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The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
The new voice  how to sing and speak properly by alan greene
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The new voice how to sing and speak properly by alan greene

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  • 1. THE NEW VOICE How to Sing and Speak Properly by Alan Greene TO Rita my wife whose love sustains me during the lonely times Drawings by Pamela Hyde and Susan Greene G Chappell & Co., Inc.
  • 2. Copyright © 1975 by Chappell & Co., Inc. International Copyright Secured ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Printed in U.S.A. Unauthorized copying, arranging, adapting, recording or public performance is an infringement of copyright. Infringers are liable under the law. Acknowledgments I wish to thank the publishers from whose books I have quoted for their kind permission to do so. Also, I want to thank so many of my pastand present students, in particular Alfonzo Mills, Samantha Sternbergh and Solomon Tawill, for their help in many experimental projects that made this book possible. Excerpt from The Science of Voice by Douglas Stanley. Copyright 1929, 1932, 1939, 1948 by Carl Fischer, Inc., New York. International Copyright Secured. Copyright Renewed. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Carl Fischer, Inc., New York. Excerpts from New Mind, New Body by Barbara B.Brown. Copyrights © 1974 by Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., New York. Excerpt from The Free Voice by Cornelius L. Reid. Copyright © 1965 by the Joseph Patelson Music House, New York. Excerpt from "Autonomic Control" by Peter J. Lang. Reprinted from Psychology Today Magazine, October 1970. Copyright © 1970 Ziff-Davis Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
  • 3. Contents THE THEORYWhat Is It?The Sound-Producing MechanismThe Sound-Supporting MechanismThe Word-Producing MechanismHow Does It Work?What Are the Problems?Separating Sound from PerformanceWhat Is the Solution?A New Era for the VoiceThe Basic Shape THE PRACTICEThe Sound-Supporting Mechanism, Part OneDont Use ItThe Sound-Producing MechanismThe Larynx Exercise 1 • Learning to Yawn the Adams Apple Down Exercise 2 • "Yawn" Without YawningPositioning the Tip of the Tongue Exercise 3 • Controlling the Tip of the Tongue Exercise 4 • "Yawning" the Bow Tie Exercise 5 • Doing Exercise 4 More Quickly Exercise 6 • Holding the Lower Section of the Basic ShapeThe Pin-Ball SyndromeThe Jaw Exercise 7 • The Hinge of the Jaw Exercise 8 • Correct Jaw Motion Down and Up Exercise 9 • Dropped Jaw with Larynx FunctioningThe Outer Semi-Circle Exercise 10 • Strengthening the Base of the Raphe of the Mylohyoid Exercise 11 • Strengthening the Sides of the Outer Semi-CircleThe Tongue Exercise 12 • Strengthening the Tongue Vertically
  • 4. Exercise 13 • Strengthening the Tongue Horizontally Exercise 14 • Using the Bow Tie Exercise 15 • Tension and Motion SimultaneouslyThe Passive Tongue Exercise 16 • Relaxing the Tongue Exercise 17 • Reaching the Back of the TongueDesensitization Exercise 18 • Passing the Back of the TongueThe Root of the Tongue Exercise 19 • Reaching the Root of the TongueThe Sides of the Root of the Tongue Exercise 20 • Relaxing the Sides of the Root of the TongueThe Upper Section of the Basic Shape Exercise 21 • Relaxing the Upper Section of the Basic ShapeThe Perfect and Constant HONHRelaxing Deeper Constrictors Exercise 22 • Relaxing Deeper ConstrictorsActivating the Anti-Constrictors Exercise 23 • Activating the Anti-ConstrictorsStrengthening the Anti-Constrictors Exercise 24 • Strengthening the Anti-Constrictors Exercise 25 • More Forward Positioning of the Anti-ConstrictorsThe Diagonal Tongue Exercise 26 • The Diagonal Tongue from Tip to Root Exercise 27 • Gripping the Entire Basic Shape Coordination and Vibrato Exercise 28 • Coordination and Vibrato Exercise 29 • Holding the Basic Shape and Thinking SoundFor Speakers OnlySound on the Basic Shape Exercise 30 • Maintaining the Basic Shape on SoundWhat Is Vocal Quality?New Sensations in the Higher and Lower TonesThe Actions of the Vocal CordsMeasuring the Basic Shape Exercise 31 • Measuring the Basic Shape with New SensationsLong Tones on the Basic Shape Exercise 32 • Long Tones on the Entire Vocal RangeVerifying the Perfect and Constant HONH on Sound Exercise 33 • Desensitizing the Soft Palate on SoundThe Sound-Supporting Mechanism, Part Two Exercise 34 • Deliberately Expanding the Abdomen Exercise 35 • Expanding the Abdomen and Chest Exercise 36 • Activating the Sound-Producing and Sound-Supporting Mechanisms SimultaneouslyMeasuring Sound-Supporting Mechanism Tension
  • 5. Exercise 37 • One Ounce of Sound-Supporting Mechanism TensionCrescendo/Decrescendo82Exercise 38 • Crescendo and DecrescendoScales and OctaveExercise 39 • Five-Note Scales, Eight-Note Scales and OctavesExercise 40 • Removing the ForefingerExercise 41 • Removing the Outer Semi-Circle PressureExercise 42 • Removing the Wide Belt and StandingThe Word-Producing Mechanism,VowelsExercise 43 • Tongue Motion on Pure VowelsExercise-44 • Tongue Motion on DiphthongsConsonantsExercise 45 • Singing Vowels and Consonants Without Using the LipsExercise 46 • Beginning and Ending "Words" with ConsonantsExercise 47 • Thinking "Words"Conclusion
  • 6. IllustrationsFig. 1 • The Sound-Producing Mechanism, Side ViewFig. 2 • The Sound-Producing Mechanism, Front ViewFig. 3 • The Sound-Supporting MechanismFig. 4 • The Word-Producing MechanismFig. 5 • Vocal Cords During BreathingFig. 6 • Vocal Cords During SwallowingFig. 7 • The Actions of the Three Mechanisms of the VoiceFig. 8 • Locating the Hinge of the JawFig. 9 • The Lower End of the Stick Behind theUpper End of the StickFig. 10 • Muscles of the Outer Semi-CircleFig. 11 • Incorrect Outer Semi-CircleFig. 12 • Correct Outer Semi-CircleFig. 13 • Locating the Area of ExerciseFig. 14 • The Throat BoardFig. 15 • Areas of the Tongue to Be ExercisedFig. 16 • A Developed Outer Semi-CircleFig. 17 • Five Sections of the TongueFig. 18 • Sides of the Tongue Touching the MolarsFig. 19 • Path the Forefinger FollowsFig. 20 • The Voices Two HornsFig. 21 • Upper Sections of the Basic ShapeFig. 22 • Collapsed Fauces and High Uvula, Causing Breathy, Non-Resonant SoundFig. 23 • Back of Tongue Too High, Causing Twangy-Nasal SoundFig. 24 • The Diagonal TongueFig. 25 • Producing the VibratoFig. 26 • The Sound BoxFig. 27 • The Actions of the Vocal CordsFig. 28 • Deactivating the Lips on Vowels and Certain Consonants
  • 7. INTRODUCTIONAs a practicing otolaryngologist for more than a quarter of a century, I have been exposed and overexposed tobooks, pamphlets, scientific and pseudo-scientific articles on the vocal mechanism and the technique for radicallyaltering the speaking and singing voice. Each new modification had its own coterie of devotees, teachers and students who wax enthusiastic only later tofind disappointment and often heartache in the time consuming and expensive search for the ephemeral"miracle" vocal technique. When Alan Greene first embarked on teaching the method incorporated in THE NEW VOICE he did notintend to radically depart from other previous concepts. Rather did he, with modesty, collate the knownscientific truths and with his greater understanding of the physical and emotional implications of vocalcommunication, create THE NEW VOICE. The result eradicates confusion and conflicts in teaching speech andsinging communication. THE NEW VOICE is a most valuable contribution to laryngeal knowledge. The book presents a conciseprofile of anatomy of the larynx, the housing area for the delicate vocal cords that determine all speech andsinging. In addition, Alan Greene, with practical wisdom, presents the relationship between the psyche (mind) andthe soma (body) — that valuable unity that is so essential to more exact speech and singing. Lester L. Coleman, M.D. Attending Surgeon Department of Otolaryngology, Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital Attending Surgeon, Department of Otolaryngology, New York Hospital, Cornell Medical Center Clinical Professor of Otolaryngology, Albert Einstein School of Medicine
  • 8. What Is It?The voice is truly a unique instrument. It is the only instrument:• whose quality of sound and the name of the instrument are both identified by the same word• that must be built by its owner• whose structure is mostly hidden in the human body• that contains within itself not one, but three separate mechanisms• that is constructed of muscle, cartilage and bone• whose component parts perform many different functions that are unrelated to singing• that can produce words• that is capable of developing either good or bad habits• whose muscular components react to their environment• that is directly connected to a brain• that is naturally imitative — in the sense that, with the aid of hearing, the voice will respond culturally in a recognizable fashion• that must not make a sound while it is learning to make sounds• that has two horns• The voice is the only instrument that is identified by the same word used to describe its sound. When someone is singing it is quite acceptable to say, "That vocalist has a beautiful voice." When a violinist isplaying it would sound strange to hear someone say, "That violinist has a beautiful violin." Voice is commonly used toidentify both the sounds produced by the act of singing and the instrument producing the sounds; violin identifies only theinstrument. The Oxford Universal Dictionary defines instrument as: "A contrivance for producing musical sounds." According tothat definition the voice is certainly an instrument. However, the same dictionary defines voice as: "Sound, or the wholebody of sounds, made or produced by the vocal organs of man or animals; formed in or emitted from the human larynx,. . .concretely, the organs by which it is produced." Re-read what I have italicized and you will find that just one word isused to describe the physical characteristics of the instrument — "concretely, the organs by which it is produced" — andthe result of the activation of the physical characteristics — "sound." For our purposes we must avoid this ambiguity. The distinction between cause — activating the vocal organs — andeffect — sound — must be definitely established in the students mind in order to clearly understand all that is to follow.When the terms "voice" or "vocal equipment" or "vocal instrument" are used in this book they will mean the physical parts ofthe instrument. The result of the activation of the physical parts will be identified as "tone," "sound," "vocal quality" or "tonequality."
  • 9. • The voice is the only instrument that must be built by its owner. I would like to give my personal definition of the word singer: The instrument-maker and player of the voice. Inmy opinion the definition must be broken down into these two independent elements — instrument-maker andplayer. We cannot assume that the physical vocal instrument — the instrument that can sing well — already exists.If this were true, everyone would sound good naturally. Only the parts (the organs) out of which the instrumentis structured are naturally present. Everyone does not sound good naturally because not everyone is using theparts correctly. The first thing the student of the voice must learn is to structure the vocal instrument. That is whymy definition of singer begins with "the instrument-maker." Only after the instrument is structured can you begin toplay it. We are dealing with an instrument — the voice — which exists quite apart from and independent of the soundsit can or cannot produce. The voice — the physical contrivance- is the cause. The sound — the result of activating this physical contrivance — is the effect.• The voice is the only instrument whose structure is mostly hidden in the human body. All musical instruments except the voice can be seen in toto. They are foreign bodies and when in use are simplyextensions of the player. Wind instruments become extensions of the players lips and fingers. The piano becomes anextension of the pianists hands, and one foot—for sustained pedalling. The only parts of the voice that can be seenon the outside are the Adams apple protruding from the throat, the jaw, the teeth, and part of the tongue. Why is it important to mention this characteristic of the voice? Because an instrument that is a foreign bodydoes not involve the students ego during the developmental process. The student of the piano, for instance, can see,directly, his precise level of development. The voice student, on the other hand, usually relies mainly on hishearing to assess his development—either he sounds better, and so feels better, or he sounds worse and feels worse.In the exercise section of this book I have tried to take the voice, as much as possible, "out" of the body and thusallow the student the opportunity to "see" the voice as if it too were a foreign body, consequently avoiding egoinvolvement.• The voice is the only instrument that contains within itself not one, but three separate mechanisms: the sound-supporting mechanism; the sound-producing mechanism; and the word-producing mechanism.• The voice is the only instrument that is constructed of muscle, cartilage and bone. When the voices three separate and independent mechanisms are correctly structured, exquisitely balancedand simultaneously activated, they can make beautiful music. They are: the sound-producing mechanism, thesound-supporting mechanism and the word-producing mechanism.
  • 10. The Sound-Producing Mechanism The movable parts of the sound-producing mechanism are the larynx, the vocal cords (housed in the larynx),several muscles in the neck, the back and root of the tongue, the uvula, the pillars of the fauces, and the softpalate. The immobile parts are the laryngeal pharynx, the oral pharynx, the nasal pharynx, the nasal cavity, andthe sinuses. See Fig. 1 and 2.
  • 11. Fig. 2. The Sound-Producing Mechanism, Front View. The Sound-Supporting Mechanism This section includes the lungs, the trachea leading down to the lungs, the chest, the rib cage (surrounding thefront and sides of the lungs), the diaphragm muscle, (situated at and horizontally connected to the bottom of thelungs), and the abdominal muscles. See Fig. 3. Its function in singing is to make sounds louder or softer, depending upon the amount of air expended in a givenamount of time. In other words, if a lot of air is expended in two seconds we will produce a loud sound; if a smallamount of air is used during that same two seconds we will produce a soft sound. Also, the ability to sing a longerphrase depends on a full lung capacity. Proper use of the sound-supporting mechanism will insure that the lungs arefilled to capacity. The Word-Producing Mechanism This section is composed of the lips, the jaw, the teeth, and the tip, front and middle of the tongue (back to where weproduce the consonants G as in go and K as in king). The word-producing mechanism changes the sounds whichcome up from the vocal cords into words by means of various muscular actions. See Fig. 4.• The voice is the only instrument whose component parts perform many different functions that are unrelated to singing.A few of the simpler and more obvious functions are:• The muscles in the neck control the movement of the head.• The back of the tongue pushes up against the soft palate initiating the act of
  • 12. swallowing.• The vocal cords in the sound-producing mechanism open when we breathe. With the epiglottis acting as a cover, the vocal cords close when we swallow—thus preventing food or liquid from entering the lungs. See Fig. 5 and 6.• The muscles in the sound-supporting mechanism perform the life-sustaining act of breathing.• The component parts in the word-producing mechanism are involved in drinking and chewing.
  • 13. How Does It Work?See Fig. 7.The Sound-Supporting Mechanism—Inhaling1 • The abdominal muscles, rib cage and chest expand.2 • The diaphragm descends.3 • This creates a vacuum in the lungs, which are immediately filled with air.The Sound-Supporting Mechanism—Exhaling4 • The abdominal muscles, rib cage and chest contract, pushing the diaphragm up against the bottom of the lungs and forcing the air out.The Sound-Producing Mechanism5 • As the air rises and passes across the vocal cords, they vibrate, producing sound. If the musculature aboveand below the vocal cords is properly structured, the sound will be an open and free AH.The Word-Producing Mechanism6 • The lips, teeth, jaw and tip, front and middle of the tongue move to produce the desired vowel orconsonant. This section simply changes the open, free AH sound coming up from the sound-producingmechanism into words.• The voice is the only instrument that can produce words. The equipment necessary to produce sound—muscle, cartilage and bone—is common to man and many otherorganisms, but only man has the intellect and physical mobility necessary to communicate through a spokenlanguage. Although other animals make sounds—birds chirp or whistle, dogs bark or growl, horses whinny and soon—their level of communication is most elementary compared to the infinite variety of thoughts, emotions andimagery the human voice can convey through words. Just a slight change in pitch introduces subtle variations inmeaning and reflects the subtle change in the thought of the speaker. In the remote past our ancestors communicated with only grunts. It took a very long time for the human species todevelop a spoken language. Singing—sustaining pleasing sounds on varying but precise pitches for varying butprecise lengths of time while mouthing words simultaneously—is the evolutionary extension of language and thehuman voice.
  • 14. What Are the Problems?• The voice is the only instrument that is capable of developing either good or bad habits. Unlike any other instrument, a very large percentage of the material of which the voice is constructed is muscle.Muscles can develop habits—repeat certain idiosyncratic actions over and over. Why do certain habits develop?Can they be changed? Which of these habits relate to the voice? These questions can be answered only within thecontext of the following fact:• The voice is the only instrument whose muscular components react to their environment. Because humans are complex and highly developed, we have profound mental and physical reactions to thepressures of life that are constantly around us. These reactions to pressures and problems, left unchanged orunresolved, make their appearance in the individual as tensions. Muscles in various parts of the body tighten. Thethroat area, where sound begins, reacts immediately to emotional experiences. The movable components in thehuman vocal equipment change positions—e.g., the muscles in the throat tighten— corresponding to the intensityof the experience. And that response is remembered. If the original experience, or a similar experience, happensmore than once (it usually does), the sensation of tightening muscles becomes familiar and that action becomesrepetitive—a habit. Eventually the tightening of these particular muscles is unrelated to the original experience. There are many of these muscular habits, or vocal instrument inhibitors, that are common to most potentialsingers. We are all the products of our conditioning and have become slaves to our habits, particularly those we arenot even aware of. It is therefore very important for the student to become aware of these bad habits. It can mean thedifference between struggling long and arduously to overcome some vocal defect "in the dark," or discoveringvery precisely—mentally and physically—where the cause and cure of the particular problem lies. Did you ever hear anyone who was highly exhilarated and excited speak softly, slowly and calmly? I doubt it. Didyou ever listen to someone who has just caused an automobile accident, someone terribly fearful that he may haveinjured another person, speak with a happy, controlled sound? The various kinds of sounds we use in differentcircumstances are a very accurate reflection of our emotional state in a particular environment. What makes an individuals tone of voice consonant with a given situation?• the change in pitch—higher or lower than usual• the change in volume—louder or softer than usual• the change in intensity—tighter or more relaxed than usual All of these changes are affected by changes in the muscular components before the sound is heard. The quality ofthe sound is pre-determined by changes in the positions of the muscles in the throat. It is our intention to do awaywith certain symptomatic muscle tensions and replace them with correct muscle actions that can be controlled andused in practically any environment.• The voice is the only instrument that is directly connected to a brain. A violin sounds like a violin because it is shaped like a violin. A piano sounds like a piano because it is shaped likea piano and not like a violin. These observations may appear to be self-evident until we ask, "A voice is shaped likea voice. Why then, in singing, dont all voices sound good?" Why is it we can all use the vocal instrument forspeaking and find it more or less adequate, and yet when some people try to sustain a musical sound, their vocalequipment produces tight, non-musical and unattractive sounds? It is because the voice is the only instrument that ispartially constructed of movable muscle, and these muscles are also connected to a brain. The brain is influenced,
  • 15. as I have said, by its environment— emotionally, socially, economically and culturally—and it (the brain)determines what positions the muscles in the vocal instrument will take. Those muscular positions, in turn, willdetermine the kind of musical sound the vocal instrument will produce. A violin has no brain. A piano is mindless. These instruments are pre-structured, and the students approach themwith no prejudices; no pre-judgment as to their tone quality and no pre-existing bad habits. The voice student comesto his instrument fully prejudiced: all three of the voices mechanisms—sound support, sound production and wordproduction-are governed by reflex actions; past experiences now become habits. Through constant repetition thevoice student is locked into the present quality of his sound, and, although he may not like the sound, he cantconceive of himself sounding otherwise. He is completely unaware of the kind of sound his instrument is potentiallycapable of producing if it were properly structured. Another very important consequence of the voices direct connection to the brain is the response of the muscles inall three mechanisms to various emotional experiences. The muscles react (even if we consciously try to preventthem) to fear, grief, happiness, depression, exhilaration, love, hate, desire, anxiety, jealousy, disappointment,contentment. For example, fear and anxiety induce "knots" in the stomach; during times of stress our mouths canbecome dry (the muscles around the salivary glands tighten); some people begin to stutter; when we cry ourthroats ache. The brain remembers things we dont consciously remember, and these unconscious memories influence the wayour muscles react. A large percentage of our past freezes into our vocal apparatus. This means that we carrytensions around in us long after the initial tension-producing experiences have been forgotten consciously. And wecan become so accustomed to these feelings of tension we hardly know we have them. The brains ability to repeat certain muscle activities over and over, like a broken record, starts very early in life.What is the very first use of the vocal apparatus? Crying at the moment of birth. Crying is always accompanied bya tightness in the throat. By chance, the positions the muscles in the throat took making those first sounds mayhave been extraordinarily tight. In some people a minute fraction of that initial crying-tension may yet exist astightness in the throat. Id like to list, in the form of questions, some other situations that may have imprintedthemselves on the brain, which in turn may have become vocal inhibitors. The student should become aware of thepossibility that his own muscle systems may have reacted to certain experiences. As a very young child: What were the conditions at home? For that matter, was there a home? Was it tranquil,quiet? Or tense, noisy? Perhaps it was quiet and yet had an atmosphere of tension? Were you scolded during toilettraining? Were you scolded if you vomited? (The process of inhibiting certain natural childish behavior can at thesame time activate constrictor muscles in unrelated parts of the body.) Were there sisters or brothers to fight with aswell as play with? (The tensions created by sibling rivalry are well documented.) Were you lonely? Did youhave nightmares? Were you afraid of the dark? Were there any accidents or deaths? (Adults have a difficultenough time coping with tragedy. Imagine the tensions a child experiences when exposed to tragedy.) Were youallowed to express yourself freely? Was your point of view—right or wrong—received respectfully? ("Children are tobe seen and not heard" is a common attitude among many adults. Also, in the process of getting through aharrowing day, parents can be short of patience and frustrate a childs sometimes justifiable assertions. Calamitiesand forcefully imposed inhibitions can be too much for a child to cope with. Unconscious and chronic musculartensions result as a child attempts to "hold back." Any of these experiences, and almost everybody has had someof them, can set up habits of muscular tension.)• The voice is the only instrument that is naturally imitative in the sense that, with the aid of hearing, the voice will respond culturally in a recognizable fashion both in speech and song. Children imitate: What kinds of sounds were you accustomed to hearing? Arguing or shouting? Did yourmother or father sing? Did your sisters or brothers sing? Did they sing well or poorly? (Whatever you heard youimitated.) In what part of the country did you grow up? (Each section has its own peculiar accents andpronunciations that are not necessarily helpful for good singing. And children imitate what they hear.)
