Vocal Tone

All vocal tone used in singing when produced at the vocal bands is small

and probably always about alike. The tone which we hear is "colored",

"re-inforced" etc., on the way from the vocal bands to the outer air. In

order that the tone shall carry well and be heard in purity throughout a

hall, the initial tone must be added to. This is done by its

reverberation in cavities where there is confined air. By confined, is

ant, air which is not being greatly disturbed. There are four such

cavities, or chambers, in connection with the production of voice. The

chest, the ventricles, the inner mouth and the nose. To have the tone

resonant the air in these chambers must be held in confinement. The way

they can be utilized is best illustrated by the drum. A blow on the

drum-head sets the air in the drum into vibration and that air

re-inforces the tone caused by the original blow. Tone made by the

vocal bands is re-inforced by vibration in the chambers of the body, and

the connection of these chambers with the outer air sets into vibration

the air of the room.

Something might be said about the thickness of clothing to be worn over

the chest while singing. It is certain that thick woolens worn during

singing, absorb much of the vibration of the tone and lessen the amount

of voice. Tone comes from the whole body and chiefly from the chambers

in which air is confined. Our singing tone does not come out of the

mouth alone. It comes from shoulders, back and chest without going near

the mouth.

The stillness with which the air is held in the chambers of vibration

has much influence upon the volume of tone, and upon the quality. Just

now we will consider the chamber within the mouth. The space between the

back of the throat (as seen in a mirror) and the teeth is this chamber.

The air in this must be held as still as it can be. The practical way of

doing it, and the way of telling pupils how to use themselves so that

they can do it, tax the ingenuity of the teacher. A picture, or an

image, is the best way perhaps. The air in the mouth should be like the

water of a still lake. Into it, at one end, a gentle stream may flow. It

does not disturb the lake. It causes a ripple where it enters. It may

raise the elevation of the water in the lake, and the superfluous water

may flow off at the other end of the lake. Now, suppose a mountain

stream comes rushing into the lake. It stirs everything up, and rushes

out at the outlet in the same rough way. In the still chamber of air in

the mouth there must be no "mountain streams." The quiet lake must be

imitated. A little air, which has been vibrated at the vocal bands may

enter it, and not disturb it. That initial tone, always a quiet one,

will be re-inforced by vibration in the mouth and will issue forth large

and round. The amplitude of vibration will determine its volume. The

shape and size of the cavity of reverberation can constantly and

instantly change and by such change the tone can be regulated.

The chamber of still air cannot be utilized unless the organs of

respiration are working correctly and strongly. A forceful blast of air

sent through the mouth will dissipate all vibrating waves. It is useless

to try to the initial tone until after the diaphragm is in good working

order. When that is all right then employ the re-inforcing chamber in

the way given above and resonance of tone will be obtained. It is by so

using the respiratory column and re-inforcing the tone made by the vocal

bands that a person can be made a good vocalist in a few weeks. It is

not necessary to take years to cultivate the voice. (It is to make a

good singer.) From five to eight weeks, if the student does right, will

perfectly cultivate a voice.