Proper Distinction in Registers

Tell your liver what to do right now. Say, “Liver, do your job!”.

Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Anything?

Much like other parts of the body, the voice is best trained in a way that is INDIRECT rather than direct. What this means is that methods of singing that attempt to MAKE the voice DO something will generally fail of purpose because the voice is an INVOLUNTARY system. Barry Wyke, the noted neurologist, noted that if one member of a complex muscular system is involuntary, all members of the system must be treated as if they, too, were involuntary. Additionally, Wyke asserts that If an organic system is to be used for a SECONDARY, or overlaid function, it must not during the adaptive process be made to violate those laws pertaining to its PRIMARY function.

What this means is that 1. we should deal with the voice INDIRECTLY, and that 2. we can’t violate the PRIMARY FUNCTIONAL purposes of the system.  In this case, a system that’s primary function is RESPIRATION and SWALLOWING.

So, what are the INDIRECT ways of working with a voice?

VOWELS (and to a lesser degree consonants)

VOLUME (intensities of tone; loud has one effect, soft another)

PITCH (the selection of notes that elicit a particular muscular action of the laryngeal muscles)

From an article in Etude Magazine by Ebenezer Cook in August of 1916:

No, the muscles act mainly in an involuntary manner, and to make them work properly we must approach the matter in quite a different manner. The natural voice does not show breaks at all. The child sings from one extreme to the other without any pronounced change of registers unless the voice has been forced at school, or else the habit has been acquired by imitating someone else who does show them. All teachers know that it is much easier to deal with an untrained voice than with one which has had faulty schooling. The pupil cannot see the vocal organs in action as the piano pupil can see the hand, and so the pupil must be made to do things which he can do, but which cause, in a secondary manner, the vocal action desired. When wrong habits have not been acquired the way is easy, but habits are strong, and when bad habits have once been acquired it is a delicate matter to correct them.

 

 

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