  • 16. At school: Were you embarrassed if you were called upon to sing? Were you labeled a monotone or non-singerby an impatient or unsympathetic teacher? Did you get along with other children? Were you left out of variousactivities? Were you comfortable at school? Were you unsure of your learning capacities? Did anyone laugh if yousang alone? Did you listen to much music at that time? Did you listen to classical music? Pop? Western? Rock?Rhythm and blues? Did you watch lots of television? Listen much to disc jockey shows? Imitate what you heard?(Yes you did!) Did you imitate well? Was what you were imitating any good in the first place? Did you go toconcerts? Musicals? Plays? Could you afford to even if you wanted to? Did you grow up in a small town wherethese activities were nonexistent? Do you think you had a happy or unhappy childhood? Are your memoriespleasant or unpleasant? Were you discriminated against because of your religion, color or minority status?(Children—and adults—can be very cruel to each other, often without realizing the lasting damage they cause.) When did you seriously become interested in singing? Did you want to study singing but were laughed at by your parents or friends? What percentage of you says "I can do it?" What percentage says "I cant do it?" (The attitudes of friends and relatives can be—but very often shouldnt be—very influential.) As you got older: What were your romantic experiences? What were your sexualexperiences? Do you feel adequate as a love interest? Do you feel attractive? (I did not say look attractive—I didmean feel attractive.) Do you think that right now youre a great singer? A great performer? A great lover? (Veryoften an over-estimation of ones abilities can be a vocal inhibitor. An over-estimation can actually be a defenseagainst a deep-down feeling of under-estimation.) Are you happy with: Your job? Your home life? The activities youindulge in? Your friends? Your wife or husband? (Your immediate environment can influence your approach tothe discipline and concentration required for successful development.) Have you ever studied singing before? Who was your teacher? Was your teacher such a likable person that yourrelationship was pleasant but your development suffered? When you sing, do you fully, technically, know what youare doing? Or is your technique a vague kind of guesswork based on, "If I like what I hear, its good"? (If that is your"technique," youre really singing "by ear.") What do you really think of singing? A way to become a millionaire? A way to romance? A way to become a starand "get even," or "show them who you really are"? (A person should desire to become a singer because of his orher love for the art of singing. Any other motive could in itself be a cause of tension and emotional stress.) Are you in awe of singing? Is it some wonderful, mysterious endowment given to a select few? Do you think yourenot endowed but inwardly hope you are? Do you do a lot of singing? Or do you think you sound so terrible yourarely sing at all? When you hear a recording or watch someone sing do you say to yourself, "theyre not that good. Ican do just as well." And yet, why dont you? (An individual can possess many contradictory feelings and attitudesabout so emotional a subject as singing. The only stabilizing influence for the potential singer is to concentrate onobjective technical development so that the mysteries and fantasies are replaced by concrete facts and realisticthinking.) This is an incomplete listing of experiences and socio-cultural phenomena by which people are conditioned andthrough which they reflect that conditioning. Think back. Try to remember your own personal experiences that mayhave influenced your singing. They are there. Your emotional, social, economic and cultural experiences are thesum-total of you. The brain remembers. These experiences have had their effect on the way you sound and perform.But any vocal problems you may have acquired as a result of your past can be undone. Maybe youre not a "natural-born" singer, but neither are you a "natural-born" non-singer. You have a set of pre-existing muscular vocalinhibitors. Any bad habits you learned unconsciously can be unlearned and replaced by correct muscular habitsconsciously. To review, some possible reasons for the active use of constrictor muscles are:• Initial crying at birth.• Unconsciously imitating the sounds of close relatives and friends and imitating—or being the recipient of—the emotional hang-ups they may have possessed.• Imitating regional singing and performance in a detrimental manner. Hard rock demands raucous shouts to match the sound of amplified instruments and drums, and to describe social protest and personal anguish. Some popular music uses a raw or
  • 17. breathy sound to advertise a certain type of sexuality. The various country-western,folk or folk-rock idioms that are, to sound authentic, nasal and twangy with concomitantregional accents on words.For the singer of classical music, getting into repertoire prematurely. Your own emotional problems that have settled into the constrictor muscles of the vocal instruments mechanisms. The possible deceptiveness of listening to yourself and hearing the "beauty" that really is not there. The actor or actress who has studied acting technique and does not comprehend that vocal technique is a totally different discipline. The professional singer who is already locked into active constrictor activity because he or she has received, over a period of time, rewards in the form of applause and money (but comes off-stage with a hoarse throat hardly able to speak). This person has a double problem: a self-image of success and a fear of change, in spite of the fact that the change, in the long run, is to save the instrument. Separating Sound from PerformanceIt is possible that, after reading through the preceding review section, the student will say to himself: "But I like rocksongs" or "I like country-western songs" or "But I like to sing in so and sos style. Why is it wrong?" Actually, there isnothing wrong with any song idiom. If anything is wrong, at this point, it is with the student and not the song. Each particular genre of song has certain stylistic characteristics that are peculiar to that genre; certain turns ofphrases and the freedom on the part of the singer to add extra notes and even change a little of the original melody.There is no challenging or questioning the acceptability of these cultural performance characteristics. The songswould not have a genuine flavor if they were missing. Choosing to perform in any song idiom is merely a question of timing. Our need, right now, is for the student totemporarily separate sound from performance; more specifically, to isolate the voice from the emotional-culturalsuperstructure. A singer is essentially a musical-actor. The student must, for a short while, detach the "musical"from the "actor" and concentrate entirely on learning to use his vocal equipment correctly. We live in a commercially oriented society. It permeates our thinking. An automobile company will put out anew model car. If it is successful a rival company will then manufacture a similar car. Relating this pattern ofcommercial thinking to singing can result in the feeling that if you imitate a star, you automatically become a star.But a singer is neither an automobile nor a cheap copy of an exclusive dress or suit to be sold in the bargain basementof some department store. At this point—the beginning of your training— thinking about how you perform orthinking about how much you do or do not sound like your favorite singer will keep you from separating soundfrom performance. Conscious or unconscious imitation of other singers puts iron bars around your own creative ability. Besides, itis too early to concern yourself with emotional projection. Initially you must concern yourself with technicaldevelopment. You will get involved with your total performance, joining "musical" and "actor" again, after youhave correctly structured your vocal instrument. Only then will you be completely free to express your cultural-musical characteristics in a song and sound as the individual you are, regardless of the genre you prefer to performin. What Is the Solution?There are various sets of muscles in the body that move various parts—arms, legs, torso, neck, etc.—in several differentdirections. But a set of muscles can move in only one direction. Another set, situated in the same vicinity, is used tomove that same part of the body in a different direction. They are called opposing muscles. That fact is the cornerstone ofthis method of vocal instrument development.
  • 18. There are opposing muscles, muscles that move in opposite directions, in the sound-producing mechanism. One set iscalled, medically, the major constrictors. We will call them the constrictors. We will call the opposing muscles in thesound-producing mechanism the anti-constrictors. Let us see how some opposing muscles function in different partsof the body:• Make a fist. You are easily and directly moving, feeling and controlling one set of muscles.• Release the fist and relax your fingers. This, too, is a directly controlled action and now you are feeling the absence of the fist tension.• Now stretch your fingers straight out as far apart from each other as possible. You are making a span by feeling and controlling the opposing set of muscles.• Relax your hand. It must be understood that one set of muscles made the fist and the opposing set of muscles, located in the samevicinity, made the span: In addition you were able to relax your hand completely and not move either set of muscles. Let us experience opposing muscle action closer to the sound-producing mechanism:• Smile. You are pulling muscles in your face backwards and slightly upwards.• Relax. You have now deactivated the smiling muscles and no muscles in the facial area are working.• Pucker your lips as if you were about to kiss someone or as if you were saying an exaggerated "ooh." You are now using muscles that move forward while keeping the smiling muscles out of action.• Relax. The muscles that do the smiling and the muscles that do the puckering are located in the same vicinity but move inopposite directions. They are opposing muscles and are easily moved at your direct command. You can also relax both setsof muscles and move nothing. Here is a simple but very revealing experiment:• Smile and pucker your lips simultaneously. You will feel the tension of opposing muscles being activated at the same time. The activating of opposing musclessimultaneously is correct in the sound-supporting mechanism but very incorrect in the sound-producing mechanism.We shall return to this Smiling-Puckering Syndrome later on. Now try this:• Place one or two fingertips on your Adams apple. The Adams apple is the slight bony protrusion that is situated behind the chin on the middle of the neck. It feels like a horizontal V with the point of the V touching your fingertip. If you cannot locate your Adams apple it is probably pulled, at this time, far back into the throat. Just place your fingertips on the bony structure that is in the middle of your neck.• Touch that area lightly and swallow. You will find that the Adams apple (actually the entire larynx—the Adams apple is just the part that protrudes) moves up when you begin to swallow and drops down again after swallowing. When the Adams apple is high in the throat, during swallowing, the constrictor muscles are activated—both in the area of the larynx and the back of the tongue (the back of the tongue tightens against the palate). The throat is in a closed position.• Now touch your larynx again, lightly, and sing a few bars of a song on the sound ah as in the word far. You will probably discover that the larynx moves up on the first or second tone and as the melody rises the larynx rises. As the melody descends the larynx
  • 19. moves down a little or it may stay up—frozen—high in the throat. This means that every time you start to sing and your larynx rises, your constrictor muscles are activated and you are moving close to your swallowing position. We just experienced swallowing as the most closed—constricted—throat shape. How far back or up the constrictors in the larynx and tongue move while singing will determine how badly distorted your sound will be. But, just as it is in so many other parts of the body, we have opposing muscles in the throat and tongue; muscles that move in the opposite direction from swallowing: the anti-constrictors. Learning how to stop the constrictor muscle action and activating the anti-constrictor muscles in the sound- producing mechanism is one of the main goals in this book. A New Era for the VoiceTill now it has been more or less universally accepted by most vocal methods and teachers that the various musclecomponents of the voice—particularly in the throat musculature-could not be directly controlled. The passages in thepublications I am about to quote were either written before certain research into bio-feedback was concluded or the authorswere unaware of this research. I quote them simply to establish what has been the prevailing notion regarding themusculature in the throat. Douglas Stanley, in his book The Science of Voice, states on p.65: Now it is physiologically impossible for a singer to consciously open the throat itself during the act of phonation, since we do not possess voluntary localized muscular control over an isolated part. Thus, to illustrate by means of a similar case, it is impossible to move the larynx volitionally, but it is quite a simple matter to do so when the movement becomes part of a reflex act—e.g., the act of swallowing. // must follow that directions to the singer with regard to movements of the larynx are futile. [Emphasis added} Cornelius L. Reid, author of The Free Voice, writes on p. 19: It cannot be stated too emphatically, that as neither the muscles which stretch the vocal cords to the desired length and tension to establish pitch, nor those which set the cavities of the laryngeal and postnasal pharynx into favorable position to resonance, can be controlled in a constructive way by any act of willful volition, all acts designed to obtain direct control over the vocal organs are useless. [Emphasis added} Once upon a time it was acceptable to think the earth was flat. From our historical vantage point we can viewthis as simply a quaint thought. But when the idea that the earth was round was first introduced, the battles pro andcon were fierce. Fortunately, ideas can be expressed today without fear of being beheaded or burned at the stake. Itwould be naive to assume the last word has already been said about vocal technique. It would be naive andpresumptuous to assume this book is the last word. Rather, we must see things dynamically—in theirhistorical setting—and, based upon the latest findings, particularly in the field of bio-feedback, a new approach todeveloping the vocal instrument is as inevitable as the planet finally becoming round. I have been able to teach my students direct muscular control of the voice in varying degrees, in ratio to my ownresearch and technical development, since 1951. It was at that time when certain questions began to form in mymind:• What does a ventriloquist do to change his sound when he speaks as the dummy?• How does a mimic change his sound and, if hes a good mimic, sound exactly like someone else?
  • 20. • How does a sword-swallower lower a dangerous weapon safely down his throat? One day in the spring of 1951 I watched myself in a mirror as I produced a tone. Accidentally or unthinkinglyI watched not my face, but my throat and saw my larynx drop simultaneously with the production of the sound.When I finished the tone my larynx moved up again to approximately the middle of my neck. I then,deliberately, made an effort not to drop my larynx on the next tone and there it was—a completely different, tightand distorted vocal quality. I dropped my larynx on the next sound and, of course, it was open again. The images of mimics and ventriloquists flashed through my mind and I saw the connection: ventriloquists,whether or not they are conscious of the specific way they distort their throat musculature to effect the change theywish when they speak as the dummy, do just that—distort their throat muscles; a mimic changes his quality of soundby more precise throat muscle distortions in order to sound like someone else, usually a celebrity familiar toaudiences. It is not necessary for the mimic, or the ventriloquist, to be conscious of his internal muscularmanipulations—his hearing confirms whether or not he sounds like the person he wishes to imitate. And I guessedthat somehow sword-swallowers must train themselves to drop the larynx (at least that) to open their throatsextremely wide. I later learned they practice with a narrow but blunt stick. Teaching my students to drop the larynx voluntarily was just the beginning of a long period of experimentation. In the October 1970 issue of Psychology Today, in an article entitled "Autonomic Control," (control of internal organs such as heart or kidneys) Peter J. Lang wrote:Before Harry Houdini performed one of his famous escapes, a skeptical committee would search his clothes and body. Whenthe members of the committee were satisfied that the Great Houdini was concealing no keys, they would put chains,padlocks and handcuffs on him. Of course, not even Houdini could open a padlock without a key, and when he was safely behind the curtains he would cough one up. He could hold a key suspended in his throat and regurgitate it when he was unobserved. The trick behind many of Houdinis escapes was in some ways just as amazing as the escape itself. Ordinarily when an object is stuck in a persons throat he will start to gag. He cant help it— its an unlearned, automatic reflex. But Houdini had learned to control his gag reflex [emphasis added] by practicing hour after hour with a small piece of potato tied to a string. It was a very enlightening article, and it was very exciting to discover others doing similar experimentation, although with different goals in mind. It was also my first encounter with a new branch of medicine: bio- feedback. Bio-feedback is learned in the following way. You are connected, by delicate wires taped to the skin, to anelectrical device that monitors and transmits internal body functions onto a television screen, graph paper,numbers, lights or tones. In this way you can read your own heart beat, blood pressure, brain waves, state ofmuscle tension and anxiety, etc. You can compare the information you receive from the monitor (the televisionscreen, light going on or off, tone beeping) with how you feel inside yourself. In her fascinating book New Mind,New Body, Barbara B. Brown states: "You are being fed back biological information about your biological self."(p. 6) To effect change, you relax in a chair or lie down as you watch or listen while the monitor shows signs of yourinternal functioning. Over a period of time you learn to detect certain changes—for example, when your heart rateslows down, or when youre becoming more relaxed—and recognize the subjective feelings associated with thechanges occurring on the monitor. "In essence the monitor gives you information about your successes. In time youdevelop control over the fluctuations of the sign, and often may learn to exercise precise control, at will, over howthe body sign changes." (ibid., p.7) This is bio-feedback. Dr. Brown asserts that human beings are adaptive and accustomed to tolerating a wide range of muscle tensionand adjusting to these tensions unconsciously. But bio-feedback "... can reveal small differences never beforewithin the realm of human perception and perception is the basis of experience. Now suddenly you can have theexperience of breaking down the muscle barrier... you can experience small, localized changes of muscle tension.You can get inside the muscle, learn to perceive it directly, learn to experience its activity. It is a new world ofexperiences and insights." (ibid., p. 8, my italics) Although we do not use electronic bio-feedback equipment in the vocal studio—our monitors are our fingersand hands—the results are amazingly similar. We cannot attach wires to the muscles in the throat, but with afingertip you will be able to touch areas of the throat the average person would believe to be untouchable. Your
  • 21. fingertip will send messages back to the brain, telling you whether you are properly relaxed or properly tensed andyou will learn to adjust accordingly. To review:• Magicians, ventriloquists, mimics and sword-swallowers have been using and controlling remote muscle areas in the throat for a long time without knowing technically or physiologically what they are doing.• Recent experimenters in the medical profession have been reaching and controlling remote muscle areas in a scientifically systematic and objective manner.• Therefore it should be reasonable to conclude that today, using similar methods, singers can attain acorrectly structured and objectively controlled vocal instrument; banishing permanently learning to sing "byear," which is simply guessing at what theyre doing. The Basic ShapeDespite the fact that the voice is the original musical instrument, instruments outside the body are more easilystructured. It is obviously easier to measure and put together a contrivance that is outside the body. The instrumentmaker can see exactly what he is doing. The voices instrument maker—the owner of the voice—uses different toolsand means of measurement, but the goal is the same: a fine vocal instrument. The voice resembles most closely the wood-wind family of instruments, that is, the saxophone, clarinet, oboe,bassoon. These instruments have reeds connected to the mouthpiece and when air is blown into the mouthpiecethe reed begins to vibrate, thus producing a sound. The voices vocal cords take the place of the reed—when aircrosses the vocal cords they vibrate and a sound is produced. All outside instruments have a rigid structure. Within this hard structure, or case, some parts move. The casecan be characterized as the instruments basic shape. Think of any instrument you wish—a piano, violin, trumpet,guitar, clarinet—each instrument has its own characteristic basic shape. Within this basic shape, keys, strings orvalves change the pitch when they are moved. Compared to the actual size of the instrument, very little is moved,and the basic shape of the instrument never changes. What is the voices Basic Shape? It is a perfectly structured, never-changing, sound-producing mechanismconsisting of:• A deeply dropped and forward-held larynx.• A well rounded outer semi-circle.• On the vowel sound ah as in far, a U shaped tongue along the length of the tongue that can be seen in a mirror.• A low hanging uvula, a relaxed soft palate and billowed-out pillars of the fauces.• The back of the tongue and the entire width of the anti-constrictor muscles at the root of the tongue held in forward tension. This description of the voices Basic Shape, at this point, may appear awesome. But please realize that theexercises you are about to begin have been thoroughly planned and have already been successfully experienced bymany students. Developing the Basic Shape is a step-by-step process. The entire method becomes comfortable asyou gain familiarity through repetition of the exercises. As to pitch and words: The responsibility of pitch change belongs to the vocal cords. The brain senses the properinterval change, the vocal cords make the change and the ear corroborates the correct pitch change. The musclesin the word-producing mechanism negotiate the various changes each word requires. The voices Basic Shape mustallow these pitch and word changes to occur without itself changing.
