph's First Love," The Press, February 24, 1889: page 14. 


What the annoymous writer of this writer did not know was that Tagliana apparently died in poverty, far from the glittering stage, thoughts of princes and the world of Lamperti. As a coloratura soprano, Tagliana sang the leading role of Carmen with great success. Would that happen today? Not a chance. Meanwhile, the Crown Prince, La Tagliana's one-time lover, ended his life trajectory in suicide. 

February 20, 2017

Five Elementary Vowels

The old Italian and German masters, whose schools produced such excellent singers of both sexes, show by their writings that their first endeavour was to teach their pupils how to form a beautiful tone and to render their voices flexible and of a telling quality. There was no question of exercises in a large compass, nor of developing a powerful tone on one vowel, as is now the fashion. In the elementary instruction—that is to say, in the solfeggio—our ancestors began by teaching how to establish and sustain the voice. They next proceeded to exercises in a small compass, such as are provided by ornaments (appoggiaturas, turns, mordents, etc.), and then let their pupils practice on the five elementary vowels and without accompaniment. We have to proceed in the same way if we wish our pupils to acquire not only a powerful, but also a beautiful and expressive tone, a flexible voice, and good pronunciation.

Stockhausen, Julius. Extract from "A Method of Singing," The Voice,  April 1888: page 58.



Stockhausen was a fellow student of Jenny Lind in the studio of Manuel García and went on to become one of the great Lieder singers of his generation as well as García's representative in Germany. In the passage above, he illustrates the simple methodology of the old Italian school which began with the formation of a beautiful tone, then progressed to the practice of the five Italian vowels without accompaniment. I can't tell you how many students would rather skip this stage of development. However, there is no getting around it. Either you master your vowels, or you don't. And if you don't, the voice never really improves.

February 19, 2017

Falsetto Rant

I would say a few words in regard to vocal methods. All voices should be educated in some distinct school of vocal culture. The one who claims to teach his own method must surely be a brave man. Individual methods should be ignored. There is no method better than that which has made the Pattis, the Albanis, the Carringtons, the Gersters, the Ravellis, the Gallassis, the Del Puentes. 

There are three recognized schools of vocal culture, viz.: The Italian, the French, and the German. The Italian is the safest, and the only proper school for the culture of the voice. The French school is similar, still it varies to quite an extent in the culture of the male voice, inasmuch as it gives singular prominence to the falsetto tone. The German school treats the male voice in the same manner. In the French and German theatres, these tones are used, but in the Italian theatre this sort of voice is never permitted to be made use of. The special study of the falsetto tone is unnecessary. If the voice be placed properly, the most sotto voce tone can be easily produced. There is no harm done to the voice in the study of the falsetto tone, but it is a loss of time. Continuous words sung in the falsetto register, always sound weak and lacking in character. The abrupt transition from the chest to the falsetto tone, as is often heard in the singing of Capoul and Campanini is extremely disagreeable to hear. All German vocal teachers do not teach the German method. This school of vocal culture produces loud, screamy voices, and is injurious to the health, hence I am sure there are Germans in this convention who do not endorse it. This school aims at fullness in all the registers of the voice. The chest-tones are carried very high, the medium also, and the head-tones are made with the larynx forced down, thus producing an artificial fulness. This excessive volume robs the voice of height of compass, and agility. The physiological result is often a burning sensation in the throat, accompanied by great fatigue after singing, often resulting in bronchial haemorrhages, and sometimes in consumption and death. Several cases of this kind have come under my own observation.

A knowledge of vocal physiology. which means a knowledge of the muscles, and nerves which control them, and which come into play in the production of tone, and the practical application of them, I believe to be essential for all those who would become first in the profession of voice-culture; and I would earnestly urge all young teachers of the voice to give special attention to this subject. It is true, that lectures alone upon the subject of vocal physiology would never make one sing, but one who teaches should understand the subject, that he may teach safely, and without experimenting. For example, by this knowledge one learns that certain muscles cause throaty tones and that there are antagonistic muscles which remedy this defect, hence he is able to apply this knowledge in the most expeditious, practical and beneficial manner. Many examples might be given showing how this knowledge may be applied. In proportion as one understands this subject, in the same proportion must he be a better teacher. One should take a broad view of this voice-subject and avoid being bigoted, or too conservative, and also be chary of new methods.

