Rossini’s Exercise to Balance the Registers

“When I went back to stay in Bologna after abandoning my theatrical career, I was entirely taken up with the teaching of singing at the Liceo. I just mentioned homogeneity of timbre, equalization of the registers. Here, for example, is a model of the exercises that I prescribed, thanks to which I obtained astonishing results. It is simple, and the pupil himself, given a good ear, came to be able to correct himself.”  Then, sitting down at the piano, the Maestro struck the following notes:

“After which the same exercise was continued through ascending semitones C-C-sharp, D-D-sharp, E, etc., to the limit of the voice’s tessitura, variable according to age and to the progress of the martyr or victim,” Rossini said, exchanging a smile with his illustrious former pupil Alboni.

“Without that first discipline, aimed at developing equality of timbre over the whole range of the organ, a voice, no matter how richly endowed by nature it may be, always will remain completely defective. Isn’t that the case, what’s more, with the brain, the most generous innate capacities of which demand long, studious effort if they are to acquire their full value?”


Michotte, Edmond, et al. Richard Wagner’s Visit to Rossini (Paris 1860): And, An Evening at Rossini’s in Beau-Sejour (Passy) 1858. Translated from the French and Annotated, with an Introd. and Appendix, by Herbert Weinstock. University Press, 1968.