  • 22. Deactivating the constrictors in the throat and activating the opposing muscles, the anti-constrictors, gives thevoice its Basic Shape. How can this be accomplished?• The voice is the only instrument that must not make a sound while it is learning to make sounds. Conventional vocal development methods attempt to develop the voice while it is making sounds. This is asnonsensical as trying to play a violin while it is still a block of wood. It is very difficult, perhaps impossible, for mostvoice students to develop sound by just singing. It is in reality teaching a student to sing "by ear." If, by chance, itsounds good, its good. But if we remove the trap of attempting Td develop the voice while producing sounds we areleft with one very rational alternative: exercise silently! An instrument cannot be built and played at the sametime. The structuring process of any instrument—particularly the voice—begins to make sense when it is donein silence. The first positive result is that the student does not relate the exercises to singing. Initially this may seemparadoxical, but making sound simply returns the student—automatically— to the use of his constrictor throatmuscles, to his old cultural, emotional and physical relationships to himself; the very conditions that gave him hisvocal problems in the first place. Producing sound must not be attempted:• Until the constrictor muscles in the sound-producing mechanism and related tensions in other parts of the body are completely deactivated.• Until the discovery and development of the anti-constrictor muscles in the sound producing mechanism are completely under volitional control and are as strong as steel. Singers, professional or amateur, who possess a good, clear sound are singing with their constrictor throatmuscles relaxed and their anti-constrictor throat muscles active. Regardless of how they achieved this, regardlessof any other subjective physical sensations they may relate to their correct sound—such as: vibrations in the upper-frontal area of the head or firm and active abdominal muscles—it is a physically objective fact that in the first placethe constrictor muscles in the throat are uninvolved while the anti-constrictor muscles are totally involved, thusstructuring the vocal instruments Basic Shape. Reversing, silently, the coordinative muscular process in the sound-producing mechanism is an objectivemethod of vocal development completely divorced from and independent of both the teachers and studentssubjective propensities. This allows us to structure the vocal instruments Basic Shape as precisely as if it wereoutside of the body. THE PRACTICE In the first phase of your studentship you are going to be the instrument maker. The more completely you can identify as the builder of the voice rather than the user (singer), the easier the exercises will be to practice. Itwould be best to stop singing. An instrument cannot be played upon while it is being built. On the other hand, you may be working professionally and cannot stop singing. My advice is this: When you sing, forget the exercises. When you are exercising, forget your singing. In the beginning keep them as far apart, mentally and physically, as possible. Imperceptibly, the results of your exercising will become manifest in your performance. The exercises are presented in a standardized sequence based upon years of working with many students. Ingeneral, the way that the exercises have been set up is best, but if any exercise is too difficult, move on and returnlater to that earlier section. You will discover that later exercises will make a previous exercise easier. Exercises are basically exaggerations. Actual performance, in comparison, becomes easy. Exaggerationstrengthens and makes familiar certain necessary musculature. The exercises concentrate on individual sections of muscles that need reworking and reconditioning. There are,however, many combinations of single exercises that can enhance the development and coordination of two or
  • 23. more sections of muscles. The teacher or student will be able to discover which combination is appropriate at anygiven time in the students development. The Sound-Supporting Mechanism, Part One Dont Use ItContrary to most conventional methods of vocal development that begin with learning to "support the tone," thismethod will begin with learning how not to support a tone. At this stage in your development you are notproducing any tones to support, but possibly you have already acquired many bad habits in the sound-supportingmechanism. It is necessary to stop these bad habits immediately. At the same time it will be helpful to acquiresome basic knowledge about the sound-supporting mechanism. Air, to the voice, is what gasoline is to an automobile. Gasoline gives the automobile the energy that is convertedinto motion. Air gives the voice the energy that is converted into sound, by passing across the vocal cordscausing them to vibrate. But while an automobile ;s still in the process of being built it is senseless to fill up the tank. It is just as senselessto actively use the sound-supporting mechanism before the sound-producing mechanism has been structured intothe voices Basic Shape. To support a tone prematurely, while the constrictor throat muscles are still active, wouldbe similar to accelerating a car that has no steering wheel. The car would move but, deprived of any directioncontrol, it would probably crash. To sing now, and to use support muscles now during singing, would onlyproduce throat irritation, throat tickle, hoarseness, and a retardation of the development of the new musculatureneeded for the structuring of the Basic Shape. How does the sound-supporting mechanism work? Press down on the gas pedal, feed more gas to the engine,and the car will go faster. Activate the abdominal muscles, feed more air (energy) through the vocal cords, and thesound becomes louder. Release the gas pedal, feed less gas into the engine, and the car will slow down. Relax theabdominal muscles, feed less air through the vocal cords, and the tone becomes softer. Making a tone louder orsofter is the sole function of the muscles in the sound-supporting mechanism. Although there are other support muscles in addition to the abdominal muscles, for the sake of simplicity, Ishall describe the sound-supporting mechanism by the activity of the abdominal muscles since they are easilyseen and felt.
  • 24. Experiment:• Place the palm of one hand over your abdomen with the thumb just below the point where the ribs meet.• Spread out the rest of your fingers so that your hand is covering a wide abdominal area.• Shout a loud sound without feeling any motion at all beneath your outspread palm. Shout! You will find that you cannot produce a loud sound without the help of the abdominal muscles. A loud soundcan only be achieved by tightening the abdominal muscles to help expel lots of air in a short space of time.• Again cover your abdomen with an outstretched hand and produce a very soft sound while tightening the abdominal muscles. You will find that this, too, is impossible because you are forcing too much air out of the lungs to be able toproduce a soft sound. If, by chance, your sound is soft while you are tightening the abdominal muscles, it is onlybecause your throat constrictors are so tight they are actually choking the sound. Over-blowing, or forcing too much air out too quickly, is a common bad habit. It gives you a very obviousfeeling of tension in the abdominal muscles. If you do not feel any abdominal tension on a sustained tone, stand infront of a long mirror and see if the abdominal muscles are active when you sing. Seeing the action of the abdominalmuscles as they tense on a sound can help you identify the feeling of too much tension, If you do not see yourabdominal muscles tighten when you sing, you havent acquired that particular bad habit. Untrained or poorly trained singers will produce a tight sound, automatically, when they pull in their abdominalmuscles to support a tone. It is an automatic reflex: tighten the abdominal muscles on a sound and the throatconstrictors become active too, because your abdominal muscles, the gas pedal of your vocal instrument, are"married" to your throat constrictors at this point. This automatic reflex (an acquired "bad habit") must be stoppedimmediately. In order to sever the connection between the abdominal muscles and the throat constrictors, youmust temporarily stop using the abdominal muscles to support tones. Their tensions will mask or even bemistaken for the clear and direct sensations of the throat muscles during the development of the sound-producingmechanism. Even though you will be exercising silently the abdominal muscles may want to tense. They mustnot!• Your overall physical feeling should be one of complete relaxation.• Sit when you practice.• Breathe easily—take a breath and let it out on a sigh—let yourself go limp.• Make certain your abdominal muscles do not tighten.• Make certain your shoulders do not rise when you inhale. In this general state of relaxation you can utilize your full powers of concentration where they are needed—in thethroat area. There is time enough to work standing up. Eventually you will be able to sing standing up with therelaxed, sitting down, sighing attitude. Remember: The first step towards using the sound-supporting mechanismcorrectly is to stop using the abdominal muscles!
  • 25. The Sound-Producing MechanismStrict attention to the directions in each exercise is mandatory. Read through the entire book to get a morecomprehensive picture of the final result before beginning to practice the exercises. If you adhere to a disciplined,daily schedule of exercising, your practicing will become a series of rewarding and fascinating discoveries. The LarynxThe correct positioning for the larynx during singing is low and forward in the throat. Yawning will activate theanti-constrictor muscles and move the larynx down in the opposite direction from swallowing. This is our firstgoal: to develop the strength and coordination to position the larynx low and forward in the throat and to keep itthere constantly during singing. You will need a mirror, one that has lights around its perimeter, so that you can seevery clearly the several areas of the vocal instrument that are visible. The best kind of mirror is a make-up mirror. The mirror should be set up so that you can sit comfortably, with your back touching the back of the chair, andstill be able to look into the mirror. If necessary, set the mirror on top of several telephone books so you can see intoit without leaning forward or looking down.Exercise 1 • Learning to Yawn the Adams Apple Down 1 • Please be seated and look into the mirror. 2 • Relax, with your back touching the back of the chair. 3 • Do not activate the abdominal muscles (re-read The Sound-Supporting Mechanism, Part One, p. 26). 4 • Touch your Adams apple lightly with your fingertip. Do not press against it. 5 • Yawn. Do not imitate a yawn. Concentrate and wait until you can actually yawn. When you do yawn you will feel the Adams apple descend very low in the throat. Yawning gives you the mostopen structure possible in the lower section of the Basic Shape. We will eventually be able to maintain this openyawning position firmly without yawning. (Some people have exceptionally active backward-pulling constrictormuscles. As a result, the Adams apple is pulled far back into the throat and therefore cannot be located with thefinger. Even in these cases the Adams apple can be moved forward. For now, just feeling the general motionof the throat area dropping on a yawn will suffice.) Try Exercise 1 again: 1 • Touch the Adams apple lightly with your fingertip. 2 • Yawn, and the Adams apple will descend. 3 • Relax at the end of the yawn and the Adams apple will rise to its original position by itself. 4 • Please repeat over and over and over: Yawn—Relax—Yawn—Relax. With enough repetitions you will begin to feel the anti-constrictor muscles that pull the Adams apple down and your fingertip, following the movement of the Adams apple, will correctly illustrate the action of the anti- constrictor muscles. In other words, when your fingertip feels the Adams apple low in the throat, you will, at the same time, feel the inner muscle tension generated by the specific anti-constrictor action.
  • 26. These first exercises have a particular importance simply because they are the first exercises introducing you to a totallynew experience. Students working with a teacher will receive their directions as to how long to practice each exercise.Students working alone should spend between two and four weeks on most exercises before moving on.Exercise 2 • "Yawn" Without Yawning 1 • Please be seated and look into the mirror. 2 • Relax, with your back touching the back of the chair. 3 • Do not activate the abdominal muscles. 4 • Touch the Adams apple lightly, or, without touching, watch its action in the mirror. 5 • Without yawning, try moving the Adams apple down to where it was when you did yawn. 6 • Relax. 7 • Stretch ("yawn" the Adams apple down). 8 • Relax (the Adams apple will rise). 9 • Repeat 7 and 8 slowly and in an even tempo over and over: Stretch- Relax—Stretch—Relax. At first, in order to get the Adams apple to descend you will probably be taking deep breaths and your jaw may bedropping quite far, with each attempt, as if you were still yawning. For some students this is in the beginning unavoidable.However, as you continue to feel yourself moving the Adams apple down low in the throat and become more familiar withthe exercise, you will find it easier to "yawn" the throat muscles without breathing and without dropping the jaw. Theability to pull the Adams apple down must become an action independent of all other actions. Some students may have a different problem: As you yawn the Adams apple down, at a certain point the Adams applemay move backwards and you can no longer feel it with your fingertip. Try doing Exercise 2 extremely slowly. If you doExercise 2 slowly enough, you will find the place where the Adams apple begins to move backwards. Drop the Adamsapple down to that point only—no lower! Hold that position as long as you can. When you are accustomed to"yawning" that far correctly, without losing finger-contact with the Adams apple, then you can try lowering itsome more. Slowly, the Adams apple will begin to obey you. It will descend without pulling backwards. A goodstretched-open position is achieved when the Adams apple can be dropped and controlled at approximately twoinches or less above the breastbone.An Observation:It is important to realize that you have been using your throat constrictor muscles a very long time, therebydeveloping strong habits that will urge you to continue using those muscles in the same old way. How longshould it take you to change those habits? Everyone changes at his own pace. If you consider the length of timeyou have had these habits it is unrealistic to expect substantial change—magically—in a short time. Consider thearithmetic: A habit you have had since childhood weighed against practicing one hour a day to change that habit.(You are very welcome to practice more than one hour a day.) It is amazing how short a time it takes and howquickly we can re-educate ourselves. The important word is discipline! During Exercise 2 you must become conscious of the beginning of a voluntary effort on your part to move theAdams apple down whenever you wish, plus the discovery of the inner tension that motion produces. Positioning the Tip of the Tongue
  • 27. The tongue is a bundle of strong, active muscles capable of moving in many directions: in and out of the mouth, upand down and sideways in or out of the mouth. The front, middle and back can move independently. It can flutterand be twisted downside-up. Much work will be required to control the tongue correctly. At this point we wish to control just the tip of the tongue. The tip of the tongue should be touching the back of thelower teeth. During Exercise 3 the rest of the tongue may move about but the tip of the tongue must staytouching the back of the lower teeth. If the tip of the tongue has a tendency to pull away from the back of the lower teeth as you "yawn" the Adamsapple down, place the tip of your tongue between your teeth—needless to say, dont bite it—and shortly you willdiscover the feeling of the tip of the tongue not moving back during the "yawning" action.Exercise 3 • Controlling the Tip of the Tongue 1 • Please be seated and look into the mirror. 2 • Relax, with your back touching the back of the chair. 3 • Do not activate the abdominal muscles. 4 • Maintain a completely passive, ventriloquist-like facial expression. 5 • Touch the Adams apple lightly, or watch it in the mirror. 6 • Touch the back of the lower teeth with the tip of the tongue, or put the tip of the tongue between your teeth. 7 • "Yawn" the Adams apple down. The tip of the tongue must not move. 8 • Relax. 9 • Repeat 7 and 8 over and over and over. There should be no feeling of tension in any part of the body except the feeling of tension the "yawn" produces inthe throat. For Exercise 4 it is necessary to have a bow tie. Not a clip-on bow tie or one you make yourself but a ready-made bow tie that has an adjustable neckband. You will wear the bow tie right on your bare neck, and not underyour shirt collar, where it would normally be worn. The bow tie will do several things:• You do not have to touch the Adams apple any longer.• You will feel the inner muscles working more directly.• With the use of the mirror you will see as well as feel your control over the entire larynx.• By making the bow tie just a wee bit tight you are giving the anti-constrictor muscles something to resist as you "yawn."• During this exercise you will also begin to experience at least a little, a feeling of pride in the fact that you can control a part of your body that you never thought of as needing control—plus the realization that this control is directly associated with the ability to produce a correct sound.Exercise 4 • "Yawning" the Bow Tie 1 • Put on the bow tie so that the bow is right on the bony tip of the Adams apple, and sit facing the mirror. 2 • Relax, with your back touching the back of the chair. 3 • Do not activate the abdominal muscles. 4 • Maintain a completely passive, ventriloquist-like facial expression. 5 • Touch the back of the lower teeth with the tip of the tongue. 6 • "Yawn" the Adams apple down. The tip of the tongue must not move. There should be no feeling of tension in any part of the body except the feeling of tension the "yawn" produces in the throat. 7 • Relax.
  • 28. Important:Be sure the bow tie is right on the bony tip of the Adams apple. Every time you "yawn" down, the bow tie will slip up overthe Adams apple and rise. Every time you relax, the bow tie will move down and the Adams apple will rise. If your Adams apple is still situated far back in the throat, place the bow tie on the middle of your neck andconcentrate on yawning the bow tie away from you (your neck widens on a yawn). Experience the feeling of opposingthe tightness of the bow tie. You may also lightly place a fingertip beneath the knot of the bow tie. As you yawn andconcentrate on resisting the tightness of the bow tie you will begin to feel the bony tip of the Adams apple movedown to touch your fingertip. The rest of the body must be completely relaxed. Repeat this exercise exactly as it iswritten many times. The Adams apple will eventually move forward and down. Keep repeating slowly and in an even tempo:• Stretch ("Yawn" the Adams apple down and the bow tie rises.)• Relax (The bow tie drops and the Adams apple rises.)Important:When you see and feel the definite action of the bow tie as you "yawn" the Adams apple down—rising on the"yawn" and dropping when you relax—lower the bow tie about %" and repeat the exercise. When the bow tieaction is working correctly in that location lower it again about %" and repeat the exercise. Keep lowering thebow tie—eventually the tip of the Adams apple should descend to about two inches above the breastbone. Thisdistance can actually be measured with a ruler.Exercise 5 • Doing Exercise 4 More Quickly Gradually accelerate the tempo of Exercise 4. It takes more muscle coordination to do Exercise 4 quickly. Do not accelerate prematurely; never attempt an exercise more quickly than you can think it. Do it only at the speed where you are still in control. Practice until you can achieve a speed of about 2 complete cycles per second. Practicing Exercise 4 more quickly and evenly is similar to other instrumentalists practicing scales andarpeggios—it strengthens the muscles involved and improves coordination. Please remember, the only, musclesinvolved are: the muscles that pull the Adams apple down, the neck muscles as they oppose the tightness of thebow tie, and you may begin to feel the involvement of the back of the tongue. This is acceptable, but the rest of thebody must be relaxed.Exercise 6 • Holding the Lower Section of the Basic Shape 1 • Wear the bow tie, be seated, look into the mirror. 2 • Relax, with your back touching the back of the chair. 3 • Do not activate the abdominal muscles. 4 • "Yawn" the Adams apple down. 5 • Maintain that position until the muscles tire. 6 • Relax. While you are doing Exercise 6 try expanding your neck muscles always in a yawning way so that you never seethin cords of muscle jutting out of your neck. The skin on your neck should always look smooth. Let me describe itanother way: make sure the bow tie is very snug. Do not choke yourself but do make it tighter than iscomfortable. Resist this tightening by trying to expand the neck muscles in a yawning direction. Do not tighten anyother part of your body. Feel and see yourself pushing the bow of the bow tie forward as a result of this neckexpansion. Always keep your head relaxed and in a normal, upright position—not at a distorted angle such aslooking up or looking down or bending to one side or the other.
  • 29. Any other feelings of tension, regardless of where they are, are just secondary, sympathetic tensions as aresult of your desire to work correctly. Practice slowly. As you become accustomed to tensing only the musclesthat pull the Adams apple down and only the muscles that expand the neck, the secondary tensions will fade away.The feeling of ache that you are experiencing inside the throat is correct. You are exercising your muscles just as anathlete does. Do not let this ache upset you. It is necessary. When you tire rest a moment, and then return to theexercise. Expect that muscle tiredness—you need it. Exercises 5 and 6 should be practiced consecutively. First, Exercise 5 where you stretch and relax in an eventempo and then Exercise 6 where you are beginning to hold the lower section of the Basic Shape. You will notice that the same directions are repeated many times. Seeing these directions in print more than oncemay help them sink into your consciousness more effectively. If you are already doing what youve been asked to do,please tolerate the repetition. If you are not following the directions completely these reminders will only help.An Observation:Other beginning instrumentalists practice scales and arpeggios by the hour—hour after hour—to developmuscular coordination in their fingers, lips, or wrists, depending upon the instrument they are studying. Whatyou are experiencing is no more and no less monotonous than what any other instrumentalist experiences.Every artist must go through this phase. Whereas other instrumentalists practice immediately on theinstrument of their choice, we, on the other hand, are building and controlling the instrument of our choice.Fundamentally there is no difference; the characteristics of the instruments are different but the discipline is thesame. Someone once said: To be a genius you must first become good. The Pin-Ball SyndromeIf you have ever watched someone play a pin-ball machine you will recognize the following description: After theball is hit and it begins to touch pins that light up or it rolls close to holes the player does not want the balls to fallinto, he usually begins to roll his head, twist his shoulders, screw up his face, and generally tense and distort his bodyto "help" maneuver the ball in the direction hed like it to go. Of course, the ball will follow its own course. Something similar to this happens during the process of learning to voluntarily move the necessary and specificmuscles into the Basic Shape. There is a tendency for secondary muscles to "help." For example, while attemptingto "yawn" the Adams apple down there may be: distortion of the lips, tensing or raising the shoulders, evenknitting the eyebrows and tensing muscles in the forehead. I call this the Pin-Ball Syndrome. The student wants somuch to maneuver the correct muscles that he unconsciously calls on other areas of the body for help. These are secondary and unnecessary tensions. They hinder rather than help. Our concern is exclusively withthe primary muscles that are an integral part of the Basic Shape. Please use only the muscle areas I indicate. If youexperience a tension in any area other than the one specified, you must repeat the exercise very, very slowly. Movethe specified muscles slowly to where they are supposed to go and capture the moment when the secondarymuscles come into play. Do not move the primary muscles any further. Hold that position until the secondarymuscles relax. They will. When the primary muscles are accustomed to tensing that far without the secondarymuscles entering into play, tense the primary muscles a little more. Slowly, you will discover you can manipulate theprimary muscles exclusively. Some of the more common areas where unnecessary tension may appear:• A tight band across the forehead or knitted eyebrows.• A flaring of the nostrils.• A tension in the back of the neck.• A tightening of the cheeks.• Awkward lip motions (unnecessary puckering, smiling or grimacing).• A tense jaw (pay special attention to the following section).• A tightening across the shoulders or chest.