Wheeler, Harry J. The Voice, 1884: page 188.


A student of both Manuel García and Francesco Lamperti, Wheeler is commenting on an address by a colleague in the passage above. What caught my attention are Wheeler's observations on various methods as well as his pithy words regarding male falsetto.
The special study of the falsetto tone is unnecessary. If the voice be placed properly, the most sotto voce tone can be easily produced. There is no harm done to the voice in the study of falsetto tone, but it is a loss of time.
The idea that old Italian school voice teachers going back to Porpora and Caccini taught their students to sing in falsetto is not supported by the historical record. Not this record anyway. Even more erroneous is the notion that falsetto was a means to an end. This record doesn't support that notion either: In Wheeler's world, there was a correct way to sing sotto voce and falsetto wasn't it. That it involved voice placement is perhaps the biggest clue.

Find out more about Wheeler and his teaching using the label below. You can also find him on the download page. 

February 16, 2017

Technique Before Repertoire

WE have solicited the views of distinguished singers and practical and successful teachers upon the following points of moment to the profession and to prospective pupils: 

Questions 


  1. Conservatories of music are multiplying. What are the advantages and the disadvantages of conservatory work? 
  2. How often should singing-lessons be taken in order to secure the best and most permanent results? What arguments can you advance in support of your opinion? 
  3. Do you approve of pupils asking part regularly in church-choirs or other singing-societies while undergoing instruction? Why? 
  4. What means can be recommend to get pupils before the public? 

Answer 


Mme. Anna Lankow, Concert Singer and Voice Teacher 

  1. Having studied in the three most renowned German conservatories, Cologne, Leipsiz, and Dresden, and taught for four years at the Berlin Scharwenka Conservatory, I do not hesitate to reply to this question. My experience convinces me that no one can acquire a thorough knowledge of the art of voice-production (pure and simple) in the limited time allotted to each pupil by the "conservatory" method. There are undoubtedly advantages in class-lesson, provided this general study is supplemented by private and special enlightenment—as is done in Germany. Each pupil has individual defects which need special instruction by a gifted teacher; for without the solid foundation of a properly developed, perfectly controlled voice, attempts at music-interpretation are futile. The figure of an architect giving his attention to the appearance of the superstructure, quite indifferent as to the strength of the base is a parallel. His pretty house will one day tumble down. Your singer with style and no knowledge of a free, intelligent emission of tone will one day strain this throat beyond endurance, and his voice will be done. This happens so often that it scarcely occasions comment. A pupil having private and special instruction will, however, find advantage in lessons associated with other students. Theoretical music, style, and more or less of interpretation, can be taught by competent instructions to a group of students; but I know positively that the class-system of teaching pure vocalisation is entirely inadequate.
  2. The first and absolute essential thing is for a pupil to produce his tone properly. This requires hard work and great patience of both teacher and pupil. My own teacher, Prof. Adolf Brómme, then at the Royal Dresden Conservatory, himself a genuine pupil of old Manuel Garcia, insisted upon one lesson every day for at least a year. What he can do is shown in my room-mate, Pauline l'Allemand, now at the Casino in New York. We had lessons together, she, that her very light voice might gain in color from my voice dark one—and vice versa. Later on, two lessons a week were sufficient, and being only for voice-production. 
  3. Indeed, I do disapprove of pupils taking part in any other kind of singing while building the voice. The pupil has a very complicated task, and before he really acquires the knack of voice-control he should refrain from all vocal effort. A student must have an ideal tone in mind; each day he strives to make the actual like the ideal. Continued work stamps, with every effort, a more indelible impression upon his mind, until finally a time comes when the thing is finished. The ideal tone is at his command. That is, it comes if he continues with one intelligent sort of practice sufficiently long. The voice of a beginner who does his exercises, sings in church choirs to please friends, and here and there, will be in tone-color about as near the perfect tone as a composite photograph of fifty people is like that of the first subject. Continued impressions of one and the same thing will give a clear, fixed result; a hodgepodge effect comes from the mixing of impressions. A voice once settled, no harm can come to the vocal instrument, for there will be no ill use. Uncertain of the technique, beauty and freshness will depart with the use of the voice. 
  4. It is difficult to place a pupil before the public if he has no social influence. Merit and ability will probably win in the end, in any event; but there must be great patience. When I personally have a pupil sufficiently advanced to present to the public, I introduce her at a concert, and have critics and agents present, as far as my personal influence goes. 
Werner's Voice Magazine, December 1891: page 202. Find out more about Lankow by clicking on her label below.


