Choral Caffeine: Strengthening Choral Tone, Part 2
Date: August 29, 2012
The matter of choral tone has probably been a topic of discussion in studios and rehearsal halls for longer than any of us cares to ponder. So we continue from last week’s “Choral Caffeine” with another point of view; in this case from Leanne Freeman-Miller’s article “The Vocal Edge” (Kansas ACDA Choral Range), in which she discussed the pedagogical views of Richard Miller:
Singers should aim for simplicity in vocal pedagogy, concentrating on what the body does naturally instead of what we invent. Basic sounds should be natural, not distorted or manipulated. Miller is opposed to the glottal onset and utilizes fricative consonants (h, sh, th, f…) in vocal warm-ups. He stresses that one must remain in the inspiratory position during singing, neither pushing out nor pulling in the abdominals. The ideal mouth position is flexible, with the vowel, range and loudness of tone determining the shape of the mouth. The larynx should be stable and slightly descended. In singing, one should constantly raise the “zygomatic arch” (upper cheekbones) to assist with resonance, vibrancy and pitch. The position of the tongue should be in contact with the lower front teeth. Vowels should never lose integrity. Over-modifying them should be avoid ed. The [i] vowel provides the most space in the pharynx, while the [u] provides the least.
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