Berkshire Choral Festival
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“Vocal Advantage: Tone (part 1)” by Dina Else

VOCAL ADVANTAGE: TONE (part 1), by Dina Else (no. 20 in a series)
 
Welcome Back, I hope everyone had a wonderful 2013!
 
As we head into a new year and a fresh start, the timing is perfect to leave the topic of breath and begin our conversations about tone.
 
Describing the ideal tone is a very subjective, and at times, touchy subject.  Want a quick way to start a lively discussion with a room full of choral directors?  J
 
In McKinney’s book, Diagnosis and Correction of Vocal Faults, he talks to us about the ‘Four Elements’ that he feels are essential to sound:
1.  A vibrating object
2.  A power source to make the object vibrate
3.  A medium through which the vibrations are transmitted
4.  An apparatus to receive the vibrations
 
In Zeller’s book, A Spectrum of Voices, she outlines 6 areas that she refers to as ‘common ground’ for the voice teachers that she interviewed for her book. 
1.  Vocal sound consists of two qualities:
     a. Projection (also called “ring” or “ping”)
     b. Resonance (amplification, warmth, color)
2.  Tone is sensation based.
3.  Tonal “core” (sometimes called “focus”) gives uniformity of sound and projection
     throughout the range.
4.  Tone results from good coordination of breath management, vibration, and resonance.
     Breath is utilized in tone, and resonance responds to a balance of breath and phonation
5.  Beautiful tone results from the proper adjustment between the vibrators (sound source,
     i.e. vocal folds) and vowels (the resonance adjustment).
6.  Vocal pedagogues teach to certain tonal preferences.
 
Between both of these resources we have two fairly comprehensive lists that gives us a healthy, objective place to start.  Join me next week as we delve further!