Historical Perspectives: Witherspoon’s Twelfth Lesson

Lesson 12

We will now pass to exercises of musical intervals. For this we will use exercises 8 to 12 inclusive, also 15 and 23. Send the exercises first on AH, then on the various syllables given in the exercises.

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AH-E-A stimulates the vocal law of freely acting tongue moving forward for higher pitches, as well as for the three vowels.

HUNG urges facial resonance.

AW-OH gives more mouth sound, keeps the larynx low, and rounds the tone, but it should be use very sparingly, because it promotes guttural formation if used too much.

MING protects the EE, keeps the larynx from ascending too high, and gives a better idea of the free pronouncement of the vowel E.

LAH and NAH used alternately will promote a good free AH, with full resonance of both mouth and head.

MAH will give a feeling of out-going tone, freely emitted.

E, especially in women’s voices, will give the sensation of singing more in the head, especially from E (fourth space) upwards.

Do not carry these exercises too high, in Sopranos and tenors not above G or A flat, and in lower voices not above D or E.

Do not sing the consonantal syllables above E soprano (E5) and C (C4) low voice.

The best results will be obtained by using the phonetics on the first note of the exercise until the AH can be sounded in its pure form and then sing the exercise on this AH, watching carefully that the vowel never loses its characteristic sound and color.


Witherspoon, Herbert. Thirty-Six Lessons in Singing for Teacher and Student. Meissner Institute of Music. Chicago. 1930.










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