  • 30. • A gripping of the thighs. There are no doubt other areas that tense unnecessarily but the above list is enough to start any studentthinking and becoming a "detective"—ferreting out and eliminating tensions that are not called for in theexercises. The JawAlthough the jaw may seem to be far removed from the larynx and is not an integral part of the sound-producingmechanism, it is involved with the sound-producing mechanism in the sense that it could have a tendency tointerfere with the actions of the sound-producing mechanism. The jaw is obviously more closely related to theword-producing mechanism. The worst type of interference is when the jaw juts forward during singing. The sound thus produced has aharshness, a brittleness, an anger. During the exercises the tension of a forward-jutting jaw can be mistaken for thecorrect dropped larynx tension—a tense jaw makes the genuine feeling of the "yawn" tension more difficult torecognize. The correct direction for the jaw to drop is not forward, not straight down, but backwards.Exercise 7 • The Hinge of the Jaw 1 • With a fingertip, please touch the hinge of the jaw, which is located immediately in front of the middle of your ear. See Fig. 8. 2 • Move your jaw down and up as you would while chewing. When your jaw drops you will feel a depression under your fingertip. 3 • Drop your jaw slowly and try moving it in a backwards direction. You will feel a minimum of depression. 4 • Drop your jaw and move it forward. You will feel a maximum depression. Our goal is to control the jaw to open in a backwards, circular direction creating a minimum depression underyour fingertip.
  • 31. Fig. 8. Locating the Hinge of the Jaw.Exercise 8 • Correct Jaw Motion Down and Up 1 • Please be seated in front of the mirror. 2 • Relax, with your back touching the back of the chair. 3 • Touch the hinge of the jaw with a fingertip. 4 • Move the jaw down and up with a minimum of depression. The jaw drops backwards; it does not have to drop far—drop it in a very relaxed manner. 5 • Repeat 4 over and over and over. If you wish to see and feel the exact position of the jaw more concretely, simply get a one-half inch length of thin stick. Iuse cut-up wooden coffee stirrers. Do Exercise 8 setting the one-half inch length of stick upright between the teeth. The
  • 32. bottom of the stick, which is touching the lower teeth is behind the top of the stick, which is touching the upper teeth. SeeFig. 9.Exercise 9 • Dropped Jaw with Larynx Functioning 1 • Put on the bow tie and sit facing the mirror. 2 • Relax, with your back touching the back of the chair. 3 • Touch the hinge of the jaw with a fingertip. 4 • Move the jaw down and back. 5 • Use the stick between your teeth to observe the correct jaw position. 6 • Maintain a completely passive, ventriloquist-like facial expression. 7 • Do not activate the abdominal muscles. 8 • Touch the back of the lower teeth with the tip of the tongue. 9 • Move the Adam’s apple down and up in a slow, even tempo, feeling a minimum depression under your fingertip. 10 • Repeat 9 over and over and over. Fig. 9. The Lower End of the Stick Behind the Upper End of the Stick.
  • 33. The Outer Semi-CircleThe Basic Shape can be described as a firmly held open cylinder in the throat. The back half of the cylinder (thepharyngeal wall) does not move. The front half of the cylinder (the outer semi-circle), which can be seen byjust looking into a mirror, does move. It is this group of anti-constrictor muscles that must be structuredcorrectly, strengthened and controlled. See Fig. 10. A raphe is where the right and left sides of a muscle meet. If you will look at your tongue in the mirror youwill see a line running along the middle of your tongue. That line is the raphe of the tongue. The raphe of the mylohyoid muscle is in the center of the outer semi-circle. Exercising in that vicinity willusually bring all of the muscles of the outer semi-circle into play. The raphe
  • 34. of the mylohyoid muscle begins just behind the center of the chin and descends diagonally to right above theAdams apple. While you were exercising dropping the Adams apple perhaps you noticed that on the "yawn"you also made a slight double-chin. The raphe of the mylohyoid muscle should appear to be "standing" as upright as possible with the end of the raphe(immediately above the Adams apple) as the base. Why is this necessary? Because just like the larynx, the outersemi-circle rises and pulls back or up when an incorrect sound is produced. Under these circumstances the sound istight and fuzzy sounding. The raphe of the mylohyoid muscle must be held firmly in a diagonal line extendingfrom behind the point of the chin to immediately above the Adams apple. See Fig. 11 and 12. The base of the raphe of the mylohyoid muscle, the specific area we want to exercise, should be preciselylocated. Examine Fig. 13; then place your forefinger, lightly, on the bony tip of the Adams apple. Move yourforefinger up slowly. Soon your forefinger will slip over the Adams apple and move back a little into the neck. Thatspot is the base of the raphe of the mylohyoid muscle. That location can be exercised very vigorously. Pleaseremember, though, never to pressure the Adams apple itself. The spot immediately above it is not only able towithstand pressure, it is the specific area we wish to exercise. Either in the following exercise or in one of the future exercises you will hear yourself Fig. 11. Incorrect Outer Semi-Circle.speaking in a lower pitch or with a fuller sound. If you begin to speak with a deeper or fuller sound, it is an indicationthat your throat is beginning to open more; it means you are slowly moving closer to your real tone quality. Youmay think youve caught a cold or have a hoarse or sore throat, but real hoarseness is a result of irritation. You
  • 35. are not making a sound or doing anything that would cause irritation. This sore throat feeling, in reality, comesfrom sore muscles—muscles that are being exercised for perhaps the first time in your life. As you continue theexercises you will become accustomed to speaking with a fuller sound, and as the muscular soreness is replacedby muscular strength you will no longer have the "sore throat."Exercise 10 • Strengthening the Base of the Raphe of the Mylohyoid 1 • Please be seated in front of the mirror. 2 • Relax, with your back touching the back of the chair. 3 • Maintain a completely passive, ventriloquist-like facial expression. 4 • Touch the back of the lower teeth with the tip of your tongue. 5 • Do not activate the abdominal muscles. 6 • Try to relax your entire body. 7 • "Yawn" the Adams apple way down and hold it there. Fig. 12. Correct Outer Semi-Circle.
  • 36. 8 • Press your forefinger, horizontally, against the base of the raphe of the mylohyoid. As you tense the larynx lower and lower you will, at the same time, feel the base of the raphe tensing too. When you feel that area tensing under your forefinger, increase the forefinger pressure against it, thereby creating a rising antagonism of forces—muscle against muscle. This is now a very effective exercise for strengthening the outer semicircle. It is, at the same time, a necessary addition to the Basic Shape. Repeating this exercise over and over also conditions you to move to this structure whenever you start to sing. 9 • As you are holding this tension, think the sound AH. 10 • Maintain this set of tensions for a slow count of five. Gradually raise the count to ten, fifteen, or more before relaxing. 11 • Repeat 8, 9 and 10 over and over and over. In order to give the outer semi-circle an even more vigorous workout you may use the back end of a thin,hard-covered book instead of the forefinger. I have also constructed
  • 37. what I call a "throat board" for this purpose. (See Fig. 14.) The throat board is made of a 12 inch length ofpine, six inches wide and one-half inch thick. I shaped one end to conform to the contour of the neck. I thencovered the shaped end with foam rubber (two inches thick) and covered the foam rubber with someleatherette to make a very effective "tool." The foam rubber allows the student to exert great pressureagainst the raphe of the mylohyoid without irritating the skin. 12 • Please repeat Exercise 10, now using a throat board or book to develop exceptional strength in the outer semi-circle. There are anti-constrictor muscles at the sides of the outer semi-circle and they too must be strengthened.Exercise 11 • Strengthening the Sides of the Outer Semi-Circle 1 • Please be seated in front of the mirror. 2 • Relax, with your back touching the back of the chair. 3 • Maintain a completely passive, ventriloquist-like facial expression. 4 • Do not activate the abdominal muscles. 5 • Touch the back of the lower teeth with the tip of your tongue. 6 • Try to relax your entire body.
  • 38. 7 • "Yawn" the Adams apple down and hold it there. 8• Move your forefinger (or throat board) about an inch to the left of the base of the raphe of the mylohyoid. Press very lightly and feel the throat muscles tense against the outside pressure. Add, sparingly, more and more outside pressure as the anti-constrictor muscles become stronger. When they do get stronger move approximately one inch more to the left and repeat the process. It is not necessary to move more than two inches away from the base of the raphe of the mylohyoid. 9 • Repeat the entire exercise moving the forefinger (or throat board) to the right of the base of the raphe of the mylohyoid. You may have noticed a slightly wider neck or the appearance of a double chin when you practice. That is because yourmuscles are expanding. If you think this slightly wider neck or "double-chin" (outer semi-circle tension) will affect yourappearance, calm your anxieties. The neck does not really widen, and the outer semi-circle tension will not develop adouble chin. During the instrument-building phase we must exaggerate for the sake of strengthening the muscles andexperiencing the feeling of the Basic Shape. I have not found any change of neck size in any of my students or myself.An Observation:Using arbitrary figures, let us assume that the Basic Shape requires twenty pounds of strength to staycompletely open throughout the entire compass of the vocal instruments range. The exercises you aredoing and the amount of tension you are capable of generating while doing them is helping you todevelop much more than twenty pounds of strength—more like forty or fifty pounds. This means thatwhen you finally reach your maximum power you will have more strength than you actually need tohold the Basic Shape. This extra strength will ensure that you will always be able to sing with marvelousease.The TongueThe tongue is a major part of the vocal instrument. The front and middle sections of the tongue are directly involved withthe word-producing mechanism, and the back section and root of the tongue are directly involved with the sound-producingmechanism. If the back of the tongue rises, the result is a nasal, twangy sound. If the back of the tongue pulls backwards,the resulting sound distortions are numerous—from a quality resembling gargling to a quality resembling a duetbetween a sound and a hiss. The entire length of the tongue must be controlled. The tip, front and middle of the tongue must have lots of mobilityto produce certain consonants while the back of the tongue must be comparatively stationary—low and slightly Ushaped—in order to allow a free passageway for the sounds produced by the vocal cords. Examine Fig. 15. The following exercises are designed to strengthen three sections of the tongue—the tip, front andmiddle—to help develop mobility where it is necessary and holding power where it is necessary. The mirror and atongue depressor will be used. Tongue depressors can be bought very inexpensively at any drug store.
  • 39. middle Fig. 15. Areas of the Tongue to Be Exercised.
  • 40. Exercise 12 • Strengthening the Tongue Vertically 1 • Please be seated in front of the mirror. 2 • Relax, with your back touching the back of the chair. 3 • Do not activate the abdominal muscles. 4 • Maintain an expressionless face. 5 • Stick out your tongue as far as is comfortable. Keep it flat and wide rather than long and thin. Place the flat side of a tongue depressor under the tip of the tongue about one-half inch in. 6 • Press the tip of the tongue down as you push the tongue depressor up. Do not allow the tongue to slip back into the mouth. Keep extending the tongue out of the mouth. Actually, there are two tensions occurring simultaneously: (a) the tip (and front) of the tongue tensing down on the tongue depressor, and (b) the length of the tongue tensing forward in an out-of-the-mouth direction. Both tensions are equally valuable and necessary. 7 • When the muscles begin to ache, count slowly to five. 8 • Relax. Wait until the ache is completely gone before repeating. Please keep repeating 5,6 and 7 over and over,eventually raising the count to ten or more before relaxing. Do not raise the count all in one day, but ratherallow a few days for some strength to develop before going on to a higher count. The only tensions felt should be on the tongue and behind the chin. Remember: the tongue is extended out of the mouth. As you become more familiar with the exercise, try moving the tongue farther out and yet keep it wide and U shaped. At first you will feel the aches around the front of the tongue but as you continue the aches will slowly moveback along the length of the tongue until the back of the tongue becomes involved. It is necessary to become veryconscious of the ache at the back of the tongue. If the exercise is performed correctly (that is, with the tongue out ofthe mouth as far as possible) the ache you feel at the back of the tongue comes from the anti-constrictor musclesin that area tensing forward and away from the back wall of the throat. You will easily begin to U shape theback of the tongue. Over a period of several weeks, repeat Exercise 12 until you can very easily:• Touch the back of the lower teeth with the tip of the tongue and• Maintain a U shape along the entire length of the tongue.Exercise 13 • Strengthening the Tongue Horizontally 1 • Please be seated in front of the mirror. 2 • Relax, with your back touching the back of the chair. 3 • Maintain an expressionless face. 4 • Do not activate the abdominal muscles. 5 • Touch the hinge of the jaw with a fingertip to make sure the jaw drops in a backward direction. 6 • Place the tip of the tongue against the flat side of a tongue depressor held horizontally with both hands. The tongue should be extended out of the mouth as far as is comfortable while keeping the length of the tongue U shaped.
  • 41. 7 • Press the tongue depressor against the tip of the out-stretched U shaped tongue. Hold this tension, after the ache begins, to a slow count of five. Once again, do not allow the tongue to slip back into the mouth. Keep extending the tongue out of the mouth. 8 • Repeat 6 and 7 over and over eventually raising the count to ten or more before relaxing. If the front or middle of the tongue collapses during the five count return to Exercise 12 for a period of timeuntil enough strength is developed to maintain a strong U shape during Exercise 13.Exercise 14 • Using the Bow Tie 1 • Exercise 14 is the same as Exercise 13 with the bow tie added. Tense the Adams apple down (the bow tie will rise) before pressing the flat side of a tongue depressor against the tip of an outstretched, U shaped tongue. 2 • You may have difficulty coordinating two independent muscle areas—a dropped larynx and a properly outstretched tongue. Remember to start the exercise by dropping the larynx first. Then, start pressing the tongue against the depressor very slowly in order to learn to recognize the feeling of tensing These two areas simultaneously. It is not that it is so difficult to do. It is just, for some students, a very different way of moving and tensing certain muscle combinations. Hold this combination of tensions while counting slowly to five. Eventually raise the count to ten or more before relaxing.Exercise 15 • Tension and Motion Simultaneously 1 • Wear the bow tie. 2 • Maintain the tension between the tongue and the tongue depressor as in Exercise 13. 3 • Move the bow tie up and down in a steady tempo without losing the tongue tension against the depressor. The Passive TongueWe are moving on to another aspect of the tongues function. The only previous exercises that should be continuedare Exercise 10 and Exercise 15. They should be done at least twenty minutes daily. During the following tongueexercises do not use any of the muscles that tense the outer semi-circle, drop the larynx or U shape the tongue.When those actions are called for, you will receive a specific direction.The exercises so far have involved anti-constrictors of the larynx, the outer semi circle and a U shaped tongue.Doing these exercises has helped you realize that muscles you have never used consciously before can be used,developed, strengthened and moved at will. It should be noted, too, that exercising these muscle areas precisely asinstructed has resulted in their moving either down or down and forward at approximately a forty-five degreeangle away from the back wall of the throat. See Fig. 16. The constrictor groups of muscles involved in the sound-producing mechanism are, in essence, a receptacle formany socio-emotional experiences plus the physical manifestations of these experiences. During the exercises you areabout to begin, many mental as well as physical changes will occur. These changes will not happen immediately—do not expect them to—because a certain amount of time just learning to do the exercises must precede any in-depth changes. But once you become accustomed to these temporarily strange manipulations, your new-foundconcentration and control will allow you to discover yourself as a singer in new and exciting ways. You will,
  • 42. literally, put your finger on your vocal distortions—learn what muscles not to use—and then discover, easily, howto coordinate a new set of muscles that will complete your instruments Basic Shape. Our task now is to completely deactivate the constrictor muscles in the tongue. We will first reach that statewhere neither the constrictors nor the anti-constrictors move. In the beginning, both sets of muscles must bepassive, and that sensation must be recognized. Using neither the constrictor nor the anti-constrictor muscles in thetongue will put the student into a state of mind similar to deep meditation. For many it will be exhilarating. Forsinging it is an absolutely necessary step. Barbara B. Brown states: Part of the excitement of bio-feedback as applied to muscle relaxation is learning about the consequences of real relaxation. To date we have learned that real relaxation can vastly improve health, but perhaps more challenging is the finding that profound muscle relaxation can lead to startling changes in states of consciousness and awareness. We are now beginning to learn that in some way muscles can be not only actively relaxed but can give us new experiences and feelings different from the feelings, or non-feelings, present during simple resting or soothing our muscles. Not by devices like whirlpool baths, nor by the intervention of another person as with massage, but by the action of central control—the brain. The new discoveries that human muscle tension can potentially be reduced to zero by volitional control...by willing...may even revolutionize scientific concepts of muscle control, (ibid., p. 121) How can "real relaxation" be recognized by the voice student? Our bodies contain certain muscles we neverconsciously feel in our normal daily activities. Compared to the obvious sensations in our fingers and legs, forexample, internal muscle actions are just not obvious. We dont even know they exist; it is futile to ask ourselves to"relax" when we dont know what to relax. Certain obscure muscle systems have been in a state of tension for so longour feelings have adjusted to accepting these tensions as normal and there seems to be no tension. Therefore it isfirst necessary to discover where the tension is—with the forefinger as the means of communicating this discoveryback to ourselves. After locating the tension it is then logical to think of relaxing—because now we know whatto relax. When the constrictor you are going to touch relaxes you should become aware that some
  • 43. other part of the body will relax too. You can now begin to observe yourself relaxing: the tongue relaxes and yourbody follows by relaxing a little—because the body relaxes a little the tongue relaxes a little more—because thetongue relaxes a little more the body follows by relaxing a little more than before. In this way you enter into adifferent kind of relaxation. As you watch your body (including your tongue) drop closer and closer to zero tensionyou no longer have to tell yourself to relax—your body is telling you it is relaxing. When you reach that point, whenyour body can tell you it has relaxed itself, you are in a state of real relaxation. This state of real relaxation must be recognized; moved to at will; must remain throughout a performance,regardless of how emotional you may appear on the outside. A few simple directions and precautions are now in order:• The "tool" you will be using is a forefinger—left or right, as you prefer, but the nail of the forefinger must be cut or filed down as short as possible.• You must always wash your hands before doing the exercises.• The exercises must be done very, very, very slowly and carefully. This cannot be emphasized enough. Working very slowly will allow you to recognize the physical changes that will eventually become your new way of coordinating your muscles.• Please read each direction at least twice before attempting any exercise.• While doing the following exercises you may find yourself salivating quite a bit. If so, stop what you are doing and swallow.• Please remember that every single fraction of an inch of the new sensations you are about to experience is very important to your development.
  • 44. • Please re-read these directions right now. You will be touching areas of your tongue that you have never touched before. I must re-emphasize the need forcaution and slowness. Practicing carefully and slowly makes these exercises totally safe. Follow the directions—practice slowly—practice carefully! Please sit in an armchair, recliner, or any comfortable chair. Feel completely at ease. We will use five "signposts"to locate the various sections of the tongue (see Fig. 17.)Exercise 16 • Relaxing the Tongue 1 • Read the directions at least twice. 2 • Keep the tip of the tongue touching the back of the lower teeth. 3 • Relax the jaw, dropping it just enough to allow your forefinger to enter your mouth. 4 • Touch your larynx with the other hand to make sure there is no motion. Your larynx should stay relaxed in the middle of your throat. 5 • Place your forefinger on the raphe at the front of the tongue. The tongue should be soft to the touch. If it is not soft to the touch, just keep your finger there and think of relaxation. Slowly it will become soft. There is no time limit to these exercises. They must be repeated until the desired state of relaxation is reached. Always move the forefinger in a straight line along the raphe of the tongue. Do not move the forefinger from side to side. 6 • When the front of the tongue has achieved total softness, slowly move the forefinger back along the length of the tongue making certain, at all times, that the tongue is soft and relaxed; there should be no muscle activity whatsoever. The tongue must learn to tolerate the forefinger. You may feel a "bucking" (pulling back or up) at various placesalong the tongue. Do not move the forefinger further back along the tongue until the "bucking" stops and thatparticular area of the tongue becomes soft. The muscles that are "fighting back"—resisting—are the constrictorsand they are the very muscles we must learn to relax. When they become soft, they are deactivated. That is ourgoal. There is a definite sensation when the various sections of the tongue relax. The best way to describe the sensationis: the absence of tension. This absence of tension will become more and more familiar to you as you repeat theexercises. Although you are practicing relaxation of the constrictors in the tongue, you will also feel your entirebody relaxing more and more. 7 • Continue, slowly, to move the forefinger back along the center (raphe) of the length of the tongue.
