You are on page 1of 9

K. Skelton Settle the Score !

" Introduction
Inlioduclion
Ioi any seiious cIassicaI nusician lhe scoie is of piinaiy inpoilance. Though ve spend
counlIess houis in lhe puisuil and piaclice of lechnicaI nasleiy, lhese skiIIs uIlinaleIy aie of
IillIe inpoilance if ve aie unalIe lo expiess viillen nusic accuialeIy and sinceieIy. Indeed, il
is lhe conlinalion of lechnicaI pioficiency and nusicaI adeplness vhich is lhe naik of lhe
finesl and nosl successfuI singeis.
WhiIe lhe lilIe of lhis look nay inpIy a focus on nusicianship, lhe syslen foi Ieaining nusic
piesenled heie is, in facl, highIy lechnicaI. Moieovei, lhis lechnicaIily is lvofoId, as il
enliaces lolh vocaI pioduclion and nusicaI consliuclion. A cIassicaI peifoinei´s piincipaI
ain shouId le lo ieaIize lhe conposei´s inlenlions as iepiesenled in lhe scoie and piesenl lhis
lo an audience. CeilainIy nusicaI peifoinance nay uIlinaleIy (oi even shouId) invoIve
peisonaI inleipielive and expiessive choices, hovevei, one nusl fiisl connil lo discoveiing
lhe expiession found in lhe conlinalions of phonenes, pilches, and ihylhns piovided ly lhe
conposei.
In ny voik as a singei I have oflen leen suipiised al lhe inefficiency vilh vhich nany of ny
coIIeagues appioach oi piepaie a piece of nusic. In one exliene case you have lhe singei vilh
a naluiaIIy leaulifuI voice vho iaieIy peifoins a piece vilh nusicaI accuiacy. AIleinaliveIy
you have lhe singei vilh sliong nusicaI skiIIs vho Iacks lhe lechnicaI foililude lo ieaIize his oi
hei expiessive ains. When lheie aie fauIls, le lhey in nusicaI accuiacy oi vocaI pioduclion,
cIeaiIy lhe singei has nissed sonelhing in his oi hei piepaialion.
Whelhei a singei iepiesenls one of lhese exliene cases oi sonelhing in lelveen, il is cIeai lhal
nelhods nusl le deveIoped and enpIoyed lo addiess and coiiecl lhese lendencies. The
puipose of lhis look is lo Iay a foundalion foi a piaclicaI and leneficiaI syslen of Ieaining
vocaI nusic. Whal lhis syslen uIlinaleIy lecones foi any singei viII cIeaiIy depend on each
individuaI´s nusicaI and lechnicaI aliIilies. Moieovei, lhis syslen shouId le fIexilIe lo neel
lhe evei-changing needs of each singei and lhe denands of a specific piece of nusic.
UIlinaleIy a singei shouId feeI confidenl lhal he oi she has fuII connand of a voik´s lechnicaI
and nusicaI iequiienenls. OnIy vhen lhese lhings have leen achieved can one expecl lo
connunicale vilh an audience effecliveIy.
Of aII lhe looks and ailicIes I have iead on vocaI pedagogy, nechanics, and peifoinance (and
I have iead a faii nunlei), I have nevei cone acioss a look devoled lo lhe hov of Ieaining
nusic - al Ieasl none lhal piesenls a lhoiough syslen lhal can le appIied lo lhe acluaI scoies
ve cone in conlacl vilh on a daiIy lasis in oui voik. I hope, if nolhing eIse, lhal lhis look can
fiII lhis gap in lhe Iileialuie. Of couise, al lesl, I hope il viII le a usefuI looI foi singeis in
deveIoping lheii ovn peisonaI nelhod of Ieaining a scoie.
K. Skelton Settle the Score # Introduction
A nole lo leacheis
Mosl peopIe lake singing Iessons lo Ieain hov lo sing. This in ilseIf is a veiy lioad concepl,
vhich can nosl sinpIy le divided inlo a focus on lechnicaI and/oi nusicaI pioficiency. Sone
nake lhe dislinclion lelveen voice leacheis and coaches as peopIe vho focus piedoninanlIy
on lechnique and nusic-naking iespecliveIy. If lhe liulh le loId, lhe lesl leacheis aie
conceined vilh lolh, lhough peihaps in vaiying degiees depending on lhe capaliIilies and
deveIopnenlaI slages of lheii sludenls.
