How the Greeks Attained Vocal Resonance – Eek!

We all know the story of Demosthenes and his “mouthful” of pebbles” and we may be amused thereby; but we may be a little alarmed when we read that actors of Greek tragedy slashed the back of the throat, the pharynx wall, with sharp instruments, in order to cause an irritation and ensuing “granulation” of the membrane, in the belief that this condition of sore throat increased the carrying power of the voice.

So we find even in the beginning of the art of singing, for the Greek actor was at least half a singer, the inclination toward queer tricks as imaginary “local” aids to the production of voice.

Witherspoon, Herbert. “Singing.” New York: G Schirmer (1925).


One thought on “How the Greeks Attained Vocal Resonance – Eek!

  1. Interesting article, which reminds me of the time I swallowed a fish bone that scratched the back of my throat. In going to my doctor, I found that what felt like a terribly huge gash in my pharynx was actually nothing more than a small cut. Needless to say, this event made me aware of the dimensions of my pharynx. However, it’s not a course which I would recommend to anyone!

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