October 16, 2015

Falsetto, Voice Type & Middle Tones

I have trained tenors up to E flat in alt. without any trace of falsetto—an abomination which is taboo in the Italian school of voice training. Another test for the tenor is the ability to enunciate clearly and easily on the upper notes. This was one of the methods of Lamperti, who also used a system of "master notes" for mezzo-sopranos and sopranos, the upper F and the upper G being the characteristic note for each type of voice. In addition to the foregoing test the mezzo-soprano partake of the heavy quality of the contralto and mezzo-contralto in the range of notes below lower D. With these aids to guide him, in addition to wide experience, even a skillful teacher will sometimes be in doubt as to the type of voice at first hearing. But the plan adopted by all successful trainers is to find the easy range of tones in the middle voice, and the type will reveal itself in the process of development. The following table shows approximately the middle tones:

Clifton Cooke, Practical Singing (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co. LTD, 1916): 21-22. 


Many are the modern vocal pedagogues who take it for granted that Lamperti and García trained their students to sing in falsetto to exercise and develop the voice. As we see above, Clifton Cooke—a student of Manuel García—decries the practice as an abomination. Such a strong word that! Be that as it may, Cooke also gives the reader quite a bit of practical information regarding voice type which will be useful for those who can't quite figure things out. My own thoughts about the matter? The acquisition of correct "singing position"—a García School teaching—is very useful—if not expedient, in this matter. Of course, "singing position" itself is the antithesis of falsetto vocal production, but you already knew that, right? Find out how to do it in Hidden in Plain Sight: The Hermann Klein Phono-Vocal Method Based upon the Famous School of Manuel García. 

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