Bel Canto: A History of Vocal Pedagogy by James Stark

By James Stark

In this good documented and hugely readable e-book, James Stark presents a heritage of vocal pedagogy from the start of the bel canto culture of solo making a song within the past due 16th and early 17th centuries to the current. utilizing a nineteenth-century treatise via Manuel Garcia as his element of reference, Stark analyses the various assets that debate making a song suggestions and selects a couple of basic vocal 'problems' for precise research. He additionally offers info from a sequence of laboratory experiments conducted to illustrate the strategies of bel canto.

The dialogue offers largely with such issues because the emergence of virtuoso making a song, the castrato phenomenon, nationwide modifications in making a song types, controversies in regards to the perennial decline within the paintings of making a song, and the so-called secrets and techniques of bel canto.

Stark bargains a brand new definition of bel canto which reconciles old and medical descriptions of excellent making a song. His is a fresh and profound dialogue of concerns vital to all singers and voice teachers.

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Example text

His theory states that along any particular line of fluid flow, called a ‘streamline,’ velocity and pressure are inversely proportional – that is, as velocity increases, pressure decreases, provided the total energy remains constant. The Bernoulli effect explains the lifting force on an airplane wing or the lifting of the fluid in an atomizer. 9 His theory stated that the air stream in the trachea has a constant velocity until it reaches the narrowed glottal restriction. As the air traverses the glottis, the velocity increases, thereby creating a negative pressure between the vocal folds, resulting in the ‘snapping together of the vocal folds in the closing phase The Coup de la glotte 23 of the vibratory cycle in voice production’ (Catford 1977, 33).

Indeed, many of Garcia’s critics understood it that way. In response to those critics, Garcia added the following paragraph to his 1872 edition of the Traité: One must guard against confusing the stroke of the glottis with a stroke of the chest [coup de la poitrine], which resembles a cough, or the effort of expelling something which is obstructing the throat. The stroke of the chest causes the loss of a large portion of the breath, and makes the voice sound aspirated, stifled, and uncertain in intonation.

The stroke of the glottis is somewhat similar to the cough, though differing essentially in that it needs only the delicate action of the lips and not the impulse of air ... The object of this is that at the start sounds should be free from the defect of slurring up to a note or the noise of breathing’ (Garcia 1894, 13–14). This last remark certainly excludes the glottal plosive and other forms of breathiness. ’ Finally, as late as 1904 Garcia wrote to Charles Lunn, one of his critics, ‘I do insist on the attack; but it must be the delicate, precise action of the glottis, not the brutal pushing of the breath that goes by that name, fit only to tear the glottis, not to rectify and regulate its movements ...

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