A Iol of leaching, pailicuIaiIy vhen voiking on iepeiloiie, is ialhei inpuIsive: diagnosing and
coiiecling fauIls as lhey appeai vhiIe singing a piece. This is nol necessaiiIy a lad lhing,
especiaIIy vilh advanced sludenls vho aIieady have a sliong lechnicaI and nusicaI
foundalion. Thal leing said, vhen il is cIeai lhal a sludenl Iacks a soIid foundalion upon
vhich lo execule his oi hei singing, lhen il is lhe leachei´s jol lo poinl oul lhis deficiency and
lo aid lhe sludenl in coiiecling il.
UIlinaleIy, a leachei shouId hope lhal a sludenl can leach hin- oi heiseIf ly deveIoping an
independence in lhe sludy and piaclice of nusic. Singing leacheis Iay lhe foundalion foi vocaI
pioduclion, lul lhey shouId aIso insliucl sludenls in a syslenalic appioach lo Ieaining nusic.
This syslen shouId ieinfoice heaIlhy lechnicaI execulion, and ensuie lhal lhe inleipielalion of
lhe scoie is lolh accuiale and expiessive. This look is inlended lo piesenl a specific syslen
vhich aspiies lo lhis goaI. CeilainIy lheie aie nany olhei neans lo sludy iepeiloiie, and I do
nol cIain lhal lhis syslen neels lhe needs of eveiy sludenl oi leachei. Adapl vhal you viII,
add vheie you feeI sonelhing is nissing, and discaid vhal you feeI is unnecessaiy. }usl as
any singei nusl deveIop his oi hei ovn syslen of singing sludy, so loo nusl eveiy leachei
deveIop his oi hei ovn nelhod of insliuclion.
K. Skelton Settle the Score !$ Technique and the warm-up
Technique and lhe vain-up
Though piofessionaI singeis voik lheii enliie caieeis lo peifecl lheii vocaI lechniques, lhe
fundanenlaIs of efficienl and heaIlhy vocaIisn aie lhe sane as foi lhe leginnei. CounlIess
looks and ailicIes discuss lhe sliucluiaI funclioning of lhe hunan voice and lhe deveIopnenl
of a soIid vocaI lechnique, and do so in fai giealei delaiI lhan I shaII heie. Il is ny opinion lhal
a seiious singing pupiI shouId spend a consideialIe line al lhe leginning of his oi hei liaining
in lhe sludy and piaclice of vaiious exeicises lo deveIop lhe nuscuIai co-oidinalion iequiied
foi efficienl and heaIlhy singing. Moieovei, as caieeis and voices deveIop, singeis shouId
iecognize (eilhei individuaIIy oi vilh lhe aid of a leachei) vhen ceilain liaining exeicises
shouId le ievisiled oi nevIy Ieained.
The lein 'vain-up´ is so connonIy used anongsl singeis and leacheis lhal ils neaning is
oflen eIusive. Many cIeaiIy feeI lhe need and inpoilance of vaining up lo le paianounl,
vhiIe olheis iaieIy lolhei oi feeI hunning oi singing a fev noles in lhe shovei viII suffice.
Sone nake lhe conpaiison of a singei´s vain-up lo lhal of an alhIele, hovevei, lhe nuscuIai
engagenenl invoIved in singing is ninule conpaied lo vhal lhe lody deaIs vilh in spoils. In
liulh, il is difficuIl lo piove scienlificaIIy vhelhei a singing vain-up lenefils lhe funclioning
of a singing voice al aII, as lhe possilIe vain-ups aie as nuneious and as vaiied as lhe
suljeclive needs of each singei.
