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On the Art of Singing$
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Richard Miller

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780195098259

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195098259.001.0001

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A Parable of the Foolish Baker

A Parable of the Foolish Baker

18 A Parable of the Foolish Baker
On the Art of Singing

Richard Miller

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the importance of “breath support” in singing by making an analogy to baking. It argues that, unless the singer learns to turn up “breath support”—the appropriate energy source in singing—it does not matter at all how fine the basic vocal ingredients, the sensitive musicianship, or the elegance of phrase or embellishment; the vocal cake will remain unpalatable to the professionally discriminating taste. Much of the “coaching” in master classes devoted to interpretation and stylistic nuance is often little more than placing icing and decoration upon an incompletely baked vocal cake. Placing an overlay of finesse on the unformed and uncoordinated vocal instrument is like decorating a poorly baked cake. Until the energy source and phonation are unified in the singing instrument, artistic gloss is meaningless. It is important to bake the cake thoroughly and firmly establish the substance of the voice before attempting to decorate either of them.

Keywords:   breath support, singing, singer, musicianship, vocal instrument, phonation, artistic gloss, voice

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