Singing With One Voice Part 2

Singing With One Voice Part 2
Saturday musings -
based on your emails and the comment of yesterday's blog entry...

What is truly allowing style to inform the voice?

This is ultimately the goal no matter what style or genre. We want to sound authentic IN THAT STYLE.

First and foremost, it requires training the behavioral muscles to BEHAVE! The technical behavior of "neutral" must line up in order for register transitions and natural resonance to be balanced and even. (Simplifying obviously!!!)

Then, we WORK! I shall use S's comment from yesterday's post as an example to draw on.

What does a director or CD or MD mean when they say "I don't want to hear a classical singer singing legit MT music". ???? Well, first and foremost, who really knows if they know what they are saying...but I digress...

Ultimately, if I can be so bold, I would assume this means they want the STYLE of the MT legit as opposed to the operatic SOUND that comes in with the material.

Classically trained has nothing to do with it - ultimately, we should ALL be "classically trained" in the sense that we know how to breathe, support, create an even column of sound and find a neutral balance of natural voice!! We should all be able to have range, dynamic, legato and fiortura NO MATTER THE GENRE WE CHOOSE TO DELVE INTO!!!!

"Classical training" allows for an athletic instrument. How we use that athleticism depends on the demands of the style and genre we sing in.

If you are training to become an opera singer, you listen to opera singers. You listen to what the composers are asking for and what the performance practices are and have been in order to make your stylistic decisions when it comes to language, phrasing, shape of tone etc.


If you are an opera singer wanting to sing Music Theatre then DO THE WORK! Listen, explore, discover the intricacies of the form and the style and how it demands DIFFERENT things from your athleticism and from your instrument.

Ultimately, what I assume that director meant was simply - sound like you are singing Music Theatre when you are singing it, I don't want Opera!!! The term "legit" does not mean "opera". The choice of vowels are different; the physicality of the language is different; the resonance balances slightly differently because of the language; the style of presentation is different! And just as the style of presentation is different from Purcell to Mozart to Puccini to Verdi to Strauss, so the style of presentation within so-called "legit" material is different from Rogers and Hart to Rogers and Hammerstein to Irving Berlin, to Gershwin, to Lerner and Lowe to Sondheim, to Lucy Simon to Adam Guettel!!

To lump "legit" together is saying all opera is the same. Not happening!

The questions are simply: "What does this style demand? What does this composer ask for? And how does that inform what my instrument does? What do I DO to allow this information to live in the athleticism of my voice?"

If we begin HERE, we are pursuing the authenticity of what the style and genre demands and how it is embodied by our uniqueness of voice.

Dare to commitment to the balance of your athletic instrument, but then TRULY DARE to find the truth of style and genre of the music you choose to sing. Do not wear everything the same way!!! Style is not ambiguous or beige!!! Dare to create authenticity as your voice takes on its uniqueness THROUGH STYLE, not in spite of it.

More to come...

Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking. 

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