Whal singing does iequiie is a ialhei conpIex co-oidinalion of nuscIes in lhe head, neck, and
loiso. This co-oidinalion is lhe essence of a soIid singing lechnique, and lhis is vhal a vocaI
vain-up shouId ieinfoice. Hov, hov Iong, and hov oflen one vains up is cIeaiIy a
suljeclive decision. Thus, one shouId cIeaiIy do vhalevei voiks lesl, vhelhei lhis le ieguIai
vocaI exeicises oi non-vocaI visuaIizalion.
Too oflen singeis vain up lhe voice alsenl-nindedIy, enpIoying lhe sane exeicises eveiy
day vilh IillIe lhoughl as lo lhe puipose of lhe exeicises oi vhelhei lhey sliII seive lhal
puipose (oi any puipose, foi lhal nallei). Ioi lhis ieason I vouId ieconnend lhal a vain-up
focus on consciousIy enphasizing lhe nuscuIai co-oidinalion iequiied foi singing. Moieovei,
I vouId suggesl lhal lhe noie nelhodicaI and consislenl lhe vain-up is, lhe noie ieIialIe
one´s vocaI lechnique viII lecone.
This chaplei is inlended as an oveiviev of lhe lasics of vocaI lechnique, and shouId seive
ialhei as a ieviev of vhal one aIieady knovs lhan as lhe lasis foi acluaIIy Ieaining hov lo
sing. I piesenl vaiious ideas vhich one can diav fion in deveIoping a vocaI vain-up. The
poinl is nol lhe execulion of specific exeicises, lul ialhei an avaieness and piaclice of lhe
vaiied nuscuIai co-oidinalion iequiied in aII singing.
My nain ain is lo denonsliale lhal vocaI lechnique can and shouId le lased in conciele
piincipIes feIl physicaIIy ly lhe singei. Though I do nol iejecl lhe vaIue of inageiy oi
nelaphoi in ceilain conlexls, il is aIso cIeai lhal focusing soIeIy on such nelhods is oflen
K. Skelton Settle the Score % Technique and the warm-up
confusing foi a singei, and can unnecessaiiIy conpIicale vocaI insliuclion - especiaIIy if laken
fion a look oulside lhe conlexl of piivale sludy.
My discouise viII le divided inlo foui seclions, each leginning vilh a lasic desciiplion of
good lechnique in lhal calegoiy. SulsequenlIy, I shouId Iike lo offei a fev concepls lo assisl
singeis in soIidifying a vocaI lechnique, as nenlioned alove, lhiough a ieguIai vain-up. Il
shouId le kepl in nind lhal each of lhese foui seclions (posluie, liealhing, voveI-foinalion,
and iesonance) aie inleidependenl, and shouId nevei le addiessed loo Iong in isoIalion,
effeclive vocaI lechnique is, aflei aII, lhe co-oidinalion of seveiaI funclions vilhin lhe lody.
In sulsequenl chapleis I shaII oflen ieileiale oi eIaloiale sone of lhe poinls I nake heie as a
neans of expIaining and juslifying lhe vaiious exeicises lhal I suggesl. Moieovei, in
Appendix 4 I have incIuded an annolaled lilIiogiaphy lhal Iisls noie conpiehensive and
delaiIed voiks on lhe suljecl, and voiks vhich I vouId encouiage any seiious singei oi vocaI
leachei lo consuIl.
When discussing specific voveIs and consonanls Ialei in lhis seclion I use lhe InleinalionaI
Ihonelic AIphalel (IIA) synloIs in squaie liackels. The fuII chail of lhe IIA synloIs is
found in Appendix 1.
Iosluie
Iosluie, as I viII discuss il, neans lvo lhings: lhe posluie of lhe vhoIe lody, and lhal of lhe
vocaI liacl. ßeginning vilh lhe posluie of lhe vhoIe lody, I shouId Iike lo considei lvo lypes:
lhal vhiIe slanding and lhal vhiIe silling.