What I want to emphasise here is the demand made by old Italian school pedagogues that students refrain from singing repertoire before acquiring absolute vocal control through exercises and scales. Is this done at the conservatory level today? No. Repertoire is given from day one. 

Lankow notes that she studied with her teacher every day, then had two lessons a week—this latter approach also being that of Anna Schoen-René (another García school exponent) who taught at Julliard. Unusual? Not at all: If you studied with a García or Lamperti teacher this is how your studies unfolded. Technique before repertoire. That was the rule. Today, students usually receive one lesson a week, while repertoire is assigned from the get-go. It's a catch-as-catch-can approach—both teacher and student making do and hoping for the best. 

Here's what I think: if we really want old-time religion singing, we had better rethink how we train singers.

February 14, 2017

The Garcías at Pére-Lachaise

Last summer, I visited the tomb of Manuel García I (1775-1832) at Pére-Lachaise, Paris, which can be found right across the path from the tomb of his daughter-in-law Eugenie (née Mayer) García. Whether this was by design or not is not clear. However, one suspects design if only because Eugenie's tomb is inscribed with "Madam García." Curiously, Manuel's son—Manuel García II (1805-1806)—underwent a separation from Eugenie Mayer García in 1848. Leaving Paris for London, Manuel spent the rest of his life there and remarried after Eugenie died in 1880.

February 13, 2017

You better believe it

It's my first lesson with Margaret Harshaw. Eyes twinkling with mischief, she places my hands on the back of her neck, takes a deep breath—and while opening her jaw wide, distends her neck to immense proportions. Releasing my hands, she looks me straight in the eye and says: "The vertebrae must separate! Now you do that!"

Years later, I am at the Listening Centre in Toronto having my ears tuned up. Halfway through the process, I stand up during a morning two-hour session with the stunning realisation that my spine has elongated tremendously, which aches with a hurt-so-good feeling. Turning my head to the left and right: I can feel my skull is in a very different place. The muscles surrounding every bone in my spine have stretched both up and down, which leaves me with the uncanny feeling that someone has pulled my head back and up away from my torso.

I close my eyes and am back in the voice studio. Miss Harshaw's hands are on the back of my neck and I hear her say: "You better believe it." 

February 11, 2017

Klein the Scholar

HERMAN KLEIN died in London on March 10, in his seventy-eighth year. The veteran critic and teacher will be missed in a large circle. He was a most pleasant acquaintance, shrewd and kindly, experienced and urbane; and the very length of the life he had lived in the midst of musical affairs gave him in his latter years a peculiar distinction.

The range of his recollections seemed extraordinary, for, after all, he was not enormously old—he was not a Francesco Berger. The explanation, in addition to his retentive memory, is that he entered upon the journalistic scene very young—before he was twenty. Also, he had evidently been as a young man no rebel or reformer, but one well content with the world as it was. He lived on into the 1930's retaining not a little of the 1870 outlook on music. He had belonged to an England in which, except for a few fanatics, music was a merely sociable and decorative accessory. Klein, in fact, was a Victorian, a mid-Victorian—a type interesting in any case to meet in the flesh, and in this particular instance quite charming. His conversation was a delight if one had a nose for the vanishing odours of the past.

