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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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“As the Old Italians Said—”

“As the Old Italians Said—”

45 “As the Old Italians Said—”
On the Art of Singing

Richard Miller

Oxford University Press

This chapter comments on the use of the phrase “as the old Italians said” when introducing different singing techniques during voice lessons. Some North American singers feel that unless they study in Italy with a maestro or maestra, or on this continent with an American who bears an Italian surname, all of whom purport to teach bel canto, they cannot master the art of singing. They mistakenly view vocal technique as the assimilation of layers of stylistic information. The term bel canto should not be misused as a mystical incantation muttered over a host of contradictory contemporary pedagogical assumptions, in which case it ceases to have any historical meaning. Beautiful singing—bel canto—must be based on beautiful vocal function associated with beautiful artistic imagination.

Keywords:   singing, voice lessons, Italy, bel canto, vocal technique, vocal function, artistic imagination

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