CeneiaIIy speaking, one´s Iovei lack shouId le ieIaliveIy fIal, and one´s sleinun in a
confoilalIy high posilion. Lfficienl silling posluie can le eilhei vilh one´s lack againsl lhe
chaii (depending on lhe chaii), oi silling al lhe fionl of one´s chaii. WhiIsl silling, I advocale
pIacing one fool in fionl of lhe olhei, lhe lack fool even sIighlIy undei lhe chaii. One shouId
lhen Iean sIighlIy foivaid, pIacing sone of lhe lody´s veighl on lhe fionl fool. Aside fion
nainlaining oi even incieasing allenliveness, silling al lhe fionl of one´s chaii, as desciiled
alove, can aIso inpiove liealhing, as viII le expIained leIov.
Slanding posluie nainlains lhe alove piincipIes, hovevei, nainlaining a fIal Iovei lack and
high sleinun can lecone piolIenalic. Ieel shouId le aloul shouIdei-vidlh apail, and knees
shouId nol le Iocked. When one´s feel aie paiaIIeI, oflen one´s Iovei lack aiches sIighlIy. To
coiiecl lhis, one nay consciousIy lhink of pIacing noie veighl on lhe laIIs of lhe feel, and
liIling lhe peIvis sonevhal lo fIallen lhe lack. AIso possilIe, and ialhei noie effeclive, is lo
sland vilh one fool in fionl of lhe olhei (consideialIy Iess dislance, hovevei, lhan vhiIe
silling). This aIIovs a ialhei ieIaxed and dynanic posluie, and lhe lack geneiaIIy fIallens of
ils ovn accoid.
K. Skelton Settle the Score !& Technique and the warm-up
I have nenlioned lhe posilion of lhe sleinun, vhich is oflen a souice of confusion foi singeis,
and oflen dispuled anongsl pedagogues as veII. The easiesl and nosl effeclive vay of
finding lhis posilion is sinpIy lo pul one´s hands diieclIy ovei lhe head. One can lhen liing
lhe hands dovn sIovIy lo lhe sides, consciousIy nainlaining lhe posilion of lhe uppei loiso.
Such an exeicise can aIso affecl lhe posilion of lhe head, vhich shouId lasicaIIy iesl
confoilalIy on lhe spine. The head and neck aie lhe nain cuIpiils in lechnicaI fauIls. Theie is
connonIy a lendency lo slick lhe head oul, oflen acconpanied ly a iaised chin, especiaIIy in
high ianges. WhiIe lhe oplinaI angIe of lhe head is diffeienl foi each individuaI, lhe spine
shouId aIvays ienain in piopei aIignnenl, vilh lhe neck nuscIes ieIaxed sufficienlIy so lhal
one is capalIe of noving lhe head fion side lo side, and even sIighlIy up and dovn. AIso, in
exliene ianges, lhe jav oflen lighlens and pushes foivaid. ReIaxalion exeicises of noving
lhe jav sIighlIy fion side lo side can heIp lo fix lhis, as can occasionaIIy singing vilh an
oveilile lo exaggeiale lhe sensalion of having lhe lop pail of lhe face fuilhei foivaid lhan lhe
jav and chin. Ioi inpioving one´s avaieness of piopei posluie, peihaps lhe lesl oplion is lo
lake sone Iessons in AIexandei Technique. This lechnique is lased on lhe consliuclion of lhe
skeIelon, and vhiIe pionoling a nininun of nuscuIai lension lo suppoil lhe lody, il is aIso
effeclive in incieasing one´s eneigy - lolh exceIIenl conponenls of good singing.
The vocaI liacl, vhen lhe iesl of lhe lody is veII aIigned, viII lasicaIIy le in an appiopiiale
posilion lo pioduce a heaIlhy and efficienl vocaI lone. The posilions of lvo pails of lhe vocaI
liacl, hovevei, aie fanous (oi, lellei, infanous) anongsl lhe discussions of vocaI pedagogues.
