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March 8, 2017

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10 Vocal Pedagogy Treatises before 1900

March 13, 2017




Observation of Florid Song - 1723 Italian, 1743 English 


- Most important treatise of the 18th Century because if was the first FULL treatise on singing. 

- Tosi was a castrato who addressed his treatise to the soprano voice 

- uses the terms "Voce di Petto" (Chest voice) and "Voce di Testa" (head voice) 

- Tosi addresses registration as a concept, but never elaborated on it in his treatise. 




Practical Reflections on the Figurative Art of Singing 1774


- Mancini was a Castrato 

- Wrote about two registers: Head (Falsetto) and Chest

- Essentially fills in the details that Tosi left out of his treatise. 

- Mancini did not specify how he would strengthen the weak register but spoke of the importance in uniting the two! 




The Art of Singing 1857 


- this was the most popular and important text on singing published in America. 

- Bassini had a pedagogic heritage of Garcia. 

- Emphasized registration 

- The Art of Singing  defines the art of Bel Canto singing, the best of Bel Canto 18th and 19th Centuries. 




The School of Singing 1873


Student of Carlo Bassini 

- Root believed that there was no point in studying the voice unless the studnet had certain basic   musicianship skills in place. 

- He encouraged teachers to follow a method, rather than a haphazard formula for each student. 




The Mechanism of the Human Voice 1880 


- believed that exact scientific knowledge is necessary for singing. 

- used X-Rays to study the lungs and muscles of the throat. 

- researcher on speech and speech disorders




The Art of Singing according to Ancient Traditions and Personal Experience 1884


-  teaching based on oral tradition (contrast to Garcia) 

- this meant "traditional" vocal terminology that lacked the physiological terms of Garcia. 

- Lamperti method:

             1. purity of tone

             2. voice on the breath 

             3. emphasis on legato style




Art du Chant 1884


- Studied with Manuel Garcia II

- vocal training at a slow and deliberate pace, believed in elementary vocal studies

- importance of technical and aesthetic nature of singing (fusion of Garcia and Lamperti) 

- Importance of uniting registrations. 




A Method of Singing 1884


studied with Manuel Garcia II

- believes in three elements of singing:

               1. Pitch

               2. Power

               3. Quality  

- wrote about vocal articulations: Portamento, messa di voce, staccato, legato, martellato, tenuto, aspirato 



Hints on Singing 1894


- this is the shortened version of "A complete treatise on the art of singing" which had two versions 1847/1872. 

- Written in socratic style (Q&A) 

- Clarifies Coup de la glotte 

 Edited by his student Herman Klein.

- Contains vocalises

- Garcia would not explain technicalities that were not essential for good vocalization to his students.




Position and Action in Singing 1897


- anti- Garia

- a proponent of the no effort school, which is in opposition to the "local effort school". 

- felt false vocal folds resistance was an essential balancing factor to the breath pressure which powers the voice...... . . . . . . riiiiiight... 




And there you have it. :-) 





Name that Treatise without looking...

1723 Tosi

1774 Mancini

1857 Bassini

1873 Root 

1880 Behnke

1884 x 3 authors: Marchesi, Lamperti, Stockhausen

1894 Garcia II

1897 Myer


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