January 17, 2017

García's Method of Voice Placement

The stroke of the glottis is produced by means of a sudden opening of the glottis. The air is first inhaled, and retired for a moment below the vocal cords, when the air, acting upon them abruptly, they suddenly open, producing a sound termed the stroke of the glottis. It is made upon precisely the same principle that a sound is produced when the air, having been located between the cheeks, the lips suddenly open for the pronunciation of the work pur. Persons having the habit of singing out of tune, often eradicate the fault by careful practice of the stroke of the glottis. The muscles controlling the vocal cords, however, may not a once obey the will. The brain often conceives the pitch of a tone, but the muscles controlling the vocal cords do not obey the dictates of the mind; hence the cords vary in tension, giving out tones of a varying pitch. When one sings out of tune from this cause, the difficulty can generally be entirely remedied, but when from a defective nerve organization relative to the hearing, it is impossible to fully eradicate it. There are those who can discern the slightest discord, but cannot sing the scale correctly; this proceeds from a physical laryngeal imperfection, or weakness, but as stated, can generally be cured; but when a person cannot notice any difference between high of low tone, the case may be considered almost hopeless. The practice of the study of the stroke of the glottis, should be carefully pursued by all persons intending to become singers, as it at once places the tones, thus preventing any possible change in the pitch, or quality of the voice; and the muscles are thus educated to instantly obey the will, and the requisite tension of the cords is gained for the pitch of the tone desired.

Wheeler, Harry J. Vocal Physiology, Vocal Culture and Singing (1883): 44-45. Student of Manuel García and Francesco Lamperti. Find this text on the download page in the right-hand column. 

4 comments:

  1. This was the grossest mistake Garcia ever made. The voice is made when the laryngeal noises are filtered in the lower pharynx and reach the tongue. If you hear anything in the throat, you must have something wrong in it. "L'italiano non ha gola", so do singers. Almost everything before the tongue is executed automatically and unconsciously. It is by hearing our own voice that we know the pitch is correct and stable, not by feeling anything in the throat. The mistake of opening/closing the glottis happens when one is used to speak inefficiently wasting breath. Children do not speak that way. Speak clearly, and you will have your larynx working properly. No need to know anything of the vocal physiology. Poor enunciation is a habit of adults who usually do not like to be heard by the third party.
    Incidentally, Garcia's two volume book is perhaps the best one for singing as it is full of what he learned from his father and other great singers of the 18th century. It is the son's own ideas about vocal physiology that was a total nonsense. Many of his pupils say Garcia II's lessons were truly traditional ones inherited from the great singers of the past, unlike a college lecture about vocal physiology in the class room.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment, ytsujiDr. Herman Klein has some interesting things to say about the application of García's Coup de Glotte. I humbly suggest you seek out his thoughts here on VoiceTalk. Regards- Daniel

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    2. I studied this method under the tutelage of Margaret Harshaw at Indiana University. I also found Pauline Garcia Viardot's vocal exercises in a CD sheet music disc which indicated her thorough working of ranges and pitches which I'm sure were evident in her sister Maria Malibran (Garcia) her father and grandfather. The line of instruction from Pauline Viardot, to Anna Schoen Rene at Julliard and to Margaret Harshaw has served me well from 1981 when I graduated at the age of 28 through a vast number of voice students at the high school, pre-college and professional level. I am currently working with choirs at a high school with a long tradition of vocal excellence. They are progressing quickly by attending to voice placement,resonance,and support basics. One of my former students will graduate from Indiana University after studying with Jane Dutton, who placed the student in an internship with the Berlin Opera two summers ago at the end of the students sophomore year at IU. The Garcia method is profoundly capable of protecting the vocal apparatus for life as was evidenced by Harshaw even when she was coaching master classes at Indiana University into her 88th year. She could out support, and out sing any of her masters students through the perpetual diligence in being true to the study's she had with Schoen-Rene. I'm in my 65th year and have been performing all styles of vocal literature continuously from 1981 to the current year 2018, and find that the voice is doing exactly as promised by Margaret Harshaw when I studied with her, and with Marcia Baldwin in the late 1970's. 65 and still chugging along. I'm ever grateful to the foundation of the Garcia Method.

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    3. Thank you for your comment, which I am just seeing today for some odd reason. Though very late in replying, I can only agree with your assessment.

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