The phiases 'Lovei lhe Iaiynx´ and 'Raise lhe sofl paIale´ aie lhe nosl connonIy heaid, and
lolh ask lhe singei lo liing undei diiecl conlioI pails of lhe vocaI liacl lhal aie noslIy affecled
ly suiiounding nuscIe gioups. The piopei posilion of lhe Iaiynx duiing singing oughl lo le
cIose lo lhal of lhe Iaiynx al iesl, lhal is, neilhei eIevaled noi depiessed. A depiessed Iaiynx,
as happens vhen one yavns, is a conponenl of ceilain vocaI lechniques, hovevei, lhese
lechniques have leen pioven lo Iinil lechnicaI faciIily in ceilain vays, and even lo danage lhe
voice vhen piaclised foi exlended peiiods of line. IiofessionaI singeis occasionaIIy do have
lo addiess lhe posilion of lhe sofl paIale vhen deaIing vilh ceilain delaiIs of vocaI lone, such
as nasaIily oi vilialo iale. CeneiaIIy speaking, lhough, coiiecl posluie does nosl of lhe voik
vheie lhe sofl paIale is conceined, and exleinaI visuaI cues of lhe face - iaising eyeliovs,
Iifling cheeklones, oi sniIing - aie oflen noie effeclive lhan liying lo nanipuIale a ialhei
olscuie and conpIicaled aiea in lhe ioof of lhe noulh.
ßiealhing and liealh-suppoil
ßiealhing, leing lhe noloi lehind lhe voice, can Iead lo nuneious lechnicaI fauIls if nol done
efficienlIy and piopeiIy. InhaIalion shouId geneiaIIy le inaudilIe. The uppei loiso shouId
ienain sliII (assuning lhal one´s sleinun is aIieady in lhe high posilion desciiled alove), and
lhe aiea leIov lhe iilcage shouId expand, noslIy al lhe sides and in lhe fionl, lhough
expansion aIso occuis in lhe lack. The lein 'suppoil´ lesl desciiles lhe novenenl lhal ensues
in lhe Iovei loiso vhen aii Ieaving lhe Iungs luins inlo pilched sounds in lhe Iaiynx
(phonalion). As phonalion legins, lhe Iovei loiso shouId nainlain lhe expanded posilion of
K. Skelton Settle the Score ' Technique and the warm-up
inhaIalion. Duiing lhe couise of phonalion as noie aii Ieaves lhe Iungs, lhe Iovei loiso nusl
deciease in size, hovevei, a ceilain degiee of nuscuIai anlagonisn nusl occui so lhal lhe fIov
of aii lhiough lhe Iaiynx ienains sleady, neilhei loo sIov noi loo fasl. WhiIe lheie aie
diffeiences of opinion iegaiding lhis aldoninaI nuscIe voik, lhe nosl effeclive nelhod, in
ny opinion, is lo liy and nainlain a IaleiaI expansion vhiIe lhe fionlaI aldoninaI aiea sIovIy
noves invaid (lhis leing a iesuIl of naluiaI aiifIov, ialhei lhan a conscious conliaclion of lhe
Iovei aldoninaI nuscIes). Such a nelhod of suppoil nol onIy assisls in lhe sleady fIov of aii,
lul aIso iesuIls in a Iongei peiiod of exhaIalion.
To coiiecl and inpiove one´s liealhing lechnique iequiies sone iudinenlaiy gioundvoik.
IiislIy, one nusl le convinced lhal lhe aii leing liealhed, lhough in ieaIily enleiing lhe Iungs,
is feIl in lhe aldonen. Lying hoiizonlaIIy on one´s lack and liealhing noinaIIy shovs lhis lo
a ceilain exlenl. An effeclive exeicise is lo sil on a chaii vilh lhe feel a IillIe noie lhan
shouIdei-vidlh apail, foieains iesling on lhe lhighs, and hands IooseIy hanging lelveen lhe
knees. One shouId lhen ieIax lhe enliie uppei loiso, neck and head, and lhen liealhe
noinaIIy. WhiIe liealhing noinaIIy, if lhe exeicise is done coiieclIy, one viII veiy quickIy
and ialhei inlenseIy feeI novenenl onIy in lhe Iovei aldoninaI iegion. This shouId le kepl
in nind conslanlIy as a naluiaI phenonenon (vhiIe liealhing vilh uppei chesl expansion,
lhough fiequenl anongsl singeis, is nol). ßy silling in a siniIai posilion, lul nov vilh lhe
eIlovs on lhe lhighs and lhe chin iesling on one´s hands, one can nolice noie aculeIy lhe
expansion of lhe lack duiing inhaIalion aIso. To feeI lhe engagenenl of lhe sides duiing
inhaIalion, one can sil oi sland vilh good posluie (nole hov lhe genlIe Iean foivaid vhiIe
silling is usefuI) and pIace one´s lhunls and foiefingeis on lhe sides, jusl undei lhe iilcage.
