Historical Perspectives: Witherspoon’s Twentieth Lesson

Lesson 20

DICTION EXERCISES

Use No. 46, 8, 9, with the AH, A, E. No. 46 will serve to “RECITE” the various syllables.

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You will readily see that you can invent other syllables which will give you added practise in pronouncing.

The use of the mouth is of the utmost importance in these exercises. The average shape of the mouth will be a slight smile, showing the upper teeth slightly, but not showing the lower teeth. Do not grin, do not snarl, do not pout with the lips. AH, A, EE belong to the same “family” of vowels, the one runs easily into the other, the mouth closing slightly for the EE. The mouth changes inside for the OH, and the lips round slightly for the OO (U). Avoid singing AW very much for some time. It is dark and guttural and is not a good medium for practise except in some few extreme cases of high larynx and tight throat. Even then it is not always productive of good.

These are the best syllables for reciting on one note:

MAH, MA, MEE, MOH, MOO.

NAH, NA, NEE, NOH, NOO.

LAH, LAY, LEE, LOH, LOO.

DAH, DAY, DEE, DOH, DOO.

BAH, BAY, BEE, BOH, BOO.

RAH, RAY, REE, ROH, ROO.

CRAH, CRAY, CREE, CROH, CROO.

BRAH, BRAY, BREE, BROH, BROO.

Do not lose position too much in singing OH and OO.

Now sing other combinations which demand other changes from one vowel to another.

On one note:

AH-OH, AH-OH, AH-OH, etc.

AH-E, AH-E, AH-E, etc.

AH-OO, AH-OO, AH-OO, etc.

OO-AH, OO-AH, OO-AH, etc.

AY-AH, AY-AH, AY-AH, etc.

EE-AH, EE-AH, EE-AH, etc.

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

 

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