“Opening the Throat”

*Blogger’s Note: Yet again, PLEASE note the publication date of the following quote:

The singing world has been bombarded with “open throat” until it has become almost race instinct. Even beginners have somehow absorbed the idea that unless they are doing something with the throat a good tone need not be expected. No greater mistake could be made than that of constantly urging the pupil to open his throat. What he needs is a free throat, and when that is realized the opening will take care of itself.

The vocal mechanism should be controlled by indirection, not by direct effort. The concept of tone quality should control the cavities of the mouth and throat in the same indirect way that the concept of pitch controls the vocal chords, and it will do it as unerringly if the throat is free.

Clippinger, David Alva. Systematic voice training. Gamble Hinged Music, 1910.

One thought on ““Opening the Throat”

  1. So what is a closed throat? I assume this is a shrill sound? I think it was Garcia who noted that the least tolerable sound is incomplete glottal closure in clear timber (not chest voice, larynx up), I have found this to be true as well. While producing a tone with complete glottal closure, I have to put a lot of thought and effort into producing a shrill sound, and even then, it isn’t close to the shrillness I could produce before I could do complete glottal closure (chest voice) on that pitch. Especially with the pharyngeal voice. It is quite shrill with incomplete glottal closure. So my theory is that if we take care of the (healthy) glottal closure, the throat should take care of itself.

    I think it was also Garcia who mentioned that the voice should be brightened first (shrill) and then rounded. This would suggest that Garcia didn’t really advise a lowered larynx, especially in the bottom part of the range. I find my lower range to be quite colourful even in very clear timber, and quite loud. Anthony Frisell quotes Witherspoon on this as well (annoyingly without a source), in that the lower range “low larynx” is incorrect and should be practised with the “a” in cat and hat. I have found this to be very helpful in getting the larynx up and producing some brilliance in those tones.

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