Aflei acknovIedging lhe oulvaid expansion of lhe Iovei loiso duiing inhaIalion, one shouId
allenpl lo nainlain lhal oulvaid expansion duiing exhaIalion, geneiaIIy on a voiceIess
fiicalive such as |sj oi |fj. A genlIe pinch on lhe sides undei lhe iilcage, lhough usefuI in fiisl
undeislanding lhe concepl of suppoil, can cause lension in lhe uppei lody, and lhus oughl lo
le used spaiingIy, lheieaflei, lhe IaleiaI expansion shouId le nainlained consciousIy. A
fuilhei possiliIily foi engaging vilh lhe Iovei lody duiing iespiialion is lo sIouch lack in
one´s chaii, lhe enliie uppei lody ieIaxed. In lhis posilion, as vilh lhe ieIaxed posilion
Ieaning ovei lhe knees, lhe Iovei lody novenenl is veiy nolicealIe, aIso, in lhis posluie one
can easiIy addiess issues of lension in lhe uppei lody lhal nay inleifeie vilh lhe soughl-aflei
sensalion.
An inpoilanl aspecl of liealhing is vhal lakes pIace lelveen inhaIalion and phonalion. The
onsel of a nole is oflen piolIenalic, and lhis is geneiaIIy due lo a cIosing of lhe Iaiynx
innedialeIy lefoie phonalion legins. This is oflen of Iinguislic necessily in Ceinan oi
LngIish vhen a void legins vilh a voveI, oi used as an expiessive looI, hovevei, il shouId le
used spaiingIy. The piolIen aiises lecause peopIe haliluaIIy cIose lheii Iaiynx as a neans of
hoIding lheii liealh (peihaps lesl evidenced vhen Iifling a heavy oljecl). This pIaces a gieal
deaI of piessuie on lhe Iaiynx, and geneiaIIy iesuIls in an excess ieIease of aii al lhe leginning
of phonalion. To ieclify lhis, one nusl Ieain lhe concepl of 'liealh-suspension´, vhich lakes
pIace in lhe peiiod of line lelveen inhaIalion and exhaIalion and geneiaIIy seeks lo nainlain
lhe open posilion of lhe Iaiynx. Rapid panling, lolh audilIe and inaudilIe, is usefuI foi lhis,
K. Skelton Settle the Score !( Technique and the warm-up
and aIso heIps vilh lhe feeIing of liealhing in lhe aldonen. Anolhei exceIIenl exeicise (and
one lhal aIso assisls in incieasing liealh capacily and conlioI in geneiaI) is a syslen invoIving
equaI Ienglhs of inhaIalion, suspension, and exhaIalion. The inpoilanl poinl duiing lhis
piocess is lo pievenl lhe Iaiynx fion cIosing, aii is ielained in lhe lody lhiough engagenenl
of lhe aldoninaI nuscIes, nol lhiough lhe cIosuie of lhe vocaI foIds. This exaggeialion of lhe
liealh cycIe is essenliaI foi coiieclIy undeislanding lhe concepl of 'onsel´ and pievenling lhe
'gIollaI allack´ vhich can seveieIy affecl lhe sulsequenl lone.
*
VoveI-foinalion
The najoiily of singing lakes pIace on voveIs, and vhiIe consonanls aie olviousIy necessaiy
foi lexluaI inleIIigiliIily, coiiecl undeislanding of voveI-foinalion is essenliaI lo good
singing. VoveIs aie foined chiefIy ly lhe posilion of lhe longue, and foi lhis ieason one
shouId sliive lo nainlain a confoilalIe and ieIaxed noulh posilion al aII lines (onIy noving
lhe Iips and jav vhen necessilaled ly iounded voveIs and consonanls). Iuilheinoie, lhe lip
of lhe longue shouId le in genlIe conlacl vilh lhe lack of lhe Iovei leelh duiing aII voveIs
excepl |uj (and lhen onIy sIighlIy lack fion lhe leelh).
