July 16, 2010

The Ray Self Voice Placer

I've come across some peculiar things while researching historical vocal pedagogy, this late 19th century ad being one of the more strange and fascinating items. Funny too.

This novel invention, of which mention was made in these columns several weeks ago, emanated from the brain of a talented tenor singer, lightening the burdens of all who desire to sing properly, thus making the life of the vocal student a pleasure rather than a dreary monotony. The inventor claims that its use aids the student to "place the voice" in a few weeks, instead of through weary years of diligent study, and it is creating much inquiry among vocal instructors and their pupils.





Those who have read or heard of this invention have written to the studio for further particulars, and the inventor believes there can be no doubt that in a short time it will simplify the much vexed question to tone placement.  

The manager of the Ray Self Voice Placer says that thousands of prospectuses and many Placers have been sent out during the past week. There is no previous record of singing of any mechanical device to place the tones of a singer, as the impression has always been that anything mechanical used in singing would detract from the artist. Voice placing is purely psychological or physical, and as no artistic effects can possibly be produced until the voice is thoroughly placed, a singer can readily appreciate the labor and time saved by an invention of this kind. Proper voice placing to the singer is what technic is to the piano performer. The Voice Placer is built on very simple lines, nothing complicated or hard to understand. 

From The Musical Courier, c. 1897.  

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