Pasquale Amato’s Staccato (say that five times fast!)

I do not know enough of American vocal training to give an intelligent criticism, but I wonder if American vocal teachers give as much attention to special parts of the training as teachers in Italy do. I hope they do, as I consider it very necessary. Consider the matter of staccato. A good vocal staccato is really a very difficult thing — difficult when it is right; that is, when on the pitch — every time, clear, distinct, and at the same time not hard and stiff. It took me weeks to acquire the right way of singing such a passage as Un di, quando le veneri, from Traviata, but those were very profitable weeks —

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Accurate attack in such a passage is by no means easy.  Anyone can sing it— but how it is sung makes the real difference. The public has very odd ideas about singing. For instance, it would be amazed to learn that Trovatore is a much more difficult role for me to sing and sing right than either Parsifal or Pelleas and Melisande. This largely because of the pure vocal demands and the flowing style. The Debussy opera, wonderful as it is, does not begin to make the vocal demands that such a work as Trovatore does. When the singer once acquires proficiency, the acquisition of new roles comes very easy indeed. The main difficulty is the daily need for drilling the voice until it has the same quality every day. It can be done only by incessant attention. Here are some of the exercises I do every day with my accompanist:

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Cooke, James Francis. Great Singers on the Art of Singing. Presser, 1921.


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