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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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The Flat-Earth School of Vocal Pedagogy

The Flat-Earth School of Vocal Pedagogy

(p.70) 24 The Flat-Earth School of Vocal Pedagogy
On the Art of Singing

Richard Miller

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers “flat-earthing” as a way to teach singing. Theories of voice production that are dependent upon what appears to be logical do not always have a basis in physical fact. Many of them are familiar concepts, deeply ingrained in vocal pedagogy. Examples include: controlling the breath by holding the diaphragm firmly in one position; pulling in on the diaphragm to give “support” for the high notes; dropping the chest to avoid high-chest breathing; and lifting the head and chin to “free the larynx.” These technical maneuvers hold place in some pedagogies because they seem as though they ought to be true. However, they are not what they seem. The singing instrument is the entire body, not just the larynx, and is subject to investigative study as is any functioning instrument. Faulty singing more often than not is the result of attempts to achieve the physical and acoustical impossible.

Keywords:   flat-earthing, singing, voice production, vocal pedagogy, diaphragm, larynx

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