April 10, 2010

The technics of bel canto

One of the primers in the Old Italian School of Singing, The technics of bel canto (1905) by Giovanni Battista Lamperti can be read or downloaded here. A slender thirty-one page document, it was written five years before Lamperti's death at the age of seventy-one. He dedicated it to his student Marcella Sembrich, the great Polish coloratura soprano who taught at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and the Juilliard School of Music in New York.


  
Marcella Sembrich


Page seven of the text represents something of a mystery. It contains a 'Diagram of Action of the Diaphram' that shows the body from an lateral angle and the movements of the abdominal wall which are labeled a) inspiration and b) expiration. The former is 'in' while the latter is 'out'. What is curious is that, in my hard copy (and all others I have seen),  this label is pasted onto the page, suggesting that the printed designation of inhalation and exhalation was reversed in the original printing. This begs the question: did Lamperti make a mistake which was corrected by the publisher? Or did an editor make the change?

What do you think?

3 comments:

  1. Do you really think Lamperti would make that kind of mistake?

    If I had a dime for every time I had to remind some of my students that the belly goes OUT when you breathe IN, I would be a much wealthier voice teacher. It is very common for people not trained in voice to get mixed up on that so I would say it would be impossible to Lamperti to make that mistake (unless maybe he had drunk way too much vino that night).

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  2. I think an understanding of Lamperti's sourcing of Mandl, a physician, may give one the answer to your question.

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  3. btw: I see you've used the photo of GB Lamperti I made available in another post on your site.

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