  • 45. Exercise 17 • Reaching the Back of the Tongue 1 • Read the directions at least twice. 2 • Keep the tip of the tongue touching the back of the lower teeth. 3 • Relax the jaw, dropping it just enough to allow your forefinger to enter your mouth. 4 • Touch your larynx with the other hand to make sure there is no motion. Your larynx should stay relaxed in the middle of your throat. 5 • Place your forefinger on the raphe at the front of the tongue. The tongue should be soft to the touch. 6 • If the front and middle of the tongue are soft, move the forefinger, slowly, towards the back of "the tongue. When you reach the back of the tongue you may find a particularly hard knot of constrictors. These constrictors are very strong because they are directly involved with forcing liquid and food down during swallowing. Here is a simple way to deactivate and relax them: 7 • With the tip of the tongue still touching the back of the lower teeth, touch your molars with each side of the tongue. By spreading the tongue in this manner you will discover that hard knot of constrictors relaxing and softening. See Fig. 18. At the risk of sounding redundant, it is still so important to repeat the directive: proceed slowly. As you progressfarther back along the tongue you are moving closer to the gag reflex. You can learn to relax the gag reflex only ifyou practice slowly. The gag reflex action Fig. 18. Sides of the Tongue Touching the Molars.
  • 46. is constrictor muscle action whose function is to expel unwanted matter; whether it is food in the case of an upsetstomach, or, in this instance, the forefinger. (Re-read about Houdini, p. 19). Remember, too, not to move the finger from side to side. Keep it going straight back along the raphe of thetongue. Keep your finger on the surface of the tongue so that you will avoid touching the uvula. At this point,touching the uvula may induce gagging. Do not proceed until that hard knot of constrictors at the back of the tongue is completely soft and you can control your gag reflex and feel completely relaxed. Actually, there are three reflexes that you probably have already touched or will touch and activate to someextent: (a) the gag reflex, (b) the cough reflex, and (c) the yawn reflex. In the area past the back of the tongue youmay touch a spot that tickles and you might cough or gag. Move your finger close to that spot, very lightly, and leave it there awhile. Slowly, move closer still. Again, leave your finger there while the area learns to tolerate a "foreign" object. It is important never to fight the tongue. The constrictor muscles will learn to relax as a result of a peaceful and patient attitude on your part. The yawn reflex, particularly the first-half of the yawn, is an anti-constrictor reflex and should be welcomed. Ifyou have to yawn, do so. In the beginning you may have to remove the forefinger while you yawn, but after awhileyoull be able to yawn with your forefinger way down along the length of the tongue. DesensitizationBecause we are moving on to areas of the tongue that possess many emotional responses tied into the constrictormuscles, it is an opportune time to mention desensitization. This is a form of behavior modification. Its goal is to change the responses you have to certain thoughts andsituations that tense or emotionally disturb you. Desensitization, for the singer, is the process of learning not toactivate the constrictor muscles in response to a disturbing thought by deliberately recalling that thought while theforefinger is touching various sections of the tongue. I have had the experience where a students control of the passive tongue was erratic; at some sessions therelaxation of the constrictors was very good but at other sessions they became active again. I would ask thestudent what he or she was thinking about and invariably the thought or thoughts were of a negative nature.Instead of telling the student to banish the thought—which can be very difficult—I told the student to deliberatelyrecall the thought but at the same time to recall and think of relaxed tongue constrictors. It seems that deliberately recalling a phobic thought—not allowing the thought to involuntarily drift in and outof consciousness—has a desensitizing effect and allows the constrictor muscles to relax again.
  • 47. Repeat Exercise 17. Think about desensitization if it is necessary. Move on to Exercise 18 when you canconfidently control passive constrictor muscles from the front to the back of the tongue.Exercise 18 • Passing the Back of the Tongue 1 •Read the directions at least twice. 2 •Keep the tip of the tongue touching the back of the lower teeth. 3 •Relax the jaw, dropping it just enough to allow your forefinger to enter your mouth. 4 • Touch your larynx with the other hand to make sure there is no motion. Your larynx should stay relaxed in the middle of your throat. 5 • Place your forefinger on the raphe at the front of the tongue. The tongue should be soft to the touch. 6 • Slowly, move to the back of the tongue.
  • 48. 7 • As you proceed past the back of the tongue you will encounter a rough area. The roughness is a natural condition. It is called the lingual papillae. Do not confuse the apparent roughness of the papillae, which is a surface phenomenon, with the muscle softness of the tongue we are pursuing. As you continue touching that area you will develop the ability to distinguish the difference between the surface roughness and the muscle softness. 8 • Moving past the papillae, your forefinger will probably touch a hard, oval- shaped object. This is the epiglottis. See Fig. 19. Your finger must remain on the surface of the tongue to avoid touching the epiglottis and creating unnecessary discomfort. The epiglottis protrudes from the base of the tongue, and if the root of the tongue moves forward so will the epiglottis. If the root of the tongue moves backward the epiglottis will go in that direction. Your finger, at this point, should be situated in the valley between the surface of the tongue and the epiglottis. The arrows in Fig. 19 show the direction the forefinger is moving along the surface of the tongue: from the front, past theback of the tongue, and down towards the root of the tongue. When the forefinger touches the "floor" of the root of thetongue (when there is no possibility of going any lower) the pad of the finger will be touching the root of the tongue andthe epiglottis will be behind the nail of the forefinger. If you find your finger does not seem long enough to reach that far down, the problem may be in the way youre usingyour hand. Try this: keep your fingers straight up and slightly apart. Then bend the forefinger from the knuckle. Keep thewrist from bending too much. Insert your forefinger into your mouth: the thumb will be touching one side of your jaw,while your little finger will be touching the other side. Reaching down towards the root of the tongue you may discover ripples of muscle or areas that feel hard like bone.There are no bones in the areas of the tongue that we are touching. Any area that feels hard or ripple-like is an activeconstrictor muscle or group of muscles. Touch that ripple-like or hard-as-bone area lightly—concentrate on your realrelaxation (re-read the Barbara B. Brown quotation on p. 45).—shortly those constrictors will relax and soften. The Root of the TongueThe closer we get to touching the root of the tongue, the more we get involved with emotional and psychologicaltensions as well as physical ones. It is vital to realize that many, if not all, of these emotionally related tightnesses havebeen in existence a long, long time. You may, in a vague sort of way, relive old experiences for a fleeting moment;experiences that happened at another time in your life, in a different environment and under different circumstances. I mustemphasize that any surfacing discomforts caused by touching those exceptionally tight constrictors will last only amoment. You will feel better after that moment. The constrictors will relax and the area will become soft and smooth. Itwill be a kind of real relaxation you probably never had before. On the other hand, getting closer and closer to the root of the tongue can be a most pleasant experience right from the beginning. Id like to quote the reactions of some of my students when they finally were able to touch and relax the root of the tongue:• "It feels as if Im separating myself." Thats a very accurate description of this student actually separating himself from some very tight, deeply embedded constrictors that finally relaxed.• "The new openness makes me feel totally vulnerable. Ive never let go that much." Relaxing the root of the tongue is the physical manifestation of relaxing a chronic
  • 49. tension that may have lodged there as a result of one or more traumatic experiences.• "Im beginning to learn what not to do." This student, too, had finally learned to relax his constrictors.• "Its a feeling of repose in the deepest sense of the word."• "It was the first time in my life that I felt in touch with myself emotionally; something I could never get or even realize in my acting classes."• "After the feeling of vulnerability is conquered, the energy seems to move in a different direction—a new sense of strength." This last quote was from a student who had already developed his ability to totally relax his constrictors andhad moved on to activating the anti-constrictors. I feel its a good quote and a hint of things to come.Exercise 19 • Reaching the Root of the Tongue 1 • Read the directions at least twice. 2 • Keep the tip of the tongue touching the back of the lower teeth. 3 • Relax the jaw, dropping it just enough to allow your forefinger to enter your mouth. 4 • Touch your larynx with the other hand to make sure there is no motion. 5 • Place your forefinger on the raphe at the front of the tongue. The tongue should be soft to the touch. 6 • If the tongue remains soft proceed past the back, slowly, down to the root of the tongue. Keep the forefinger on the surface of the tongue to avoid touching the epiglottis. 7 • When you reach the root of the tongue stay there awhile. Become totally familiar with the sensation of a totally passive tongue. The constrictors you have learned to relax must never again become active during singing. The procedure, up to this point, must never vary. Your forefinger is tracing a mental as well as a physical "roadmap." This "road map" must be memorized. Unlike someone who might try to wiggle his ears for the first time, ourforefinger is showing us exactly where we are and what it feels like to be there. We are developing the muscle-memoryto repeat certain actions correctly, over and over. To review:• The forefinger touches the front of the tongue and finds it soft.• The forefinger moves along the center of the tongue towards the back and the tongueremains soft.• The forefinger passes the back of the tongue and travels down to the root with no resistance—no muscleactivity—on the part of the tongue. It remains passive. Because your forefinger is so far down the length of your tongue, you will find that the knuckle of the forefinger is past your teeth and there will be some facial distortion. These distortions should not be confused with aggressive facial muscular tensions. I suggest looking into a mirror while doing the exercises. There should be no secondary sympathetic muscle activity going on either. Re-read The Pin-Ball Syndrome, p. 33. You will also have discovered that the tongue has, to some degree, accommodated itself to the forefinger in the sense that the tongue is now slightly >—" shaped and the back of the tongue has dropped down, allowing the forefinger freer entry. As a result, the "journey" to the root of the tongue is shorter because there is less of a bend from the back of the tongue to the root.
  • 50. The Sides of the Root of the TongueWhen a turtle senses danger he immediately pulls his head into his shell. Similarly, throughout your lifetimethose socio-emotional experiences that you considered dangerous induced some sort of withdrawal too; a "pulling-in" to yourself. When you were younger, this "pulling-in" was a very natural response to real or imagined danger.Children know they are small and vulnerable, and "pulling-in" is a means of protection, a way of defense. A fearful withdrawal triggers powerful constrictor actions in various parts of the body: besides the throat andtongue, the stomach can become knotted, headaches can occur, asthma is considered to have a psychologicalorigin, some people develop tics. What is most interesting (and unfortunate) is the fact that the original situationsthat started constrictor muscle activities are probably over and long gone, yet the original physical responses haveremained as reflex actions. In many areas, you are functioning on conclusions that were drawn by a child—yourself many years ago. Learning to relax the constrictor muscles along the length of the tongue down to the rootof the tongue and, even more particularly, in the sides of the root of the tongue will relieve and erase thosedefensive reactions. The sides of the root of the tongue can be almost totally constricted and feel as hard as bone. Why just thesides? The needs of survival: breathing and communicating demand a comparative relaxation of the constrictorsat the center. If the entire width of the tongue were to totally constrict (as in swallowing) you would suffocate. Relaxing these previously unconscious and involuntary physical tensions is a most gratifying experience initself. There is a realization that certain physical responses to the memory of an old anxiety are just not neededany longer. By actually touching the constricted area, certain deeply embedded memories may surface, beexamined by the adult, not the child, and be discarded. This leads to a very positive, new self-identification. I do notclaim to have discovered a psychiatric panacea; however, I do claim, with confidence, that the student willsee himself in an entirely new and positive light.Now that your ability to reach the root of the tongue is well established, we can explore the possible constrictors atthe sides of the root in comfort.Exercise 20 • Relaxing the Sides of the Root of the Tongue 1 • Move the forefinger slowly down to the root of the tongue. You are still moving down a familiar "road," and your finger is touching the relaxed center of the root of the tongue. 2 • Touch your larynx with the other hand to ascertain that the larynx does not drop. 3 • Very slowly, move the pad of the forefinger to the left. If the root of the tongue remains soft, keep moving slowly until you reach the extreme edge of the left side of the root of the tongue. But if, as you slowly move to the left, you find hard of ripple-like spots, stay on them. Do not move further. Concentrate on your real relaxation until the constrictor relaxes. When it relaxes move a tiny bit more to the left while maintaining your state of relaxation. Slowly, you will reach the extreme edge of the root of the tongue with all the constrictors in that area in a relaxed state. 4 • Repeat the same process moving the pad of the forefinger to the right of the center of the root of the tongue.Please repeat Exercise 20 until the left and right edges of the root of the tongue are as completely relaxed as thecenter of the root of the tongue. Before you move on the next chapter you should be able to:• Touch the center of the root of the tongue and find the entire length, including the center of the root, soft and relaxed.• Touch the extreme left and right sides of the root of the tongue and find them soft and relaxed.• Move the forefinger—slowly—from left to right and from right to left and find the entire width of the root of the
  • 51. tongue soft, with no resistance whatsoever to the finger motion. The Upper Section of the Basic ShapeBefore going on to discover even deeper constrictors in the root of the tongue, it is best to check the structure ofthe upper section of the Basic Shape. It can influence our further progress.• The voice is the only instrument that has two horns. The voice is a double-horned wind instrument. All other wind instruments have a single horn. Examine anyinstrument that is played by blowing into it and you will see that each one has a single horn: trumpet, trombone,clarinet, saxophone etc. But the vocal instrument has two horns, and the sound produced by the vocal cords mustpass freely through both of them. See Fig. 20. Control of the lower and middle sections of the Basic Shape—the root of the tongue, the larynx and the outersemi-circle—allows the sound to pass freely through the lower horn— the mouth. Controlling the upper section ofthe Basic Shape—the uvula, the pillars of the
  • 52. fauces and the soft palate—allows the sound free passage into and through the upper horn—the sinuses andnasal cavity.The uvula, the pillars of the fauces and the soft palate have a direct and immediate influence upon each other.Notice in Fig. 21 that the uvula is hanging low—relaxed—and as a result the soft palate is low and relaxed too, whilethe fauces are billowing out. If the uvula and soft palate rise, the pillars of the fauces come closer together and thenasal pharynx becomes either partially or completely blocked, thus reducing the resonance of the sound eitherpartially or completely.
  • 53. Fig. 21. Upper Sections of the Basic Shape.Experiment:• Sit facing the mirror.• Drop the jaw and •—-- shape the tongue.• Watch the uvula as you sing a tone on AH as in FAR. If the uvula did not snap up on the sound, you are indeed fortunate. A rising uvula is a common distortion and must be remedied. The structure for the maximum use of the upper horn is a low-hanging uvula, which automatically produces alow soft palate and helps enormously to billow-out the pillars of the fauces. When this structure is acquired, thetone—for those students who have never experienced or heard resonance in their tones—will feel and sound quitenasal. It is not nasal at all. The sound is resonant. A breathy, non-resonant sound is the result of a high uvula, atense soft palate and collapsed pillars of the fauces, as in Fig. 22. If the tongue is high, the sound becomes nasal and twangy. See Fig. 23. If the uvula is high and the tongue, too, is high, the sound is both breathy and nasal. But as long as the tongue islow and U shaped and the uvula is low and relaxed, the sound— although it may feel nasal because it is a newexperience—is resonant, and resonance is a necessary tonal characteristic. For many students the passive-tongue exercises are very influential in helping to automatically structure theupper section of the Basic Shape correctly; practicing relaxing the lower section of the Basic Shape has helpedrelax the upper section. The following exercise is for those who still retain a tense and rising uvula, a tense soft palateor a closeness of the pillars of the fauces.
  • 54. Fig. 22. Collapsed Fauces and High Uvula, Causing Breathy, Non- Resonant Sound.Exercise 21 • Relaxing the Upper Section of the Basic Shape 1 • Touch the center of the root of the tongue and find the entire length, including the root, completely soft. 2 • Drop the knuckle of the forefinger lower than usual so that you can look into the mirror and see the soft palate. 3 • Exhale and whisper the "word" HONH without closing the N. You will see that the soft palate remains soft. (It is difficult to see the uvula directly because the forefinger is in the way but the action of the soft palate will tell you whether the uvula is hanging low and relaxed.) The N in the "word" HONH will sound the way it does in French. In French, the pronunciation of the N in manywords is quite nasal yet different from the N pronunciation in English. The physical difference lies in the fact that thetongue does not rise in the French pronunciation. You can still maintain the lower section of the Basic Shapeintact. You will also find yourself inhaling and exhaling through both the nose and mouth simultaneously. Yourbreathing will be freer than it ever was before. Please avoid hyperventilating—inhaling and exhaling too quicklyand too often. This can make you dizzy. Repeat several HONHs on one breath. Breathe easily and slowly in avery relaxed way. 4 • Please repeat whispering HONH over and over and become accustomed to the sensation of a relaxed uvula, soft palate and billowed-out pillars of the fauces.
  • 55. Fig. 23. Back of Tongue Too High, Causing Twangy-Nasal Sound. The Perfect and Constant HONHFrom now on you will substitute the "word" HONH (with the French sounding N) for the sound AH as in FAR. Thesound HONH, if produced (or whispered as in Exercise 21) correctly, is the most open throat shape that is humanlypossible to structure. And that is the sole function of the sound-producing mechanism: to shape a perfect and constantHONH. Ever since singing became a technical art, this was and still is the most sought-after goal— a perfect and constantHONH—that can be achieved by structuring a perfect and constant Basic Shape in the sound-producing mechanism.The word-producing mechanism will change that constant HONH into words. There is no vowel sound that requires adistortion of the perfect and constant HONH for its articulation. There may be a very slight and momentary letting-up ofthe perfect and constant HONH on the consonants G as in GO and K as in KING, but with enough muscular control theBasic Shape doesnt have to change even on those consonants. This will be explained more fully in the section on theword-producing mechanism. Attaining the perfect and constant HONH is, for the singer, the highest primary technical achievement. This cannot beoverstated or repeated often enough. Shortly you will begin to produce sounds. I hope what Ive described above is alwayskept foremost in your memory. Shape determines sound. Without the perfect and constant HONH your quality of soundwill be limited. The perfect and constant HONH is synonymous with a perfectly controlled Basic Shape.
  • 56. Relaxing Deeper ConstrictorsWe have been touching the surface of the tongue, searching out and finding many constrictor muscles that in the pastwere active inhibitors to good vocal sound. But the tongue is a thick organ containing deeply embedded constrictors thatwe may never feel by just touching the surface. In a very simple way we will make doubly certain that all of theconstrictors in the tongue that we can possibly reach will be contacted and deactivated.Exercise 22 • Relaxing Deeper Constrictors 1 • Move the forefinger down to the center of the root of the tongue. Find it soft and relaxed. 2 • Slowly, bend the forefinger just a little. If the root of the tongue remains soft and relaxed, bend the forefinger a little more. If you find a hardness at the root of the tongue while you are bending your forefinger, stay there. Concentrate again on your real relaxation and you will find the hard spot slowly begin to soften. 3 • Remember to breathe on HONH. You may find an ache occurring during this exercise, particularly at the sides of the root of the tongue. You must notforce or fight any resistance you may encounter. It is most necessary to allow the constrictors to tell you—by feelingthem relax—that you can bend your finger more and more. Concentrate on your real relaxation and the ache willdisappear. This exercise may induce excessive yawning. If you yawn while your forefinger is stretching the root of the tongueforward you may discover that the root of the tongue moves forward on its own—away from your fingertip. This is anindication that the anti-constrictors in the root of the tongue are now free to begin to work without any constrictor action toimpede their freedom. It shows too how unbelievably wide open you will shortly, voluntarily, structure the voices BasicShape. However, you must first examine the entire width of the root of the tongue with your bent forefinger in order to relax anymore deeply embedded constrictors. 4 • Repeat Exercise 22 on the extreme left and right sides of the root of the tongue. When the entire width of the root of the tongue is relaxed enough to tolerate the forefinger bending quite far and still remain soft, we are ready to move on.
