Monday, April 27, 2009

Requesting your patience

Dear Readers,

I ask your patience during the next few days. A few projects keep me very occupied. However, I am working very hard on the exercises and they are almost done. Hopefully by week's end I will deliver them. They will cover breathing to ready the mechanism for phonation as well as focusing the singer's mind in preparation for singing; phonation exercises to coordinate breath and folds; and resonance and articulation exercises.

Additionally, I am preparing commentary (auf Deutsch and in English) on the superior Carnegie Hall Recital Debut of René Pape. In short, a remarkable singer who may be the figure of salvation for an almost extinct art of Lieder-singing, a discipline very close to my heart. It is worth putting the possible influence of this great  singer in perspective.

Another post is forthcoming on the importance of adequate vocal weight. Too heavy is not good, but we should also understand why too light is not good either. Furthermore, it is paramount that we distinguish between weight and glottal squeeze. The latter is a result of singing too lightly (more on this), as well as inadequate glottal pressure/flow balance.

Finally, my sincere apologies to Adam who responded expertly to my comments on the lip trill.I meant to comment back, of course. In short, I did not say that the lip trill was dangerous, but rather that the breath pressure necessary to vibrate the lips may cause a tense glottal response in singers who have a history of glottal squeezing. The Titze article does not take vocal history of the singer into account. In a "virgin" voice (meaning without negative history), a lip trill done adequately would induce strong trans-glottal flow, which would become high supra-glottal pressure to vibrate the lips. Achieving a balance between the glottal tone and the lip trill is the key. In this I agree totally.  [v] and [z], and the light [m] seem to induce more moderate glottal resistance in singers who have an imbalance at the glottal level because those occlusions require less supra-glottal pressure and therefore less sub-glottal pressure (i.e. trans-glottal resistance). You may not have the kind of history that causes any problems relative to lip trills. As you say, you find the [v] a good follow-up to lip trills. This also makes sense. The [v] in my experience seem to induce a more exact vocalis-CT balance while also inducing trans-glottal flow. I find it a very important exercise.

To all,

A lot of good things coming in the next few days.

All the best,

JRL/TS

1 comment:

Adam said...

Ahh, I think I understand what you're saying now. If you're talking about when a person has a reflexive pressing of the glottis when they use lots of breath, then I understand how a lip trill wouldn't be helpful for that student, until maybe after a complete un-learning of the glottal squeeze.

The lip trill was the first exercise I learned, and the way it was taught specifically made it into an exercise that not only makes for an quick and gentle warmup, but also a way of practicing the muscular transition while carrying up the perfect amount of weight: not enough to cause a shout then a disconnect, but enough to avoid breathiness and weakness. That probably explains why I find that it helps me avoid glottal squeeze instead of promoting it. Someone who just learned "Make this sound with your lips and use it to warm up" couldn't expect those benefits.


I definitely agree, based on trying the [v] exercise out, that it will expose any muscular imbalance. It's caused me a bit of frustration, but it seems that each frustrating exercise leads to improvement.

As for patience, that should be a given. I mean, you seem to be a busy man, and nobody's paying you to maintain the blog. We expect you to take care of yourself, not to meet "deadlines" for any of us. We're grateful for what help you've already given, and if there's somebody that isn't, then that person's impatience is certainly not your problem to take care of.