McLellan on range, high notes, and placement

“In these times of haste in vocal preparation one seldom hears the right poise of tone throughout the complete range of three octaves, which range should always be in either a soprano or alto voice, and two to two and a half octaves in a man’s voice. If this range is not being acquired and one does not know definitely what to do to develop it in an elastic, easy, free way, one’s technique is wrong. With a scientific foundation, even the mentally inert see dawn within a certain time, while those who have a real singing sense make such changes in their tone consciousness from day to day that it is really incredible to see how range and quality can be developed and increased within a very short time. Of course, the ultimate development takes a specified time.

The majority of singers give the listener the impression that they are reaching for their high notes, this being the result of too heavy a vowel, which makes a wrong adjustment of palate, tongue, jaw, etc. This is a point few people know how to gage and control, yet it is the easiest thing imaginable when one understands the principle or law upon which tone is based and produced. It is ridiculous, as it is impossible, to try to put or place a tone somewhere in the face or head when the density of the vowel and the position of the sounding-board cavity absolutely control where the tone goes, no matter where the producer tries to aim it or force it to go. This wrong placing brings a stiff, tight feeling in the throat, and no ease is possible while the tone sounds thin and pulled-down, and always the sound that wrong muscles are working.”

McLellan, Eleanor. Voice Education. Harper & Brothers, 1920.

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