  • 57. Activating the Anti-ConstrictorsBy now, the concept of opposing muscles should be very clearly and firmly established. Previously, we concentratedon deactivating the constrictors in the tongue. During all this time you have been practicing Exercises 10 and 15about twenty minutes daily. We shall now bring together the anti-constrictor muscle action in the root of thetongue, the dropping of the larynx, and the gripping of the outer semi-circle. The sequence of the directions as they are about to be outlined must be followed very strictly. The series ofsteps, going from one action to another, is very logical and should eventually become your totally new way ofcoordinating your sound-producing mechanism.Exercise 23 • Activating the Anti-Constrictors 1 • Move the forefinger down to the center of the root of the tongue and find it soft. 2 . Breathe on the "word" HONH. 3 • At the root of the tongue, move the forefinger from one extreme edge to the other and find the entire width soft. 4 • At the center of the root of the tongue bend your forefinger and find that section remaining soft. Stay there. 5 • Touch your larynx with your other hand and move the larynx down. 6 • As the larynx is lowered there is an automatic gripping of the outer semi-circle and you should feel a forward or downward motion at the center of the root of the tongue. There must be no backward or upward motion anywhere. For the first time you are moving anti-constrictor muscles with the constrictors completely out of action. From now on the constrictors must remain permanently deactivated and soft. Although you are about to learn how to use the anti-constrictors and you should now be concentrating on them,do not allow yourself to forget about the relaxed constrictor muscles, "they must remain soft—they are never to beused again during sound production. The forward or downward motion of the lower section of the Basic Shape is negotiated by moving the anti-constrictor muscles in the larynx, the outer semi-circle, and the back and root of the tongue. Notice that I havebeen describing the anti-constrictor action as "forward or downward." The downward motion is correct and forsome students appears first; it is more easily felt and developed than the forward motion. But it is the forwardmotion of the anti-constrictors along the entire width of the root of the tongue that is most important. With enoughrepetitions you will begin to feel the intrinsic anti-constrictor muscles performing this activity—.movingforward—and you will gradually strengthen them until they are "strands of steel." 7 • Keep repeating Exercise 23, first at the center of the root of the tongue and then at the extreme edges of both sides of the root of the tongue. I repeat that you must follow the sequence of steps described in Exercise 23 exactly as they are written. Let medescribe it this way:• You must feel and know with full confidence that the constrictors in the tongue are definitely out of action.• You must feel and know with full confidence that by bending the forefinger at the root of the tongue the deeper constrictors are out of action.• You must feel and know with full confidence that you can move the larynx down, grip the outer semi- circle down and forward, and move the anti-constrictors along the entire width of the root of the
  • 58. tongue down and forward. As you keep repeating Exercise 23, you are developing the sensation of actively engaging and consciously controllingonly those muscle areas necessary for your best sound—the "feel" and the "knowing with full confidence." You mayfind one area of the forward movement weaker than the other two. Exercise that area a little more than the rest until youachieve equal strength along the entire width of the root of the tongue. Strengthening the Anti-ConstrictorsThe anti-constrictors along the width of the tongue can be described as "baby muscles." Although they have been in yourtongue your entire life, they have never been used either vigorously or consciously. It was a difficult task for you to evencontact them. Yet they are the most important muscles to control in the entire sound-producing mechanism. It is now necessary to help the anti-constrictors "grow up." They must become enormously strong. As you exerciseand develop these muscles, the sensation of gripping them forward will become more easily identifiable. The forwardmotion automatically opens the throat more and more; the combination of feeling the forward motion plus thedeveloping muscular strength guarantees that when a sound is produced the Basic Shape will not collapse. The following exercises should be applied, like the others, to all three areas of the root of the tongue—from oneextreme edge, past the center, to the other extreme edge.Exercise 24 • Strengthening the Anti-Constrictors 1 • Move the forefinger down to the center of the root of the tongue and find it soft. 2 • Breathe on the "word" HONH. 3 • Move the finger from one extreme side to the other and find the entire width of the root of the tongue soft. 4 • At the center of the root of the tongue bend your forefinger and find that section remaining soft. 5 • Touch the larynx with the other hand and move the larynx down. 6 • After the anti-constrictors at the root of the tongue move forward, press the forefinger of your outside hand against the base of the raphe of the mylohyoid. In the beginning the Outside pressure should be light; just enough pressure to make the anti-constrictors at the root of the tongue move forward a little bit more and, as a result, grip a little bit more. When the "baby muscles" begin to respond to the outside pressure with more strength, add the other fingers (with yourpalm facing down) so there will be the pressure of four fingers against the base of the raphe of the mylohyoid. When theanti-constrictors develop a greater amount of strength (you will be able to judge this), begin to use the throat board todevelop maximum strength along the entire width of the root of the tongue. Make it a habit to add a little extra outsidepressure with the throat board immediately after the anti-constrictors have moved forward. Not only will the anti-constrictors stay forward in order to resist the added throat board pressure, but they may also move a little more forward,which is good. If, during this exercise, you feel a numbness in the root of the tongue, you are working too hard too soon. Rest about aminute and return to the exercise. The numbness will be gone and you will once again feel sensations. 7 • Repeat Exercise 24 until you feel and know with full confidence that the "baby muscles" at the root of the tongue have developed more strength.
  • 59. Now that you are comfortably familiar with moving the anti-constrictors at the root of the tongue, we can add a moreforward positioning of that area and a further strengthening.Exercise 25 • More Forward Positioning of the Anti-Constrictors 1 • Move the forefinger down to the center of the root of the tongue and find it soft. 2 • Breathe on the "word" HONH. 3 • Move the finger from one extreme side to the other and find the entire width of the root of the tongue soft. 4 • At the center of the root of the tongue bend your forefinger and find that section remaining soft. Stay there. 5 • Touch the larynx with your other hand and move the larynx down. 6 • Yawn—actually yawn—and you will feel the anti-constrictors at the root of the tongue move forward even more. Add the outside pressure against the outer semi-circle immediately, at the expense of not finishing the yawn. At first it will be frustrating not to finish the yawn, but soon you will become accustomed to utilizing just the first half ofthe yawn. The first half moves the anti-constrictors at the root of the tongue very far forward. Proper timing is essential:as soon as the anti-constrictors move forward as a result of the first half of the yawn, catch that more forward position bypressuring the outer semi-circle.7 • Repeat this exercise at the extreme sides of the root of the tongue. Successful development in Exercise 25 will avoid the Smiling-Puckering Syndrome that occurs when some constrictors and some anti-constrictors are active simultaneously. This must be avoided at all costs. It is therefore necessary for the student to be sure (know and feel with full confidence) that the constrictors have been completely deactivated and remain deactivated when the anti-constrictors are activated. Steps 1 through 4 in Exercise 25 must become a deliberate, conscious ritual. The Diagonal TongueWith the anti-constrictors now developed to a high degree, it should be very easy to increase the tension and change theshape of the back of the tongue, gripping it in a more downward and forward direction. The tongue will almost bediagonal from the tip down to the root. See Fig. 24.Exercise 26 • The Diagonal Tongue from Tip to Root 1 • Move the forefinger down to the root of the tongue and find the entire width soft to the touch. 2 • Breathe on the "word" HONH.
  • 60. 3 • Bend the forefinger along the entire width and still find the root of the tongue soft. 4 • Position the tip of the forefinger at the center of the root of the tongue. 5 • Place the other hand or throat-board immediately above the Adams apple and yawn the anti- constrictors into action. Remember to add extra pressure with the throat-board immediately after the anti- constrictors move forward. 6 • Add an extra grip to the back of the tongue so that it moves more forward and downward. Gripping the back of the tongue in this manner is a necessary exaggeration. The anti-constrictor muscles must bestrengthened so that the back of the tongue will never rise to the point where it will block the sound. 7 • Repeat Exercise 26 until the sensation of the diagonal grip is completely familiar and easy to achieve.Exercise 27 • Gripping the Entire Basic Shape 1 • Place the forefinger parallel to, and on, the lower lip. The forefinger is replacing the tongue depressor. 2 • Place the tip of the tongue in the cleft between the forefinger and the lower lip. 3 • Place the thumb of the same hand immediately above the Adams apple. The thumb is replacing the throat board. 4 • Place the forefinger of the other hand at the center or on one of the sides of the root of the tongue. 5 • Activate (yawn) the anti-constrictor muscles of the entire Basic Shape by: • dropping the larynx,
  • 61. • pressuring the outer semi-circle with the thumb, • U shaping and tensing the front, middle and back of the tongue by pushing forward into the cleft between the forefinger and lower lip, • gripping the root of the tongue forward, • and breathing on HONH to allow the uvula to drop. You are now holding in tension all of the anti-constrictor muscles of the entire Basic Shape. This grip will acheas you sustain the tension to various counts—five, ten, or more seconds before relaxing—but it will strengthenthe anti-constrictor muscles. Relax a minute, or as long as it takes for the ache to subside, before grippingagain. When you sing, the anti-constrictor muscles must move to this structure with ease while the constrictors remaintotally relaxed. You will not feel an ache during singing, but you will feel a light sensation of moving to and structuringthe Basic Shape, then sustaining it. It is a sensation you will learn to trust and rely on. It will tell you that you aresinging on a completely structured sound-producing mechanism 6 • Please repeat Exercise 27 over and over to gain complete familiarity with, and strength in, the entire Basic Shape. Coordination and Vibrato Although Exercise 28 will further strengthen the throat anti-constrictors and further enhance the familiarity of the sensation of the Basic Shape, its main goals are: (a) to develop the coordination that will allow you to move to the Basic Shape as quickly as necessary, and (b) to discover how a vibrato is produced and develop the musculature that produces it. Exercise 28 • Coordination and Vibrato 1 • As in Exercise 27, grip and hold the entire Basic Shape—for one second. 2 • Relax the entire Basic Shape for one second. During this relaxed one second all outside pressures must relax too. 3 • Re-grip the entire Basic Shape, for one second, activating the outside pressures simultaneously. 4 • Repeat gripping and relaxing the entire Basic Shape: grip for one second—relax for one second over and over in a slow, even tempo. The use of a metronome during this exercise will be of inestimable value. It is possible to learn to do this exercise extremely fast. But begin slowly. Begin the grip-relax action on the metronomes slowest tempo marking. Gradually accelerate to the quickest tempo marking. Never attempt any faster tempo marking until the previous marking is under complete control. The exercise requires repetitions numbering in the thousands. (A fine, even vibrato is achieved when the anti-constrictor muscles of the Basic Shape remain in their outermost structure and still undulate from grip to relax very, very quickly moving no more than the tiniest fraction of an inch. To visualize it, examine Fig. 25.
  • 62. It is not necessary to narrow the muscle actions during the exercise. The narrowing and quick undulating will occurautomatically when you sing. It is necessary, however, to develop and coordinate the muscles to move evenly at a veryfast tempo. 5 • Please repeat and repeat and repeat Exercise 28. A very interesting experience can be had during the following exercise. You are to maintain the Basic Shape—whichrequires concentration—and think the pitches of a melody—which requires concentration too. That is the goal of thisexercise: to learn to concentrate on two separate entities simultaneously.Exercise 29 • Holding the Basic Shape and Thinking Sound 1 • Grip the entire Basic Shape as in Exercise 27. 2 • Sustain your grip and think a melody. Think it very clearly and genuinely. You may even hold the Basic Shape in grip while a record is playing to help you think the melody more securely. Put yourself in the same frame of mind as if you were actually singing. 3 . Breathe on HONH. 4 • Think-sing your melody. During this exercise you will experience one of these reactions:• Your old constrictor muscle habits have eased up quite a bit; the Basic Shape may want to collapse on extreme low or high tones.• You can maintain the new Basic Shape grip with ease, and the temptation to let go of the anti- constrictors is at a minimum or completely gone.• There is still a strong desire to collapse the Basic Shape as the pitches in the melody change. Old habits die hard, but they do die. 5 • Repeat this exercise until you can hold the entire Basic Shape while think-singing the melody throughout the entire song. For Speakers OnlyAll the exercises up to this point have been valid for speakers as well as singers. We are about to add sound to the BasicShape. Singers obviously must produce precise pitch levels, but the various pitches used in speech do not have to be taught. It is natural for a speaker to raise his pitch if he wishes to emphasize a word or thought; it is also natural for him to drop hispitch if the thought is a relaxed or perhaps a sad or wistful one. Spoken pitches do not have to be as precise as melodies. However, the speaker-student must follow all the directions from page 68 through page 93 with these differences:• Substitute the word "speaking" for "singing" throughout. Instead of singing two or three notes where they are indicated musically, speak two or three HONHs. After you have completed the exercises from page 68 through page 93, please begin to read aloud—on HONH— passages from plays or newspaper articles. Raise and lower your pitch normally. Then continue to the section on the word-producing mechanism.
  • 63. Sound on the Basic ShapeThe result of all the exercises you have practiced can be described as a series of new physical sensations. If you havedeveloped your muscles properly, you should be very familiar with the sensations of:• Dropping the larynx and keeping it low in the throat.• Dropping the jaw in a backwards direction.• Relaxing the abdominal muscles.• Gripping the outer semi-circle.• Relaxing the constrictor muscles along the entire length of the tongue.• Relaxing the uvula and soft palate, allowing the pillars of the fauces to billow-out.• Gripping, with enormous strength, the anti-constrictor muscles along the entire width of the root of the tongue.• Tensing the tongue, from the tip to the back, in a diagonal-like line. If any of these actions are not completely under your direct control, it is best to return to that uncontrolled areaand exercise it. Develop the weak areas until they are controlled before moving on to producing sounds. The next and most important sensation, producing sounds on a completed Basic Shape, will be very strange tosome students and a revelation to others, depending upon the amount of physical control the student has developed.Here are some very important points to bear in mind in order to reduce the strangeness of the sensation:• We are not singing yet. We are merely testing the new structure, making certain it does not collapse on a sound. Therefore, your concentration must not be on listening to the sound but on observing and checking the physical actions.• The sounds must be as soft as you can possibly make them. A soft tone does not require the use of the sound- supporting mechanism — that will come later. A soft sound will allow you to feel directly, without esthetic or emotional interference, just the sensation of maintaining the Basic Shape. Also, if there is a loss of physical control in any area, that control can be regained more easily on a soft tone. I cannot emphasize enough the need to feel the sound rather than to hear the sound. We must remember thatshape determines sound. For the best sound we must have, in the first place, the best Basic Shape. We can feel ourBasic Shape structure — feeling must come before hearing.The pitches I used for the exercises must be arbitrary. Some students may find the extreme low tone of theirinstrument comfortable to produce, others may find a few tones higher more comfortable in the beginning. Startwith your lowest comfortable pitch.Exercise 30 • Maintaining the Basic Shape on Sound 1 • Grip the entire Basic Shape as in Exercise 27. 2 • The rest of the body should be completely relaxed, including the abdominal muscles. 3 • Look into a mirror to check the absence of facial tension. 4 • On a very, very soft sound, sing:
  • 64. Alto & Baritone Soprano & Tenor hold the note for your entire breath. The first question you must ask yourself is: "Did I completely control my Basic Shape?" There should have beenno physical change between holding the Basic Shape silently and producing an extremely soft sound. If you did holdyour Shape the second question is: "Did I hold the Basic Shape under control at the far end of my breath?" There isa tendency to activate the constrictors near the end of the breath, thereby collapsing the Basic Shape. (Collapsingthe Basic Shape at the far end of your breath may also be caused by the incorrect use of the sound-supportingmechanism. This will be rectified later on. In the meantime, controlling your Shape for most of your breath issufficient.) If there were physical changes, particularly at the beginning of your breath, they are indicative of poorconcentration, insufficient strength in the muscles that collapsed, or the new physical sensation itself — holding theBasic Shape in tension while producing a sound — is so novel it may have surprised you. If the reason for the Shape collapsing was poor concentration, start again and concentrate on yourconcentration. Think of nothing else except gripping the anti-constrictors of the entire Basic Shape, even at theexpense of not singing the right pitch. The concentration may become so intense that the pitch might wander. Dontworry about it, you are not losing your sense of pitch. If it was because of insufficient strength and lack of control in the muscles of the Basic Shape, return to theappropriate exercise. Very soon, the anti-constrictor muscles involved in the Basic Shape will become strongerthan your old mental habits and physical constrictors. If the experience itself just surprised you, keep repeating the long tone and become totally familiar with the newanti-constrictor way of functioning on sound.One more suggestion:Grip the entire Basic Shape and without using the lips at all, just keeping them slightly apart, try making a wider-sounding HONH constantly. You will discover an extra gripping, particularly in one of the sections at the root ofthe tongue. • Repeat Exercise 30 with the forefinger touching the extreme left and right edges of the root of the tongue. Please remember, the edges are usually weaker than the center. Spend as much time as you need to develop the anti-constrictor grip at the sides on a sound. What Is Vocal Quality?No words have as yet been created to accurately describe vocal quality. Adjectives can only suggest a particularcoloration. What sounds warm and vibrant to one person sounds mellow to another person. What sounds stridentor brilliant to one is described by someone else as resonant or sonorous. Words only hint at the aural reality. At thispoint I believe that vocal quality can best be described by what it should not be. As you begin to listen to yoursound you should not hear fuzz or hissing. Poor vocal quality sounds like a duet between the actual soundproduced by the vocal cords and escaping air. There are actually two sounds occurring at the same time. The fuzz
  • 65. or hiss is a distortion resulting from constrictor muscle activity in the sound-producing mechanism — a poorBasic Shape. How can the presence or absence of hiss be verified? Definitely not through the use of a tape recorder. Whetherthe tape recorder is good or bad, it is premature to assume the student is ready to judge his sound objectively.Also, a cheap tape recorder does not give faithful reproduction. A good tape recorder does give accuratereproduction, but, even if the student could judge his sound objectively, he hears the playback several minutesafter the sound was produced — too late to correct the structure of the Basic Shape and simultaneously hear theimprovement of his sound. Instead, I recommend what I call a sound box. It can be constructed very simply with three record album covers.Place two covers upright forming a V-shape and tape the angle securely. Put the third cover on top. See Fig. 26. A better sound box can be constructed using pieces of wood or cardboard measuring 14 inches by 14 inches. Ifyou use wood or cardboard, paint the interior so that the dried paint creates a hard surface and is less sound-absorbent. A sound box allows you to hear your tones immediately so you can adjust the Basic Shape if necessary. Set thesound box up on a desk or table so that you do not have to lean forward. If it is too low, place a few telephonebooks beneath it. Follow the instructions for maintaining the Basic Shape on sound carefully. If you are absolutely certain youare maintaining the same anti-constrictor tensions while you are changing from silence to sound, you will nothear any fuzz or hiss on your sound. If the sound is clear repeat that clear tone over and over. Your ear will learn torecognize your own quality and you will develop a new taste for clarity of sound. Please re-read and practiceExercise 30. Perform all the necessary physical actions but this time start listening to the sound with the aid ofthe sound box.