Klein was one of the professionals urbane enough not to quarrel with the general terms on which music was allowed into English life half a century ago. He did not mind ballad concerts, for instance, and yet he was no fool. No doubt he was never ultra-serious, but he could not be called superficial when for one branch of the art he possessed a true connoisseur's understanding and passion. He had an expert's appreciation of the principles and practice of singing, and hence ballad concerts and performances of Meyerbeer's 'Huguenots' never lacked an interest for him. His youth was the period of the tyranny of the prima donna. Klein was not one to mind this; he enjoyed it, and delighted in comparing Valentines and Marguerites and Carmens. This sort of expertise was the principal accomplishment of a music critic of the 1870's. Klein, when he began, must have been one of the last of the sort. He long outlived all his fellows, and thus it was that the alert, smiling, well-preserved old man seemed to belong to an enormously remote era, the era of Davison and Chorley. Not that he was detached from the present. He was not so serious about the past as all that; but still he was definitely serious on this subject of singing: serious, clear-minded, experienced, and (really, it is the word) scholarly. Even though he did pepper his sentences with quantities of unnecessary French, that was simply the practice of the craft.

Herman Klein was born at Norwich, where his parents taught dancing and music. He himself had singing lessons from Garcia, but his voice was too small for a career. At nineteen he was already engaged in journalism. For twenty years (1881-1901) he was music critic of the Sunday Times. The next seven years he spent in New York; but, preferring London, he returned here and described the American musical world in an unflattering book. In recent years, when the heroines of his youth, Jenny Lind, Tietjens, Trebelli, Patti, were mere names to all but a small minority, he found an eager welcome for the volumes in which he described their almost legendary glories. A good example of the series is 'Great Women-singers of my Time' (1931). He himself reckoned highest among his achievements his translation of 'Carmen.'

R. C.

The Musical Times, May 1934, page 468.


Having served on the board of the same organisation which Klein founded in New York, as well as having discovered his "lost" singing manual, I feel a certain kinship to the man who brought García's teachings to America. That we both have an affinity for the history, nuts and bolts, whys and wherefores of singing, makes me like him all the more. 

It's a curious thing to find a friend in a long dead person.

February 10, 2017

Lamperti is Dead

Francesco Lamperti, the great Italian teacher of singing,
 has died at the age of eighty or more. The maestro caught
 cold on the Friday, and although he complained of feeling
 unwell took his class as usual on Saturday morning. On
 Sunday he was found dead in his bed—having died in his
 sleep—a peaceful end to a long career. We published in
 our number for July last an interesting account by Mr. 
F. W. Farrington of a course of study under the old 
maestro. Lamperti's son, G. B., still teaches at Dresden.

The Musical Herald and Tonic Sol-Fa Reporter, 1892, Vol 8, p. 182

February 8, 2017

Finding Pauline Viardot-García at the Musée de la Vie Romantique


While in Paris last summer, I visited the Musée de la Vie Romantique. Hidden away at the end of a long tree-lined alleyway in Montmarte, the Musée is unique in that it is one of the last surviving links to a Romantic School which included Frederic Chopin, George Sand, and Pauline Viardot-García—all of whom frequented the house and its adjoining studio/music room which was built by the painter Ary Scheffer


Imagine my delight to find two Scheffer portraits of Viardot-García there; the first on the lower floor depicting the legendary mezzo-soprano in 1851 as Saint Cecilia; and the second on the floor above with Viardot-García in 1940, when the latter was nineteen, having just made her debut (the lithograph of Viardot-García within the header on VoiceTalk is from the same year).  


The oval medallion portrait was originally part of Viardot-Garcia's Cavaillé-Coll house organ and was only recently acquired. The curious thing was that I was in Paris the summer of 2014, and not knowing of the museum, did not visit it then. Had I done so, I would not have seen the portrait! Timing is everything? 


The 1840 portrait on the second floor is shown at an angle if only because the glare from the windows opposite made it somewhat difficult to take a photograph. Standing in front of it, you can feel the gravity of the Garcia Lineage. Viardot-García sizes you up from across the centuries, while at the same time letting you know her place in history. As her older brother, Manuel once said: "She is the real genius of the family!"

February 5, 2017

Nero Kept His Phonascus

Samuel Silas Curry has appeared on these pages before, his life spent deeply involved in the study and practice of elocution—a profession that is a shadow its former self. Think about it: Curry was involved in teaching voice long before the advent of the microphone, when projecting your message to a large audience meant knowing how to speak acoustically. Who does that today? British trained thespians mostly, while everyone else uses body mics. Now? It's a learning curve that is only undertaken by opera singers. 

