The old school teachers took their direction from Nature. I can’t count the number of times the word “Nature” and “Nature’s laws” pops up in writings on the singing voice in older treatises.
Well, that’s all fine and good, but what does that MEAN?
For Edmund J. Myer, it meant the following:
All artistic tone is the result of certain conditions, conditions demanded by Nature and not man’s ideas or fancies. These conditions are dependent upon form and adjustment, or we might better say adjustment and form, as form is the result of adjustment of the parts. So far all writers on the voice, and all teachers, agree; but here comes the parting of the ways. One man attempts form and adjustment by locally influencing the parts, – the tongue, the lips, the soft palate, the larynx, etc. This results in muscular singing and artificiality. We have found that form and adjustment, to be right, must be automatic. This condition cannot be secured by any system of direct local effort, but must be the result of flexible, vitalized body movements – movements which arouse and develop all the true conditions of tone; movements which allow the voice to sing spontaneously.
The fundamental conditions of singing demanded by Nature we find are as follows:
- Natural or automatic adjustment of the organ of sound, and of all the parts.
- Approximation of the breath bands.
- Inflation of all the cavities
- Non-interference above the organ of sound.
- Automatic breath-control.
- Freedom of form and action of all the parts above the larynx.
- High placing and low resonance
- Automatic articulation
- Mental and emotional vitality or energy.
- Free, flexible, vitalized bodily positions and action.
Myer, Edmund John. The renaissance of the vocal art: a practical study of vitality, vitalized energy, of the physical, mental and emotional powers of the singer, through flexible, elastic bodily movements. The Boston music company, 1902.