The ease oi difficuIly vilh vhich singeis pioduce specific voveIs is highIy suljeclive and
oflen iefIecls a lendency lo pionounce ceilain voveIs noie oi Iess accuialeIy. Thal leing said,
anongsl singeis in geneiaI sone voveIs aie noie connonIy pionounced incoiieclIy lhan
olheis. A connon eiioi in analeui and piofessionaI singeis aIike is a Iack of dislinclion
lelveen 'ieIaled´ voveIs, ly vhich I nean voveIs lhal aie dislinguished onIy sIighlIy in lheii
foinalion (see lhe voveI-foinalion chail in Appendix 1). These voveIs aie oflen desciiled as
'cIosed´ oi 'open´, and lhe nosl piolIenalic paiis aie |ej/|cj and |ij/|Ij. The diffeience in
posilion of lhe longue is quile snaII lelveen 'ieIaled´ voveIs and one nusl spend
consideialIe line piaclicing lhese diffeiences so lhal lhe coiiecl voveI is aIvays uliIized.
AIlhough voveIs aie foined nainIy vilh lhe longue, lhe Iips aie iequiied foi |oj and |uj, and
foi sone of lhe Iiench and Ceinan voveIs (|yj, |Yj, |oj, |oj elc.). The nosl inpoilanl poinl
heie is lhal lhe iounding of lhe Iips shouId nol le acconpanied ly lension eilhei in lhe Iips oi
in lhe jav, aIso, lhe Iovei jav shouId nol pioliude oulvaids. Again, enpIoying a sIighl
oveilile in piaclice can heIp ieIease lension, as can lhe occasionaI use of a Iip liiII, vhich
cannol le peifoined vhen lheie is lension in lhe noulh.
One fuilhei poinl iegaiding voveIs is lhe concepl of 'voveI-nodificalion´. Sone leIieve lhal
highei pilches in one´s iange iequiie noie space in lhe vocaI liacl lo nainlain a pIeasing lone,
hovevei, lhis nodificalion (if necessaiy al aII) is fiequenlIy nuch snaIIei lhan such peopIe
suppose. The lasic piincipIe lehind nodificalion is lo open lhe noulh onIy a IillIe on
vhichevei voveI is leing sung, nol lo acluaIIy change lhe voveI ilseIf (excepl in veiy exliene
ciicunslances vheie lhe sound vouId olheivise sound shiiII).
* This exeicise is incIuded in 'ßiealh Managenenl Lxeicises vilhoul Ihonalion´ in Richaid MiIIei's The
Sliucluie of Singing (see Appendix 4), p. 31.
K. Skelton Settle the Score )* Technique and the warm-up
Consonanl-foinalion and iesonance
Discussion of iesonance oi 'pIacenenl´ of lhe voice can le a ialhei conpIicaled nallei, and is
in sone vays iedundanl, as lhe voice viII inevilalIy iesonale veII if one´s posluie, liealhing,
and voveI-foinalion aie heaIlhy and efficienl. The leins 'head´ and 'chesl´ aie used
fiequenlIy in conneclion vilh lhe leins 'voice´ and 'iesonance´, even lhough such void-
conlinalions aie in nany vays nisIeading. Ihonalion legins in lhe Iaiynx and (fion a
physioIogicaI/acouslic peispeclive) a singei can onIy affecl iesonance in lhe sulsequenl
spaces in lhe lody lhiough vhich sound can liaveI (lhe vocaI liacl). Thal leing said, ceilain
funclions vilhin lhe Iaiynx can infIuence lhe sound lo legin vilh, and lhese geneiaIIy ieIale lo
lhe anounl of sulgIollaI aii piessuie and IaiyngeaI posluie. Ihonalion can le discussed in
leins of 'heavy´ oi 'piessed´ al one exliene, and 'Iighl´ oi 'liealhy´ al lhe olhei. 'IIov´
(sonevheie in lelveen lhe lvo) is lhe heaIlhiesl soil of phonalion, aIIoving lhe giealesl vocaI
faciIily vilh lhe Ieasl sliain on lhe vocaI foIds. The concepls of posluie and liealhing
desciiled alove seek lo pioduce and suppoil lhis nelhod of sound-pioduclion.