Curry was a student of Francesco Lamperti. You can find his pedagogical thoughts on the Download page.


Elocution and Vocal Training—The Importance of Studying Their History
By Professor S. S. Curry 


[Paper read at the convention of the National Association of Elocutionists, June 10, 1897.]

Whowever wishes to make safe progress in any department of science or art must "hold the past firmly by the hand."

Everything has a history. Many ages of development made the bird's-nest possible. So far, however, as we can see, no oriole or bluebird improves its home consciously on account of the successes and failures of its parents or neighbors; but man can consciously appropriate the attainments of his race and use the successes and even the failures of men of all ages as stepping-stones to progress. The power to know history and to use its materials consciously is one of man's highest characteristics.

History is "the development of the collective spirit." The life of the race has a unity similar to that of the individual. Man can consciously use the materials of his fellow-men gathered to-day or ages ago. Nay, he who does not do so is weak. He who refuses to adjust his work to the cooperation and fellowship of his race ceases, in one sense, to be a man; at any rate, he cuts himself off from the greatest means of growth and support that can be found in the world. The man who first propounded the question, "Am I my brother's keeper ?" was a failure, and worse; and so has it ever been with all who have held the same doctrine of isolation. The greater the man the greater his ability to understand and appropriate the knowledge and the experience, the thought and the life of other ages and races.

Darwin, before he dared to state his hypothesis, became acquainted with all that was known in the realm of biology. His hypothesis was but a guess, an imaginative leap into the dark, but it sprang from the knowledge of all that the race had gathered to explain the processes of development. His life-work was devoted not only to the gathering of new facts but also to the examination of known facts in the light of his theories.

The historical method must be used in all departments of knowledge. No department of knowledge has ever been recognized as a science until its historical unfoldment has been traced, and its relations to other subjects and their history have been explained and established. 

Notwithstanding, however, the common acceptance of these principles there has long seemed to be a tendency among elocutionary students to ignore the history of their art. Many a teacher has seemed to desire the unconscious condition of the bird and to build his nest on some high limb as he thinks out of his own ideas without joining what little he can do to all that has been done before him. Many boast that they have not studied with anyone and seem to glory in the fact that they do not know the methods which have been arranged by others. 

It may seem strange, but men struggled with the problem of elocution and delivery long before our time. Oratory is as old as history. In Homer, "god-like speaking" was the highest characteristic of the hero. Speaking seems to be referred to by Homer as the greatest problem of education. The experiences and failures, the long and laborious training of Demosthenes, are referred to by historians and by himself in his orations as something to his honor and not to his disgrace. Cicero recorded the criticisms made upon him by the great teacher of oratory at Rhodes. How different from the modern speaker who often desires that no one shall ever know that he has taken a lesson in elocution! The delivery of the average speaker, as a rule, is such that he should have no anxiety on that score. His audience will never suspect that he has received assistance from a teacher able to read his needs and to apply such training as would develop his true personality and realize his possibilities.

Nero kept his phonascus, or vocal teacher, ever by his side when he gave his commands, to show him how to use his throat and to send forth tones. The Emperor Augustus rehearsed all his speeches to Livia, and the records of these men of later times are made in a way to show that such acts were customary and that the teacher of voice in ancient days was held in honor. The problem of delivery has received attention from some of the greatest minds. The teachers of the Greek age were all primarily teachers of vocal expression, and written expression was always secondary to spoken. The struggle to found and endow a school of oratory is as old as Protagoras. He who desires to avoid the failures of the past, to feel confident in his grasp of the truth, will not ignore the experience of other men and other ages.

And yet we have no such history. We have hardly any attempt at a historical outline of the methods employed or the services rendered, or of the discoveries made or of the triumphs achieved. Mr. Murdoch has a few points in his "Plea for Spoken Language," on the subject of history, but this work is simply a plea for Rush, as he frankly confesses, and has many mistakes. The book by Hill, for example, he says was published in 1779. It was published nearly forty years earlier. He calls the author Aaron Hill; the British Museum says J. M. Hill. He exaggerated, also, the importance of Walker, simply because Walker's system was the beginning of the mechanical view or school which Rush's work followed. Mr. Murdoch called Walker the father of English elocution. He was only the father of mechanical elocution. Mr. Murdoch, however, was perfectly right in conceiving the importance of history and in feeling the necessity of appealing to it to prove his views. Though we may disagree entirely with his conclusions and often with his dates and alleged facts, yet he deserves honor for his example. 

