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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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Easily, Not Lazily (Tonicity in the Singing Instrument)

Easily, Not Lazily (Tonicity in the Singing Instrument)

84 Easily, Not Lazily (Tonicity in the Singing Instrument)
On the Art of Singing

Richard Miller

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on tonicity in the singing instrument. Voice teachers are right to guard against “pushing” voices. “Pushing,” or pressed phonation, results from an excessively long closure phase of the vocal folds in response to high airflow and elevated rates of subglottic pressure. In an attempt to sufficiently energize the body to meet the demands of long phrases and high-lying tessitura and intensity (volume) levels, some singers induce too much laryngeal resistance to airflow. The most basic consideration in vocal pedagogy is how to teach proper balance between freedom and energization. Although the vocal instrument may be viewed in several ways, one of the most convenient points of departure is to consider it an aerodynamic/myoelastic instrument. That is, the muscular vocal mechanism functions in response to air pressure. One way to maintain the tonicity of the singing instrument is to achieve the exactitude of vocal fold approximation and airflow through the discipline of the precise onset (the “attack”) and the release. One can apply energy with ease, but one cannot sing lazily and expect good results.

Keywords:   tonicity, singing instrument, singing, pushing, pressed phonation, vocal folds, airflow, vocal pedagogy, energization, air pressure

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