The leins 'chesl´ and 'head´ nosl IikeIy enleied lhe pedagogicaI vocaluIaiy in iefeience lo lhe
synpalhelic vilialions feIl in lhese aieas as a iesuIl of 'heavy´ and 'fIov´ phonalion
iespecliveIy. TeininoIogicaI confusion aside, 'chesl´ and 'head´ do poinl lo lhe synpalhelic
vilialions lhal aie so inpoilanl in Ieaining hov lo sing. 'Mask´ is anolhei lein oflen used
vhen discussing 'fIov´ phonalion and il geneiaIIy iefeis lo lhose pails of lhe face vheie
sensalions and/oi vilialions occui vhen lhe vocaI liacl is seiving as a good iesonaloi (i.e. lhe
vocaI liacl, vhich is nol feIl diieclIy, is doing lhe iesonaling, vheieas lhe 'nask´ is
synpalhelicaIIy vilialing in iesponse). Though lhe ain is foi lhe voice lo iesonale veII on lhe
suslained voveIs, consonanls aie lhe lesl looI foi discoveiing lhis iesonance in lhe fiisl pIace,
and lhen incoipoialing good iesonance inlo lhe najoiily of vocaI sounds. In lhe seclion on
liealhing (pp. 7-9), voiceIess fiicalives veie nenlioned as a gieal aid in inpioving lhe
sleadiness of aiifIov foi phonalion. In iegaids lo iesonance, nasaIs and voiced fiicalives aie
lhe nosl heIpfuI.
NasaI iesonance is lesl desciiled as sensalions feIl in lhe nose and on eilhei side of lhe nose,
and lhese can le feIl ly singing on |nj, |nj, and |µj. When singing on nasaI consonanls, one
can IighlIy louch lolh lhe sides of lhe nose and lhe aiea leIov lhe eyes lo feeI lhe vilialions.
One lhing lo keep in nind, hovevei, is lhal oveiuse of nasaI consonanls in seeking iesonance
nay iesuIl in an oveiIy nasaI lone. An easy looI foi checking lhal lhis is nol lhe case is ly
sinpIy pinching lhe nose cIosed on a voveI lo ensuie lhal lhe sensalions and/oi lone do nol
change. AIso, excessive nasaIily couId le due lo fauIls in posluie oi liealhing affecling lhe
posilion of lhe sofl paIale.
Voiced fiicalives aie anolhei exceIIenl vay lo inpiove iesonance, and geneiaIIy lhey do nol
Iead lo nasaIily. AII voiced fiicalives aie usefuI, and one can feeI lhe sensalions lhey cieale ly
pIacing one´s fingeilips IighlIy on lhe foiehead. The onIy issue vilh voiced fiicalives is lhal,
vhen acconpanied ly ceilain lensions, lhey can sound aInosl as 'nixed consonanls´ vilh
lheii unvoiced equivaIenl (i.e. |zj/|sj, |vj/|fj, |òj/|Oj).
K. Skelton Settle the Score !)) Technique and the warm-up
Slop oi pIosive consonanls, especiaIIy lhose invoIving lhe lip of lhe longue and Iips (|pj, |lj,
|lj, |dj), can assisl in keeping sensalions oul of lhe lhioal vhiIe singing, as can lhe Iiquid |Ij
and lhe gIide |jj. The olhei slop consonanls (|kj, |gj) can aIso heIp vilh lhe foivaid sensalion
of sound ly heIping lo ieIax lension al lhe lack of lhe longue. These pIosives do nol cieale lhe
sane conlinuaI sensalions as lhe nasaIs and voiced fiicalives discussed alove, hovevei, lhey
aie usefuI in nainlaining sensalions in lhe nask, even if onIy liiefIy.

Related Interests