No one who has struggled with the problem will fail to realize how difficult it is to write such a history. Vocal expression is the most subjective of arts. The first art we learn is speaking. So few facts have been recorded, so few investigations into the real nature of speaking have been made, so personal have been the methods of developing oratoric delivery or dramatic expression, that we have seemingly small basis for such a history. Every teacher of elocution who has ever amounted to anything has studied with other men; has received his traditions face to face with those who preceded him. Professor Monroe was taking lessons from others the last year of his life. The true teacher never refuses to be taught by others, never adopts some little system founded upon some temporary expedient that may have proved helpful to some individual; or bases his methods on his own natural endowment, his success in some contest. The earnest teacher seeks in all ways to form a true conception of his art. He does more than listen to people lecture, visit classes or see someone teach for an hour. Even the reading of books is only an adjunct; for delivery is a personal art, that has been perpetuated only by personal contact, personal instruction, and the personal mastery of exercises. Vocal expression requires example, requires the awakening of the spontaneous, even the unconscious impulses of the mind and must be studied face to face. There must be assimilation of the whole man, or all becomes mechanical and superficial. 

But granting all this, every teacher-and student needs to have the whole field illuminated; and the only light which will serve as a safe guide must come from the study of elocutionary history. In fact, the study of history is the most effective means of leading the teacher and the student to realize the very fact that delivery and all vocal art is personal and must be improved by a present mirroring of a soul to itself by another soul. 

For the last eighteen years I have devoted some study to the history of vocal training and vocal expression, and the methods which have been adopted in different periods of the world's history. I have consulted foremost professors of Greek for assistance and light upon those early methods which produced the greatest results that have ever been known. I have gathered and had translated some references and extracts from different Greek and Latin authors, which had not previously been rendered into English. Hence, when your committee invited me to speak, I suggested, in an unguarded moment, "Greek Ideas of Elocution or the First Period of Elocutionary History," as a topic upon which I should like to address you. When, however, I came to wrestle with the material, I found it impossible to present the facts which I had gathered and their adequate interpretation in the period of time to which each speaker at this conference must necessarily be limited. 

I desire, therefore, to present to you certain advantages which may be gained from the study of the history of vocal and elocutionary methods, and I do this especially with the hope that I may inspire others to come forward and volunteer to aid in making investigations. For, while a history of elocution is needed, the publication of such a volume will not be sought by publishers. Such work has usually fallen to some society. The Chaucer Society, the Shakespeare Society, the Shelley Society, the Philological and other societies have published invaluable books which could not have been printed except by the support of such associations. Those who attend this conference are supposed to have mastered and to be following some one method, for all are supposed to be practical teachers. No teacher can come here and give a lesson. The true teacher must always see that his point is understood. He must make a definite diagnosis and see that the remedy is adopted and applied. He must report and call for individual practice under his eye. Hence, in such a gathering all can best unite in studying those broader and higher facts in regard to our work, such as its history or its general needs.

Allow me, therefore, to present to you certain advantages which may be gained by the application of historic methods to various departments of vocal training, and vocal expression.

1. Such a historical study, were the materials accessible, would prevent mistakes. Ignorant people must live over again all the old exploded heresies in theology, in finance, in educational theories, simply because they do not look into history and find the light of experience which shows the natural result which follows certain conditions and causes.

2. The historic method enables us to appreciate what is really new in the theories of the present time. If we know the past we can realize the advances that are being made, we can distinguish the true discovery of principles, from what is mere ingenuity or oddity or the result of mere vagaries, and what is really far behind the methods of other days. It is only by a broad and careful study of history that men are able to see what is really new in any department of science or art. If we kept thoroughly posted in the history of our work, we should know that the revolving mirrors, which were invented or discovered by Helmholtz had been tested in relation to the voice over twenty years ago and found to be of no special advantage in vocal training, because the qualities of the voice appeal to the ear, and are too subtile to be presented except in the most general way to the eye. My own voice was tested with them twenty years ago by Prof. Alex. Graham Bell. The new point of photographing the waves of light adds nothing that makes it any more practical in vocal training. The historical method is the greatest test of truth. A slavish following of history, an isolation of history from intuition and nature may, at times, tend to make men conservative, but the real reformer is one who feels all history at his back, who knows what has been done before, and in the light of the past can distinguish what is a step forward.