  • 66. New Sensations in the Higher and Lower TonesIn the past, whether you were aware of physical sensations during singing or not, they were there, particularly thestruggle to "reach" very high or very low tones. If you were to play the highest or lowest note on a piano keyboard,the outer case of the instrument would not cringe or move at all. The same physical immobility must beintroduced into the voices case—the Basic Shape. The extreme high and low tones of the vocal instrument arealready built into the vocal cords. Changes in pitch are produced by changes in the vocal cords alone. Therefore,regardless of how high or low the tone may be, you never need to distort the Basic Shape to produce that tone. Thecorrect sensations which will allow you to produce your extreme tones may feel—and sound—strange to you.But no matter how strange these new sensations may feel, you must always hold the new anti-constrictor structure.Do not bend the Basic Shape to the sound you want to hear. Bend your hearing to the sound your Basic Shape givesyou. If your concentration is directed toward never distorting the Basic Shape, you will begin to feel the newsensations in the extreme high and low tones. Your first reaction on those extreme tones could be a desire to let goof the anti-constrictors; even though you know the Shape will distort, you may find your old habits on extremetones hard to break. What are some of these new physical sensations? How can they be recognized? There is one basic acoustical factthat can help immensely: When a sound gets higher it becomes thinner. If you were to look at the strings in apiano you would find that the strings producing low tones are very thick and the strings for high tones are verythin. Between these two extremes of pitch you will see gradations of thickness of the strings. They become thinner asthe pitch gets higher. There is also a concomitant change in the quality of sound. The lowest tones are full, but asyou keep going up, little by little, the sound becomes narrower and more brilliant. The same is true of the voice: The lowest tones, if the Basic Shape is structured and constantly maintained, will feel and sound wide, broad and full. As you rise into your middle tones the physical sensation will change: you will feel and hear the sound becoming a trifle narrower. Allow this to happen. Do not bend the Basic Shape to the sound you want to hear. Bend your hearing to the sound your Basic Shape gives you. As long as there is no change in the Basic Shape structure you are functioning correctly. The fullness of the lower tones will be replaced by slightly thinner but more brilliant middle tones. If the brightness of the tone quality is not already there it is because the experience is so new that some subtle constrictors are still active. As you become more and more accustomed to the new sensation and allow this narrower sound to occur, the subtle constrictors will relax and the brightness of the tone will appear. As you continue to rise in pitch the sound will feel even thinner. I repeat again: as long as the Basic Shape does not collapse, allow the thinness to come through. Shortly, this "thin" quality of sound will change to brilliance. The Actions of the Vocal Cords
  • 67. Fig. 27. The Actions of the Vocal Cords. During breathing the vocal cords open in a triangular fashion. The vocal cords are situated horizontally behind the Adams apple. See Fig. 1 on p. 5. To produce a sound the triangle closes and the entire lengths of the vocal cords vibrate for low tones.Only the front of the vocal cords vibrate for middle tones. Only the back of the vocal cords vibrate for hightones. The changes in pitch are produced by changes in the vocal cords exclusively. Changing the Basic Shape structure while changing pitch will only interfere and distort the sound quality. As you descend or rise in pitch, expect to experience those new sensations described previously. As long as the Basic Shape does not distort, and as long as the tone quality remains clear, you are undoubtedly allowing the vocal cords to do their work freely, and you are functioning correctly. Do not bend the Basic Shape to the sound you want to hear. Bend your hearing to the sound your Basic Shape gives you. Measuring the Basic Shape In Exercise 28, you practiced gripping-relaxing the entire Basic Shape, coordinating the gripping-relaxing action so you could do it faster and faster. We are now going to add sound to the gripped part of that exercise. You will experience—if only for a brief moment, to start with—a perfectly controlled and measured Basic Shape structure on the entire vocal range, or you will very clearly detect which section of the Basic Shape is still weak and needs strengthening. The following exercise will also allow you to experience for a brief but very important moment the new sensations we discussed in the preceding chapter. Although this exercise is being demonstrated on Middle C, you must do the exercise on your entire vocal range beginning with your lowest tone. Please use the metronome, accelerating gradually on the same tone, until you have developed complete accuracy measuring the extreme outer limits of the Basic Shape and complete confidence in the resultant production of a clear sound. Use the pitches on pp. 74-75. For those students working alone who cannot read music, follow the directions as seriously as if you could read music: do Exercise 31 starting on your lowest comfortable tone and rise to your highest comfortable tone. Exercise 31 • Measuring the Basic Shape with New Sensations 1 • Use the sound box. 2 • Grip-relax the entire Basic Shape as in Exercise 28. Gripping and relaxing twice before producing the tone
  • 68. allows you to measure either a perfectly held Basic Shape or to discover those sections of the Shape that still need adjusting and strengthening during the production of a tone. 3 • The tone should be produced a fraction of a second after you have gripped the Basic Shape. Shape must always precede sound.A Very slowly grip relax grip relax grip relax grip relax grip relax grip relax on on HONH HONH 4 • If any area in the Basic Shape does not respond properly in an anti- constrictor direction during the grip-on-HONH, keep touching that spot and exercise it (grip-relax) silently while thinking HONH. 5 • When your coordination has improved try this: f. Very slowly 7 • After complete anti-constrictor muscle coordination and a clear tone quality have been achieved on your lowest tone move up to the next semitone and repeat the process until you reach your highest tone. 8 • Return to your lowest tone and begin to exercise again at a faster tempo. Continue accelerating the tempo as you gain more control. Use the pitches on pp. 74-75. Long Tones on the Basic ShapeFor those students working alone who cannot read music, singing familiar melodies very softly on HONH canbe just as beneficial as the written musical exercises in the rest of the book. However, you must be very awarethat the melodies are exercises, not performances. Because you are exercising on actual melodies you mustremember these melodies are now cold, unemotional tones—not songs. Turn the melodies you already know intoexercises. Sing them slowly, disregarding their normal rhythms if necessary, so you can concentrate on:
  • 69. • Not collapsing the Basic Shape as you move from one tone to another. • Hearing total clarity of sound—no hiss. • Singing slowly enough to anticipate the next-tone and prepare for it, by making certain the anti-constrictor grip is totally under your control, particularly if the melody has a wide interval skip.Exercise 32 • Long Tones on the Entire Vocal Range 1 • Grip the entire Basic Shape as in Exercise 27. 2 • Do not activate the abdominal muscles. 3 . The rest of the body should be completely relaxed. 4 • Sing very soft, long tones on HONH into the sound box.
  • 70. — Bass ends — These are generalized voice ranges. Some voices can produce a few tones lower than indicated, others are capable of producing a few tones higher. Verifying the Perfect and Constant HONH on Sound Controlling the passive tongue, i.e., deactivating the tongue constrictors, results in an extra bonus—the desensitization of the entire length of the tongue. You can now touch any area from the tip down to the center and sides of the root of the tongue without discomfort. The soft palate, which is part of the upper section of the Basic Shape, can be or already is desensitized too. The following exercise will allow you to desensitize the constrictors in the upper section of the Basic Shape and to verify the perfect and constant HONH on sound. Exercise 33 • Desensitizing the Soft Palate on Sound Silently:1 • Place the pad of your forefinger behind your upper teeth. Slowly, move the forefinger towards the soft palate. It is notnecessary to touch the uvula; that may induce gagging.2• Keep your forefinger there until the soft palate is soft to the touch. Stay there awhile. The physical sensation of arelaxed soft palate will become more and more familiar with many repetitions. (Remember, if the soft palate remainssoft—does not tense and rise—the uvula will hang low and allow the sound to travel freely through the nasal pharynx andinto the upper horn.)3• When the sensation of a relaxed soft palate is familiar to you, insert your forefinger with the pad touching the tongueand the nail touching the soft palate. In this fashion you can check both the back of the tongue—it is in its diagonalposition as in Exercise 26—and the relaxed soft palate by alternately moving the tip of the forefinger up and down.4 • Touch the soft palate with the nail of the forefinger. It must remain soft as you, slowly, tense the outer semi-circleagainst the throat board. On Sound:5 • When the outer semi-circle has achieved its full anti-constrictor tension against the throat board, and the back ofthe tongue is in its diagonal position and the soft palate is still soft, sing softly on HONH, the long tones on pp. 74-75.Regardless of the pitch, extremely high or extremely low, the soft palate must never rise.
  • 71. The Sound-Supporting Mechanism, Part TwoUnlike the sound-producing mechanism, which requires the active use of only one side of a set of opposingmuscles—the anti-constrictors—the sound-supporting mechanism requires the active use of both sides of a setof opposing muscles. Dr. Brown states:The cells of the muscles we use for all voluntary movements (even the muscles of eye movements) are working. If they werentwe would collapse like dishrags. Some part of the cell population of every muscle is always active—some part has to be, ifonly to bear up under the push of gravity. Nor can it be a one-muscle job. For nearly every potential movement we can make,at least two muscles or sets of muscles are required, and these work together essentially by opposing each other. The resultis balance, just the right amount of push or pull (ibid., p. 121). Earlier, it was stated "... your abdominal muscles, the gas pedal of your vocal instrument, are married to yourthroat constrictors at this point... you must temporarily stop using them to support tones." Practicing not usingthem has been very similar in intent to the Passive Tongue exercises—learning first to stop old, bad habits. As far as the musculature in the sound-supporting mechanism is concerned, the most common bad habitfound in potential singers is the exclusive use of the constrictors: the pulling-in of the abdominal muscles or thecaving-in of the chest. The opposing, pushing-out muscles are usually completely inactive. When the pushing-out muscles are inactive there is a lack of necessary balance and the result is over-blowing, forcing too much airthrough the sound-producing mechanism, which activates the constrictors in the throat. The Basic Shapecollapses. Correct use of the sound-supporting mechanism can be called cooperative antagonism— just the right amountof pulling-in and pushing-out at the same time. Whereas the Smiling-Puckering Syndrome is wrong for thesound-producing mechanism, it is an absolute necessity for the sound-supporting mechanism. If you coveryour abdomen with an outstretched palm and shout HEY! very loudly you will feel the obvious sensation of theconstrictor action—pulling-in. The following exercises will make you conscious of, and sensitive to, the anti-constrictor muscles pushing out in the abdominal and chest areas. The exercises will also develop extra strength inthe anti-constrictor muscles plus help develop sensitivity to, and consciousness of, both sets of opposing musclesproperly balanced and functioning together simultaneously. The first step in engaging the sound-supporting mechanism is to learn to inhale correctly. We are aiming for the deepestpossible intake of air without raising the shoulders, but expanding the abdomen and chest. The initial stream of inhaledair must reach the lowest section of the lungs. This requires expanding the abdominal muscles to permit thediaphragm to drop lower. Consequently, the lower area of the lungs, which are attached to the diaphragm, is pulled lowerallowing for the deepest, fullest intake of air possible. The image of inhaling is similar to filling a bottle of water: thewater reaches the bottom of the bottle first and rises from there. In our bodies, the air fills the lowest section of thelungs first, then expands the lower rib cage and lastly the upper chest. Our first task is for you to experience anti-constrictor abdominal muscle expansion.Exercise 34 • Deliberately Expanding the Abdomen 1 • Get three or four good sized books and tie them together. 2 • Lie down on your back and place the books on your abdomen. 3 • Do the following action without breathing. 4 • Push the books up Relax slowly (the books will drop)
  • 72. Push the books up Relax slowly (the books will drop). 5 • Repeat 4 over and over in a slow, even tempo. Make certain the abdominal muscles are active. Do not raise your back, raise the books. For those who have never experienced abdominal muscle expansion the first attempts may feel awkward. There is adefinite reversal in your mental processes. Do Exercise 34 very, very slowly. Allow yourself to think the change inmuscular activity. Please repeat the exercise until there is a good working familiarity and a strengthening of theexpanded abdominal muscles. For the following exercise you will need another set of three or four good sized books tied together.Exercise 35 • Expanding the Abdomen and Chest 1 • Lie down on your back with one set of books on your abdomen and the other set on your chest. 2 • Simultaneously inhale and expand the abdominal muscles as you did in Exercise 34. The books on your abdomen will rise. As you breathe more deeply the books on your chest will rise too. Hold both sets of books up for awhile. 3 • Exhale very slowly, thinking the "word" HONH, and still keeping the books up, so that you feel the muscles in the abdomen and chest resisting the weight of the books. Near the end of your breath both sets of books may slowly drop, but do not stop pushing the books up. The actions in step 2 are comparatively easy to accomplish. Step 3 is much more difficult and critical. In the beginningyour entire body will probably stiffen as you attempt to exhale and at the same time keep the books up. But as you keeprepeating step 3 your body will slowly relax and you will be able to particularize the anti-constrictor muscles thatare keeping the books up. Exhaling and still resisting the weight of the books is the sensation of balance we discussedearlier: while the anti-constrictors are pushing out—keeping the books up—the constrictors are pulling in—gettingthe air out. 4 • When you are completely familiar with this new sensation of balance do steps 2 and 3 while gripping the entire Basic Shape as in Exercise 27.Exercise 36 • Activating the Sound-Producing and Sound-Supporting Mechanisms Simultaneously. 1 • Lie down on your back with one set of books on your abdomen and the other set on your chest. 2 • Inhale, expanding first the abdomen and then, as you breathe more deeply, expand your chest. 3 • Grip the entire Basic Shape as in Exercise 27. 4 • On HONH, sing the long tones on pp. 74-75 very softly.• Make certain the books are high as a result of a deep breath.• Make certain they stay high for the major part of your breath.• Make certain there is no change in abdominal or chest tension between the silence of inhaling and the beginning of the sound.• The books may drop slowly near the very end of your breath but nevertheless try to keep them up.
  • 73. In this exercise you should begin to experience the independent but simultaneous actions of the sound-producing andsound-supporting mechanisms. Each mechanism is doing its assigned task without interfering with the other. Measuring Sound-Supporting Mechanism TensionIf you shout HEY! very loudly you will feel a strong tensing of the sound-supporting mechanism. If you say the sameword very softly you will not feel any tensing at all. This indicates there is a wide range of different degrees oftension the sound-supporting mechanism is capable of generating, ranging from no tension to great tension. These varying degrees of tension are essential for a flexible performance. The different degrees of tension the sound-supporting mechanism can generate will determine your ability to:• go smoothly from a soft tone to a loud tone or from a loud tone to a soft tone on the same pitch level.• go smoothly from a low tone to a high tone or from a high tone to a low tone on the same dynamic level—both tones loud or soft. • go smoothly from a soft tone to a loud tone or from a loud tone to a soft tone on all intervals. Low tones are limited as to how much support energy they can receive without collapsing the Basic Shape. The danger of over-blowing (forcing) is always present. As a matter of fact there is a danger of over-blowing throughout the entire vocal range. Every voice is limited as to how loud it can perform. Precise control of the sound-supporting mechanism is not difficult. Let me visualize it for you. We will use "ounces of pressure" to describe the various degrees of sound-supporting mechanism muscle-tension required for the loudest controlled tone: f. Soprano & Tenor 1 oz. 2 oz. 3 oz. 4 oz. 5 oz. 6 oz. 7 oz. 8 oz. 9 oz. lOoz. 11 oz. 12oz. 13oz. 14oz. 15oz. Alto & Baritone On your lowest tone, one ounce of pressure is the most pressure that can be used without over-blowing and collapsing the Basic Shape. One ounce of pressure should feel like almost no pressure at all, like almost zero energy. Possibly, in the previous exercises, you already experienced an open and louder-than-usual lowest tone while keeping the abdominal muscles relaxed and immobile. That experience should give you an idea of what one ounce of pressure feels like to you. That extremely relaxed one ounce of support energy must become the reference point against which you will measure different degrees of support. It is possible to sing with less than one ounce of support energy—say half an ounce. Nevertheless, it is most important to establish the one-ounce reference point. The changes in the ounces of sound-support energy as you rise stepwise are very small indeed so that by the time you reach your highest tone you still will not be over-blowing. The challenge is to produce your loudest sound with the least possible effort. The following exercises are designed to give you: (a) familiarity maintaining one ounce of support energy on various pitch intervals plus recognizing the proper sensations at the far end of your air supply and (b) mobility on, and familiarity with the sensation of, singing various intervals without collapsing the Basic Shape.
  • 74. Important:As you near the end of your breath the anti-constrictor muscles in your sound-supporting mechanism willslowly fall in naturally, but you must maintain your resistance against the books. It is natural for the sound-supporting mechanism to contract near the end of your breath in order to keep a steady flow of air comingthrough. But this means a change of sensations: one ounce of support energy at the end of your breath willrequire more sound-supporting mechanism tension than one ounce at the beginning of your breath. Whereyou felt zero energy supporting one ounce on a full supply of air, you will feel a very active tension producingthat same one ounce when your air supply is almost exhausted. You can judge whether you are maintainingan even, steady flow of air if you do not sound louder when your abdominal tension is greater at the far endof your breath. Exercise 37 • One Ounce of Sound-Supporting Mechanism Tension 1 • Lie down on your back with the books on your abdomen and chest. 2 • Grip the entire Basic Shape as in Exercise 27. 3 • Inhale and push both sets of books up simultaneously. Fill your lungs completely. Sing on HONH, repeating each bar until you exhaust your entire supply of air. 5 • Do not use more than one ounce of support energy. 6 • There may be a tendency to allow the Basic Shape to collapse on wider intervals, therefore there must a conscious re-gripping of the entire Basic Shape when ascending to the higher tone as well as when descending to the lower tone.
  • 75. Two Tones Using One Ounce of Support Energy S & T
  • 76. Three-Note Scales Using One Ounce of Support Energy Repeat 3 times S&T
  • 77. Enough repetitions of the exercises should establish very clearly:• The sensations of one ounce of support energy on your entire vocal range.• The difference in sensations between one ounce of support energy on a full supply of air and one ounce of support energy on less and less air as the air is being used up.• The sensation of never allowing the Basic Shape to collapse, regardless of the pitch youre singing and regardless of the amount of air supply you may or may not have left. Crescendo/DecrescendoThe next step is to become familiar with the sensations of using the sound-supportingmechanism at various dynamic levels while the sound-producing mechanism remainsimmobile maintaining its Basic Shape.
  • 78. Fig. 27 on p. 72 reveals the actions of the vocal cords on a medium loud (mezzo forte—mf) and a loud (forte—f) sound:• The entire lengths of the vocal cords vibrate to produce the low register.• The front section of the vocal cords vibrate to produce the middle register.• The back section of the vocal cords vibrate to produce the high register. But something very interesting and different occurs when the dynamic level is soft(piano—p):• The front section of the vocal cords vibrate to produce most of the low register.• The back section of the vocal cords vibrate to produce the middle and high registers. In Exercise 37, except for the extreme low tones (the very low tones are produced by the entire lengths of the vocal cords vibrating even on p), you were using the front section of the vocal cords for the low register and the back section of the vocal cords for the middle and high registers. One ounce of support energy is very similar in loudness to the p dynamic level. In the following exercises we shall attempt to increase and decrease the ounces of sound- supporting mechanism pressure on long tones—making the tones louder and softer. But it should be obvious that some sort of change must occur in the actions of the vocal cords when the dynamic level changes. When support energy is increased while sustaining a tone—thereby making it louder—there is a very definite change in the motion of the vocal cords. In the low register: the frontof the vocal cords vibrate to produce p but change to the entire lengths to vibrate for mf andf. In the low register this change is comparatively smooth. In the middle register, however,the change from p to mf and f—from the back section of the vocal cords vibrating for pto the front section vibrating for mf and f—there may be a break in the sound. The samebreak may occur when the dynamics desired are in reverse: from f to p—from the frontsection of the vocal cords vibrating to produce f changing to the back section of thevocal cords vibrating to produce p. But with enough repetitions on that one tone,particularly in the middle register, the break will disappear; the sensation of changingdynamics smoothly will become evident. The high register is the responsibility of the back section of the vocal cords on all dynamic levels. All of the above information will be made visual for you in Exercise 38.
  • 79. Exercise 38 • Crescendo and Decrescendo 1 • Lie down on your back with the books on your abdomen and chest. 2 • Grip the entire Basic Shape as in Exercise 27. 3 • Inhale and push both sets of books up simultaneously. Fill your lungs completely. 4 • SingonHONHand, based upon the above charts, it should be very simple to visualize and produce the following tone correctly: You have just produced the fourth tone up from the bottom of your range. You shouldnever use more than four ounces of support energy on that tone. Keep repeating the tone—from p to f—until you can feel youre making your loudest sound without collapsing theBasic Shape. That must be your guide. Do not work too hard. Remember—the challenge is toproduce your loudest sound with the least possible effort. The fourth tone is in your low register and when you started it onp (one ounce of supportenergy) the front section of the vocal cords vibrated to produce it. As you added moresupport energy, the entire lengths of the vocal cords came into play. The differencesbetween one, two, three and four ounces of support energy are almost imperceptible. Pleaseadd your sound-supporting mechanism tension very carefully, and, as long as the BasicShape remains under your control, you will discover that you do not need as much supportenergy as you might have thought. As you continue this exercise you will become more andmore conscious of your ability to produce and control the dynamic level of every single tone inyour vocal range—from extreme softness to the outer limits of your extreme loudness. Expect your concentration to shift back and forth from making certain the Basic Shape isholding firm to making certain youre using just the right amount of support energy. As youcontinue repeating the exercise, concentrating on more than one mechanism at the sametime will become more and more familiar and easy. Although you may be doing the exercise correctly you might find a dullness or hiss inyour quality. There are very subtle constrictors in the sound-producing mechanism thatbegin to relax when you are more confident about your familiarity with the exercise. 5 • Please repeat Exercise 38 until you are totally familiar with: • the sensations of two, three and four ounces of support energy • increasing the support energy without collapsing the Basic Shape. • the sensation of the vocal cords changing positions without a break in the sound.We are going on to practicing a crescendo throughout the entire vocal range. I said earlier thatthe extreme low tones are always produced by the entire lengths of the vocal cords. The reasonfor this is that the extreme low tones are almost inaudible when produced by the front sectionof the vocal cords. Expect to produce the first three or four semi-tones on p with the entirelengths of the vocal cords vibrating.
  • 80. Notice how, as you rise in pitch, the dynamic markings change to different ounces of supportenergy. Notice in particular the p markings are always half the amount of the/ markings.Also, we are starting each long tone with one-half or one ounce of support energy so that thefamiliarity you already have with that amount of support tension will help you begin each
  • 81. tone in a relaxed state. Please continue.
