How to Sing Review

How to Sing
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How to Sing ReviewNo book can teach a person how to sing--to sing requires intelligence, fortitude and a good teacher ultimately. If you are looking for a reference and many good thoughts about the subject during your studies, start with "How to Sing" by Lilli Lehmann. Mme. Lehmann's work, "Meine Gesangskunst," translated by R. Aldrich as "How To Sing" is complete in every respect. A word of caution: do NOT read the vowels as if they are in Italian or German--Mr. Aldrich translated EVERYTHING. Long A is as in the word "say" or "Hay", etc--read them as an American would read them. Realize also that her "Auxiliary" vowels are NOT sung as they are, but are merely part of the the MIXTURE--for instance, a long O (long as in the word LOW) contains the brightness of ee (as in three), ay as in say, etc--and these are her way of helping you to concentrate the voice forward--the goal of every true singer being resonance, brightness, the slight nasal quality (not nasal singing)and projection. Her great scale literally saved my voice (see pp. 95-100), and I have been using it exclusively twice daily for 3 years now with excellent results. Her sense of humor is European and refined, her outlook on art is timeless and her interpretations of songs such as Schubert's "Erlkoenig" will add a dimension not available elsewhere. While it may seem like a difficult book to comprehend, it is one that bears reading, re-reading and internalization. Naturally singing is an art that requires intelligence, fortitude and constant re-evalutation, and this book should be a part of any serious singer's library. Another reviewer stated she wished for a book that would teach her to sing--no book can do that, but what books can do is AID us in our studies. Do not rely too much on diagrams--Mme. Lehmann was writing at the end of her long career (her voice being at the end according to every report as lovely as ever--and her recordings, 1906-1907, made after a 40 year career on the major stages of the world at that time bring us a voice remarkably preserved and a technique that few if any ever attain), and as she herself said, the book is intended not only for singers but those who wish to understand the voice in all its particulars. Every singer must find her own instrument, technique and method over time--any teacher who promises a quick fix or fast method is deluding the student. Mme. Lehmann herself recommended a minimum of 3 years hard study before a student should even think of singing songs, and again, her method proved itself in the cases of several noted singers such as Olive Fremstat, Geraldine Farrar and others of note. Buy this book, study hard with a good teacher, take what you can and if possible, listen to the re-mastered versions of Mme. Lehmann's recordings. Go often to opera and concerts to hear the best singing available, and study, study and for a special treat, study some more. It is the only way to achieve anything worthwhile in this life. I have 3 copies of this book: one well worn and marked in, one less worn but read often, and an unmarked copy because I want to keep one handy at all times! My only regret: the original German is not available. Yes, singers must know other languages, and I am no exception to this rule (I sing French, German, Italian and Spanish at present). Buy the book, read it often, learn from the BEST! Remember: she sang herself under Wagner, Puccini, Verdi and other truly great composers and conductors. A truly intelligent singer will take what she likes and leave the rest of many sources--add Mme. Lehmann's sage advice and outlook, and you will be adding the best! can help with obtaining her recordings and the book--I ordered my recordings two years ago from Europe, (, the German branch) and they are obtainable more easily now through American Again, I cannot recommend this book highly enough, and as one who has sung for 20 years in churches, synagogues(as acting cantor for 6 years every Sabbath, Festival and High Holiday service, some of which are 3 or more hours long!) and smaller theaters, I have had great success using Lehmann's teachings. I also would refer the reader to two other books available through "Great Singers on Great Singing" by Jerome Hines, and "Great Singers on the Art of Singing" by Harriet Brower--Shirley Verret and Amelita Galli-Curcci used variations of the Great Scale of Lehmann throughout their careers, and in Brower's book there are several recommendations of Lehmann's art, one from Geraldine Farrar (who sang with Caruso) and the other being the account of "A Visit with Mme. Lehmann" by Ms. Brower. Remember: anything truly worth attaining will not come without work!How to Sing OverviewOne of the most influential of all singing guides by one of opera's first international superstars. Explores how to breathe correctly, produce a ringing head tone and execute a proper trill as well as important nuances of vocal expression, language, and role interpretation. Features recommended vocal exercises and guidelines for proper care of the voice.

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