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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 Two Poles of Bel Canto

The Two Poles of Bel Canto

28 The Two Poles of Bel Canto
On the Art of Singing

Richard Miller

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the two factors that continue to form the basis of all good technical singing throughout the period known as “bel canto”: sostenuto and coloratura. There is a tendency today for singers and their teachers to look for categorization of voices so that a singer is limited early to singing either pyrotechnical melismatic literature or to the dramatic driving line of the verismo. In point of fact, if a voice is nor capable of moving it is incapable of sustaining; if the voice has not sufficient energization to manage sostenuto singing, the velocity factor will not be at a high level. Sostenuto and coloratura are interdependent; each cannot exist without the other, and they complement one another. A systematic approach to acquiring the agility factor and the sustained vocal legato is an essential part of vocal pedagogy. Modern vocal pedagogy will make vast strides forward if sostenuto and coloratura form the foundation of studio instruction.

Keywords:   technical singing, bel canto, sostenuto, coloratura, verismo, voice, vocal pedagogy, studio instruction, vocal legato

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