  • 82. Scales and OctavesWe will now move on to five-note scales, full eight-note scales and octaves. Only the usualstandard dynamic markings will be used. The challenge to you is to remember how toexecute each exercise correctly. If there is any scale or octave that is particularlytroublesome, pencil in, underneath that scale or octave, the markings you wish to practice.Do the following exercises sitting in a chair or standing, whichever you find most relaxed.Instead of the sets of books, substitute a wide belt tightened very securely around yourabdomen. When you inhale you will feel the abdominal anti-constrictor muscles extend andanchor themselves securely against the tight belt. This will give you a sensation similar topushing-out the set of books that was on your abdomen.Exercise 39 • Five-Note Scales, Eight-Note Scale and Octaves 1 . Wear a wide belt tightened around your abdomen. 2 • Sit—or stand. 3 • Grip the entire Basic Shape as in Exercise 27. 4 . Inhale and extend the abdominal muscles, anchoring them securely against the belt. Continue inhaling and feel the chest fill with air. Your lungs are now completely filled. Sing the following scales and octaves on HONH, using the various dynamic markings shown in the first two bars.
  • 83. Five-Note Scales—Sing Each Version Three Times
  • 84. Eight-Note Scales—Sing Each Version Twice
  • 85. Octaves
  • 86. Exercise 40 requires removing the forefinger from the root of the tongue and maintaining the entireBasic Shape as if the forefinger were still guiding you. Sing the long tones on pp. 74-75 usingthe following directions: Exercise 40 Removing the Forefinger • Wear a wide belt tightened around your abdomen. 1• Sit, relaxed, with your back touching the back of the chair. 2 . Inhale and extend the abdominal muscles anchoring them 3 . securely against the belt. Continue inhaling until your lungs are completely filled. 4 . Grip the entire Basic Shape as in Exercise 27. 5 • Start your first long tone with the forefinger at the root of the tongue. The outer semi-circle is still being pressured. When you have produced a perfect and constant HONH, slowly remove the forefinger. Listen to the sound. There should be no change in quality.
  • 87. If there is a change in quality it means some section of the Basic Shape is not developed enough to sustain its strength and structure without the guidance of the forefinger. If you will remove your forefinger very slowly you will find the area that needs strengthening. Exercise and strengthen that area, silently at first. If there is no change in tone quality when you remove your forefinger, complete the long tones on pp. 74-75 and repeat Exercises 37, 38 and 39 without the forefinger.Exercise 41 • Removing the Outer Semi-Circle Pressure 1 • Wear a wide belt tightened around your abdomen. 2 • Sit, relaxed, with your back touching the back of the chair. 3 • Inhale and extend the abdominal-muscles anchoring them securely against the belt. Continue inhaling until your lungs are completely filled. 4 • Grip the entire Basic Shape as in Exercise 27. 5 • Start your first long tone with the forefinger at the root of the tongue. The outer semi-circle is still being pressured. Use the long tones on pp. 74-75. 6 • When you have produced a perfect and constant HOHN, slowly remove the forefinger. Listen to the sound. There should be no change in quality. 7 • Remove the other forefinger from the tip of the tongue and take the thumb away from the outer semi-circle. You are now sustaining a tone with only the intrinsic anti-constrictor muscles of the Basic Shape functioning voluntarily. 8 • Complete the long tones on pp. 74-75 and repeat Exercises 37,38 and 39 holding the Basic Shape voluntarily.Exercise 42 • Removing the Wide Belt and Standing 1 • All the directions in Exercise 41 are to be repeated without wearing the wide belt, and standing. 2 • You will now be performing the exercises with all the intrinsic muscles of the sound-producing and sound-supporting mechanisms functioning voluntarily. 3 • Start with the long tones on pp. 74-75. If and when you feel comfortable and confident producing the long tones, repeat Exercises 37, 38 and 39. In the future, gripping the entire Basic Shape as in Exercise 27 and gripping-relaxing theentire Basic Shape as in Exercise 28 should become a daily ritual so that you will maintainstrength in your anti-constrictors. This daily ritual will also help deactivate the more subtleconstrictors that may still exist in the sound-producing mechanism. Also, wearing the widebelt, to feel the sensation of extending the anti-constrictors in the sound-supportingmechanism, should be part of this daily ritual. There are singers who always wear a wideelastic abdominal-support belt, under their clothing, during performances.To review:• There should now be complete mental and physical control of the Basic Shape on HONH throughout the entire vocal range.• There should now be complete mental and physical control of the sound-supporting mechanism on all dynamic levels.
  • 88. The Word-Producing MechanismThe word-producing mechanism can very easily develop affectations of many kinds. All ofthem can affect not only the way a singer looks while singing but also the Basic Shape,making controlling it very awkward. It is impossible to list the various kinds of physicaldistortions individuals can acquire in their word-producing mechanisms during the act ofsinging. There are as many distortions as there are singers. All of them, however, are causedby the unnecessary use of lip, jaw, cheek and tongue musculature to articulate words. Somebasic information about words and a few general rules can be very helpful in learning toeliminate these distortions. The sounds of language are formed by two elements:vowels and consonants. VowelsThe vowels are A, E, I, O and U. There are two types of vowel sounds: pure vowels anddiphthongs. Pure vowels have one sound, such as: AH as in fAr A as in thAt AW as in fOr UH as in bUt OO as in bOOk OO as in nOOn EH as in mEt IH as in hit EE as in mEEtExercise 43 • Tongue Motion on Pure Vowels1 Do not move the lips. Imagine you are practicing to become a ventriloquist2 Move to and grip the entire Basic Shape3 Place a forefinger on the back of the tongue4 On a comfortable long tone sing:
  • 89. Because your forefinger is touching the back of the tongue, you will not be able toarticulate EE completely. But you will discover that section in the forward part of thetongue that, alone, produces EE without the "help" of the lips, jaw or cheeks. Diphthongs are a combination of two pure vowels sounds. Become very aware of thesecombinations so that you will use only the necessary tongue actions on all diphthongs.Exercise 44 • Tongue Motion on Diphthongs 1 • Do not move the lips. Imagine, you are practicing to become a ventriloquist. 2 • Move to and grip the entire Basic Shape. 3 • Place the forefinger on the back of the tongue. 4 • On a comfortable long tone, sing: AH-EE as in I The perfect and constant HONH shape is used for the first sound. It remains perfect and constant as only the more forward section of the tongue rises to articulate EE. AH-OO as in nOw The perfect and constant HONH shape is used for the first sound. It remains perfect and constant as the back of the tongue rises slightly to articulate the OO as in nOOn. AW-OO as in nO The perfect and constant HONH shape is motionless for the first sound. It remains motionless as the back of the tongue rises slightly to articulate OO as nOOn. AW-EE as in bOy. The perfect and constant HONH shape is motionless for the first sound. It remains motionless as the forward section of the tongue rises to articulate EE. EH-EEK as in mAy The Basic Shape is always producing a perfect and constant HONH. There is an imperceptible rise of the U shape in the middle section of the tongue on EH. The forward section of the tongue rises to articulate EE. In actual performance, the correct way to sing a diphthong is to sustain the first soundlonger and tack on the second sound as you are about to finish the word. Please repeat
  • 90. Exercises 41 and 42 completely familiarizing yourself with only the necessary tongueactions of the word-producing mechanism on all vowel sounds. ConsonantsThere are two types of consonants: musical consonants and hard consonants. The musicalconsonants are: L, M, N, R, V, J and Z. These consonants can be sustained on musicalpitches. All other consonants (hard consonants) cannot sustain musical pitch: B, D, F, G,K, P, S and T. The Basic Shape can be held on all musical consonants. Quick changes in the Basic Shapemay occur on hard consonants such as: G as in Go, K as in King and QU as in QUick. Themost important action is the voluntary snapping-back to the Basic Shape immediately aftera sometimes necessary and momentary loss of Shape.Rule 1. The sounds B, F, M, P, V and W require the use of the lips only.Rule 2. The sounds D, G, J, K, L, N, R, S, SH, ST, CH, T, TH and Z require the use of the tongue only.Rule 3. Do not use the tongue where only the lips are required. Rule 4. Do not usethe lips where only the tongue is required. Rule 5. The lips are unnecessary to producevowel sounds. Only the Basic Shape (for the perfect and constant HONH) and differentsections of the tongue are needed for vowels. Words can be broken down into syllables. Syllables can be broken down into their basicelements (consonants and vowels) and the actions of the word-producing mechanism can bedescribed, observed and practiced. The object in the following exercises is to practice everyconceivable combination of vowels and consonants encountered in language, using only thenecessary muscles in the word-producing mechanism without upsetting the Basic Shape. This does not mean that when you sing you will look like a statue. It does mean that youwill do away with certain affectations and distorted facial expressions. You will develop theconcept of producing the word using only the appropriate lip and tongue muscles. As aresult, your words will be clearly understood and you will still produce your sounds througha firmly held Basic Shape. The following exercises are designed to make you conscious of the necessary as well as theunnecessary muscle movement of the tongue, lips, cheek and jaw. Holding the lips in apassive position will not allow them to help articulate the following vowels and consonants:
  • 91. A, E, I, O, U, D, G, H, J, K, L, N, R, S, T and Z. This is exactly what ventriloquists do-articulate vowels and consonants without using the lips. The following exercise maintainsthe maximum opening and holding of the Basic Shape while singing previously hard-to-articulate vowels and consonants, where the Basic Shape collapsed and the sound becamedull, or where there was a facial distortion getting the word out. You will discover that thecontrol of your sound is handled exclusively by the Basic Shape on all vowels and allmusical consonants, and not by the jaw, lips or any particular facial expression. Thisexercise allows us to realize the very, very small changes that are actually required to movefrom one vowel or consonant to another vowel or consonant and yet be very clear andarticulate. When you sing now you will find no awkwardness on words that were awkwardin the past. You will find a very natural kind of freedom to express yourself emotionallywithout loss of sound.Exercise 45 • Singing Vowels and Consonants Without Using the Lips 1 • Move to and grip the entire Basic Shape. You may wear the bow tie during this exercise. You can feel your Basic Shape grip and remain firm as long as the bow tie does not drop during the sound. 2 • If you are using your left hand, push the lower lip toward the right with the thumb while the forefinger pushes the upper lip toward the left. See Fig. 28. Fig. 28. Deactivating the Lips on Vowels and Certain Consonants. 3 • Sing all the "words" in the following chart on your lowest tone. Move up chromatically (half-step) to your next pitch and repeat all the "words." Continue this throughout your range—chromatically up and then down. Your first set of "words" will be: DA (dAy) DE (dEE) Dl (dIE) DO (dOUGH) DU (dOO as in nOOn)
  • 92. On your second set of "words" substitute G for D in the first column. Go down the entire line of consonants adding the vowels to each. D ---------------------------------------------------- A G E H I J O K U L N R S T Z Refraining from using extraneous muscles on the "words" should be both a revelationand a pleasure. Notice how freely and easily the Basic Shape is held—the word-producingmechanism is not interfering with the sound-producing mechanism.Exercise 46 • Beginning and Ending "Words" with Consonants 1 • Move to and grip the entire Basic Shape. You may wear the bow tie during this exercise. You can feel your Basic Shape grip and remain firm as long as the bow tie does not drop during the sound. 2 • Maintain a passive, ventriloquist-like expression and make only the necessary lip and tongue movements. 3 • Use the long tones on pp. 74-75. Sing the "words" slowly, so that you can judge and anticipate the necessary motion for each "word" without upsetting the Basic Shape. 4 • Practice the exercise on your entire range going up and down chromatically. 5 • Sing on p first throughout the entire exercise, then add sound-supporting mechanism energy when you feel confident. 6 • Start with the B in Column 1. Add the 0 from Column 2. End the "word" with 8 from Column 3. This will give you the "word" BOB. 7 • Repeat columns 1 and 2 and change to the D in column 3. You now have the "word" BOD. 8 • Continue repeating columns 1 and 2 while moving down column 3 through the letter Z—BOZ. 9 • Begin again with the B in column 1 but change the vowel sound to A (as in thAt) from column 2 and return to the B in column 3. You now have the "word" BAB. Move down column 3, as before, going through to BAZ. When you are finished with all the vowels in column 2 and all the consonants in column 3 change to the D in column 1 and repeat the entire process. You will have 5,720 "words" to go through. It is not necessary to go through them all at one sitting. However, the more "words" you practice, with the rules in mind at all times (see p. 86), the easier and smoother your eventual singing performance will become.
  • 93. 10 • You should also add L, R, V or W after the first consonants in column 1 to get "words" such as BLOB and BROB, which give you many more additional challenges to control the word-producing mechanism-moving the lips or tongue only when necessary—while keeping the Basic Shape stable.
  • 94. Column 1 Column 2 Column 3 B hOt B D thAt D F fOr F G bUt G H bOOk H J nOOn J K mEt K L mEEt L M IAH—EEk (like) M N nAH—OO (now) N P nAW—OO (no) P QU bAW—EE (boy) R R S mEH—EEk (make) S SH SH ST ST CH CH T T TH TH V V Z W Z Use only the necessary lip and tongue actions on all consonants. The Basic Shape must be held on all pure vowels, diphthongs and musical consonants. Exercise 47 is designed to allow you to feel with your forefinger, and "see" in your mind, only the necessarymotions required from the lips, tongue, and jaw for the clearest articulation of all word combinations withoutcollapsing the Basic Shape. It will reinforce the previous exercise—you will be observing as if through amicroscope every minute movement necessary for free word articulation.Exercise 47 • Thinking "Words" 1 • Grip the entire Basic Shape using both hands as in Exercise 27. 2 • Think the "words" given above as you sing a tone. Feel the tongue and lip motion that would articulate the "words" if your forefinger were not in the way. Allow yourself to feel those aborted "words" but at the same time feel the entire Basic Shape structure holding solidly—not moving. 3 • Do this exercise on your entire vocal range; first on p and then on mf and f. You are thus beginning to use the voices three mechanisms—each working independently and simultaneously. 4 • Removing the hands from the Basic Shape after a good length of exercise-time has been invested should make word articulation on sound very well-controlled. The end result should be a freedom while singing any conceivable vowel and consonant combination with no awkwardness or unnecessary facial distortion.
  • 95. To conclude, there should now exist within you a total mental and physical sensitivity to the necessary muscleactions:• for an open sound—holding the Basic Shape with ease• for the amount of sound-supporting mechanism energy wanted or needed at any given time on your entire vocal range without distorting the Basic Shape• for clearly articulating the words of a song without distorting the Basic Shape You are now a master-builder and singer; possessing a correctly structured and effectively functioningvocal instrument.
  • 96. ConclusionThe aim of this book has been to structure and control the various sections of the voice before sound is produced,and then to maintain that control throughout a performance. Now that the course is over, many, if not all, of themanipulations practiced in the exercises have entered into the students muscle systems that are connected to thevoice as reflex actions. Many, if not all, of the old, bad habits have faded, have been forgotten, and the incorrectmuscle actions that may still persist are clearly identifiable. Returning to the appropriate exercises will, withdiscipline and concentration, easily change any wrong action. Completing this method has changed the studentinto an educated singer. Assuming the students mental and physical control over the voices three mechanisms is now the new reality, he isfree to move on to whatever genre of song he prefers. The student who chooses the classics can go on to vocalises todevelop facility and velocity, and then to repertoire. Popular songs do not require the precision the classicsdemand—the singer of popular songs can probably go right into songs. Musical comedy falls in between. In any ofthese categories, the student will have to develop a good sense of time and pitch. I do recommend to all students tolearn to sight-read music. Courses in drama and dance can be invaluable; drama, in order to develop the ability tocreate and sustain the proper mood for each song or acting-singing role, and dance—not ballroom dancing butballet or modern dance—for the sake of developing graceful movement around a stage. One point must be made here regarding the emotional projection of a song or the playing of a particular role in amusical or opera: regardless of the character you wish to portray, never sacrifice the Basic Shape. There is nosituation in a musical performance that takes precedence over maintaining the Basic Shape. Whatever you still may need, one thing is certain: your instrumental structure and your theoretical knowledge ofwhy you are doing what you are doing, physically, has given you a solid objective foundation. Your chances of beingtechnically misled are very small if you will think and produce vocally, in the first place, physically. To maintain apermanent, healthy vocal instrument, you must make the exercises in this book a way of life—to be practiced daily,by the hour, if possible. You will always be ready to sing. You will constantly be expanding the perimeter ofyour Basic Shape and the total control of the complete instrument. Sing a lot, feel the gripping of the anti-constrictors in the Basic Shape and the sound-supporting mechanism. They will be nowhere as tense during actualsinging as they are during the exercises—but you will know they are there. They can be felt and controlledthroughout a performance. This is a great confidence-giver. Vocally, you will never be lost.
  • 97. The New Voice, created by Allen Greene, is a genuinely new and original approach to voice training.In contrast to voice training methods, which rely on sound production exercises and imitation by the studentof the teachers sound, and a teachers evaluation of the students sound to achieve results, The New Voiceoffers a faster more direct approach. Training in The New Voice, the students learns to consciously and directly control the intrinsic musclesof the vocal structure. This is done through a step-by-step, logical progression of silent, physical exercises. The student physically constructs the optimum vocal instrument first; when the correct structure ismaintained during sound production, the sound is correct because the structure is correct. Because The NewVoice exercises are silent the student does not learn by imitating the sound produced by his teacher.Therefore the student does not take on the style of the teacher. Instead the student is able to apply his or hers"new voice" to their own style of singing in their own way. The New Voice has proven to be a fast and exceptionally effective training process for singers, speakers,brass and wind instrument players, and people recovering from vocal surgery or trauma. J. H. Blumert began studying The New Voice with Alan Greene in 1976, and, at Mr. Greenessuggestion, began teaching the method in 1978. L. A. Jones learned the method from Mr. Blumert and in1990 received Mr. Blumerts blessing to begin teaching the method. "Taught alone, or in combination withmore traditional methods, The New Voice generally produces equivalent results in 1/2 to 1/4 the timerequired by other disciplines alone. Many students of The New Voice have recognized it as the mostsignificant advance in voice training in hundreds of years" - J.H. Blumert. Singers!! Speakers!! Do you lose your voice? Do you want more range, control, Dynamics? Are you recovering from vocal surgery? The New Voice can help all these problems and much more! email L.A. Jones today at lajones@lajones.com
  • 98. Before reading Alan Greenes book it was difficult to believe anything new could be added to soestablished a subject as singing technique. But Mr. Greenes approach is as novel and fresh as arocket ship compared to a horse-drawn carriage. Consider, for example, the idea of feeling a sound first—before you sing it. Imagine the comfort andconfidence a singer can experience during a performance as a result of knowing, beforehand, thecorrect physical sensation of every single note and word in a song. It is really viewing singing from anentirely new angle of vision. I found the first section of the book most interesting. We are made aware of the singers ownexperiences that mold his or her personality; which in turn is what the singer is as an artist. Its likefinally seeing, for the first time, the rest of that proverbial iceberg. Now, at last, we know whats belowthe visible tip—psychologically as well as technically. To those who are about to embark on this fascinating vocal journey, I can confidently say: it is a tripwell worth taking. Harry BelafonteI have read Mr. Greenes book very carefully three times. The first reading was for enjoyment, thesecond was for technical information and the third time for more enjoyment. I was fortunate to be one of Mr. Greenes clients a few years ago when I had an opportunity toaudition for a Broadway musical. Subsequently I did two Broadway musicals and one screenmusical. I must hasten to add that I was totally hopeless as a singer when I went to see him. I did havesome small talent as a character actor. Mr. Greene took that and used it to turn out a commercialcommodity. I dont want to give the impression that miracles are possible with Mr. Greenes divine aid but hecertainly will give a great deal of enlightened instruction, pleasure and entertainment. Mr. Greenestechnical knowledge is so vast that even if his book was translated from another planet it would beinvaluable to anyone connected with the performing arts. Walter MatthauThis is an important book. Anyone who uses his voice professionally will find himself agreeing with me.Alan Greenes theory is absolutely fascinating and should be read and re-read. Few of the volumes inthis field offer the light and easy approach to an understanding in depth of what The New Voice has tooffer. My compliments to Mr. Greene for an important and fascinating book. William B. WilliamsAlan Greenes book is a gem! Its brevity and clarity are somewhat deceptive. The attentive readerwill actually learn, as I did, a tremendous amount of anatomy, physiology and psychology related tospeaking and singing but with broader and deeper implications as well. As a psychiatrist I have long been aware of the voice as a barometer and reflection not only ofcurrent states of emotion and stress but also of long-standing personality patterns. Mr. Greenesdescription of the origin and the persistence of such vocal distortions is accurate andsophisticated. Moreover, he offers a method, based on sound principles of learning theory and recentresearch in bio-feedback, which is simple to understand and implement, even on ones own. I canpersonally attest to the rather dramatic results achievable by diligent pursuit of this systematiccourse of study. Robert I. Steinmuller

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