Historical Perspectives: Witherspoon’s Twenty-Eighth Lesson

Lesson 28


These are important for both male and female voices. Boys and young men should not despise exercises designed to promote facility and exactness and delicacy. The art of singing does not depend upon the bigness of the tone. We hear too much merely loud, stentorian singing to-day. That is not true art. Anybody can yell or shout. Do not try for great power until you have developed your voice in the things already asked of you in these lessons. Never sing so loudly that you feel that you are pushing or straining your voice. You will only diminish your real powers in the end.

Sing the chromatic scales up to the sharped 5th and also up to the octave. Accent the first note of each figure of four notes very definitely at first. This accent will keep you from slurring and blurring the chromatics or half-step intervals.

You may obey the breath-mark at first. Afterwards sing the exercises complete on one breath and then two, three, or more times on one breath to develop further breath endurance.

Exercise 32 contains the chromatic scale. Sing it with correct accentuation of each of the groups of four notes.

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Remember that every scale you sing must be sung with musical accent and rhythm. This is very important.

Always sing exercises with due attention to the musical value, make them beautiful, and do not sing them mechanically, but with real feeling. Even the scale is beautifully musically if done well.

Do not sing the chromatics rapidly at first. Increase speed only with well preserved clarity.

Song for this lesson is “I Love Thee” – Beethoven.

This is not a song based on chromatics but is very valuable as a medium for developing perfect pitch.


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

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