Sunday, April 15, 2007

Two for one

More on that analogy – I’ve been meaning to expound on the “vomit breath” analogy, and a recent comment to the post has given me impetus to do so. I had a voice lesson shortly after the coaching which presented the analogy, and I asked Mark what his thoughts were on the concept.

His thought is that there can (and often should) be both an “in and up” and a “down and out” feeling in the abdominal area, as if the two are working “against” each other. You know that force you feel when you push two positive or two negative magnetic poles together? The feeling in the abdomen isn’t one of resisting, exactly, but more like stability. Ideally what you’ll create with this idea is a solid foundation for the column of air, with an occasional boost from an “up” or “down” support for various attacks, approaches, or articulations.

Ok, did that make any sense at all?! (By the way, this “magnet” image is mine, building on what Mark has taught me about support. Don’t call him up and say “I’d like to have a lesson and focus on magnet support;” he’ll probably have no idea what you’re talking about!) Sorry if this isn’t terribly clear; I’m still learning how to put these esoteric vocal technique concepts into words.

As for the commentor’s suggestion that a vomitous analogy “ignores the Art of communicating musically to your audience,” I’m not sure I agree. Singers have to think of all kinds of strange things in order to get our voices to “be musical.” How is an analogy like “pear-shaped tones” any more musical than vomit or magnets? It’s just prettier. The audience doesn’t need to know what goes on in our heads while we sing, so long as the desired result (a well-sung, emotion-filled phrase that touches them) is achieved.

Other thoughts?

OSNY Finals - On Saturday I sang in the Oratorio Society of New York Solo Competition Semi-Finals, and was pleased to learn that I’ll be singing in the Finals! And guess when they are? This Saturday. Yep, the afternoon after my Met debut.

So… I’ll be making a very short appearance (accompanied by the Brooklyn Birds and wearing the beautiful dress) at the Opening Night reception and then heading home to bed. I toyed (very briefly) with the idea of not going to the reception, but while I hope there will be other Opening Nights at the Met, I will only have one debut! Regardless of whether I attend the party or not, it’s going to be really hard to come down and get rested enough to sing well at a 1:30pm concert. A challenge…

One thing I’m very excited about for the Finals is that they have asked me to sing “Lua descolorida,” the gorgeous aria from Osvaldo’s Pasion segun San Marcos. I didn’t sing it in the preliminary round, but wanted to make sure they heard it at some point, so I started with it yesterday. When I announced my selection, I’m pretty sure I heard one of the judges say “Good for you.” After the Golijov, they asked for my Bach aria: “Jauchzet Gott” from Cantata 51. I suspected that they would, as it’s just about as different from the Golijov as you can get! I’ll be singing that on Saturday as well.

The Finals Concert is open to the public (information about tickets here), so if you’re in NYC and free on Saturday, come on out! It’s as Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie, so I guess one could say that I’m making my Met debut and my Carnegie Hall debut in the same weekend. How ‘bout that… deep breath, Bird!

Edited to add: I took a closer look at that link for tickets, and it really doesn’t say much. Tickets will be on sale ($20) at 12:30 on the day of the concert, April 21st, at the Weill box office. The concert begins at 1:30, and I’ll be second on the program.


SBF said...

Hey Lady-
Congratulations on the OSNY finals - busy weekend!

I've been salivating for months over 'Ayre' and 'Ainadamar.' Do you know if Golijov published anything reduced for Sop and Piano? I'm itching to learn some...

SMB said...

ACB! Big congrats on the OSNY finals... well done! I'm sure you'll wow them with a JAUCHZET just bursting with joy.

I am finalizing my travel itinerary for NYC/Boston, and wanted to chat with you a bit about my plans... thinking of coming to TRITTICO on May 7. Could you email me when you have a sec? (oh precious SEC!)



Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, there are a lot of teachers who have only learned from other teachers. Not from extensive experience as Artists or living a Musical/Artistic life. They come up with all sorts of goofy ideas like the vomit analogy. The sad part is there is nobody to tell them they are wrong. They are "The Voice Teacher" and their theories are not subject to critcism. Like many threories, the "vomit" technique (as does the "birthing" and "deffacation" technique) only strains and puts pressure on the abdomen and surrounding muscle structure. It constricts air flow and does not allow the vocalist to flow the air musically as an Artist should. These theories are a complete contardiction to our natural state, physiology and ideal of air flow and musical thought.

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