3. One who is familiar with the struggles of the past will be able to feel the needs of his own time, and having come to understand and to feel the current of history, and having seen the mistakes of the past and realized the struggles of other days to advance his work, he will be able to grapple with the probem of his own age more effectively; he will be.less subservient to any particular system, less liable to ride a hobby. He will be able to look at his work from many points of view, he will be able to realize its need in general and to meet each 'individual case more adequately. Besides, he will be able to realize the true hindrances to his work; he will understand why it is not making greater advances, why it is not better appreciated. He can feel the remote causes of the difficulties which he has to face now, and above all he will be able to feel wherein the greatest dangers lie.

4. The study of history gives hope. When discouraged, and feeling at times the lack of cooperation, or when the teacher feels the great difficulty of meeting adequately the needs of some earnest student, what can give him more encouragement than a realization of what Demosthenes conquered? What reveals to us better the possibilities of such training than the account of the first failure of Sarah Siddons and her final triumphs when she passed into English history as the typical muse of tragedy?

5. The historical method prevents egotism. The man who holds some little idea and, thinking that he has something that no one else in the world has ever known, imparts it to students as if it were the greatest secret in the universe, when he finds out that what he is trying to teach is more than three thousand years old and has been applied by thousands of teachers, such a light breaks into his narrow and egotistic soul that he is really able to see beyond his little sphere. The light of historic research leads a man to measure himself as a part of a great army of workers and as a true member of his race. He receives courage and is more apt to acquire that modesty which characerizes all noble students and investigators.

6. A study of the history of his art broadens the mind of a teacher or a student and enables him to realize its relation to other departments of knowledge and other forms of instruction. He realizes better the true nature of his own art, its limitations, its possibilities, its function and its true power. He will be able to look upon his work from more than one point of view. He will be able to see that his work has had a part in the great problem of education. He will realize that elocution is concerned with the revelation of the soul. He will feel that as breathing consists in taking in and giving out breath, so education consists in the taking of ideas and giving them to others; and unless the balance of these two is preserved, there will be something abnormal in the development of every human being. He will see the true educational value of his work and he will see its failure when separated from educational principles. He will see his own work as an art and its relation to all other arts. He will awaken to the character of the natural languages and of the relation they bear to the imagination and the artistic culure of the soul. He will be inspired, also, to cooperate with teachers and educators and artists in other departments of life and enter into a true sympathy with the great struggle of human development.

7. There would be an appreciation of the changes that have taken place in the style of speaking and of acting and of public reading, the causes of these, and the lessons entailed regarding the new methods for their development.

8. A history of elocution would show its true place in education. The ignorance, the perversions due to a total lack of culture, have had a most deleterious effect upon the estimation which educated men have in regard to our work. Would not a true history of elocution serve to show educators the true educational value of vocal training and vocal expression?

9. Such a history would aid in establishing and securing recognition of voice and speech as departments of science and of vocal expression as a department of art. All educated men would have the means of judging of the true nature and function of the various sciences and arts associated with vocal expression. Artists could realize the relation of the art of vocal interpretation to other arts. Such a history would give students and teachers a conscious and unconscious respect for their work. Such a history would tend to establish the tendency, common in other departments, of giving credit to others in quotations and of giving honor to thinkers in the profession.

10. Such a history would do justice to the noble army of workers who have had a most important influence in education from the time of the Greeks to our own day. The world might be brought to see something of what we owe Thomas Sheridan and his plans for the reform of education 150 years ago. The elocutionists form an army of which we need not be ashamed. They have been reformers in education from Sheridan to Monroe.

Curry, Samuel Silas. "Elocution and Vocal Training—The Importance of Studying Their History," Werner's Magazine, a magazine of expression, volume 20, 1897-8, September-February: 87-93.