Deep Breath and Origination

Two things have come to my mind over this last week that I wanted to share with you.  So often I find people that have a hard time with the lower laryngeal idea because they tend to lower the larynx by pressing it down aggressively with the tongue and making a fake dark sound.

I would suggest to you a real expansion of the lower chest and when you do so to feel almost like your whole trachea is being lowered by this action.  In order to not get tensions you really have to expand the sternum.  Then the throat opens nicely and the larynx stays low.

This is a nice set up to get your voice to open up more and to originate low.  What you need to guard yourself against is letting your voice sink deep into throat rather than leaning it respectively on the hard palate (middle and low) and  in the sinus cavities.  Also, you have to guard yourself against just “spraying” a wide crazily unorganized sound upward.  You have to think in terms of laser sounds.

This sets you up to have a low larynx, open throat sound, that is highly harmonic.  This hooks up to the power of the breath in a very unique way. This is old school.


3 responses to “Deep Breath and Origination

  1. Gioacchino – what is your opinion on the uses of voce di strega ? And how does one find it ? Could you give an example ?

  2. Hello Jack!
    Reading Your last post,there is a question coming up,which I never found a real answer for so far. How to breath correctly.You speak of expanding the sternum,but how is that done? Or better, when? Is it with the inhalation or a split second affter taking the breath just befor the onset of sound? It might be a slight difference, but I think it creates two very different body postures for the act of singing.
    After reading the post “tettrazzinis wisdom”, I thought I had fully understand, and that I was doing things right “by nature”, which means to allow the breath travel really deep into the body,expanding the very low abdomen and the very low back muscels.Then,just a split second before the sound starts,I feel a wave-like motion starting in the abdomen, gently pushing up, so the sternum expands together with the lower chest and the body-appoggio is fet at the sternum and the lower back, but mainly at the lower abs.This can be strongly felt when holding a tone and doing a decrescendo going to almost ppp, that these muscles pull stronger insid and “try to stabilize” the tone or the airstream going up through the larynx.I really think this is what Tetrazzini talks about, and also Magda Olivero in Hines`book.

    The second version is similar, but everything is more upward in the body. You do not really allow the breath to go that deep,but rather inhale and direct the breath to the area of the lower ribs,which expand together with the sternum right at the moment of inhalation.This set-up means that one must in a way tighten the very low abdomen,or built a certain floor, so the the breath will not go down but rather expand futher up, also stretching the back, lower rib cage and sternum, but everything is higher, then it is in the first version.With this set up, I do not have the feeling of the wave like motion of the diaphragm upwards, but rather the sensation of expanding horizontally and holding the air higher in position.
    Both version do not support the idea of sitting on the breath or pushing down, not at all. I think, in the end, both versions do the same thing, BUT to talk an example with a baloon: with the first version, You fill a balloon with air, which is rather low in the body, almost allowing a relaxation in the very low parts of the body (back, abdomen, even buttocks), and then push it gently up.With teh second version You feel the balloon right in the stomack ribcage area and fill it up there, and instead of bringing it up, You just hold it there.
    When I do the first thing, I really have to try to watch out to reallx down low, and not to push to much breath up, but rather concentrate on a narrow sound emission at the larynx. With the second I very often have the feeling that I am blocking the air and “cannot get rid” of the old air, and each new inhalation is adding more and more pressure, until I have the feeling of joking, because the air is directly under the larnyx.Althogh, when done correctly I have the feeling the voice has a certain ease, but I almost constantly have to watch that my voice does not get small and stuck in the throat with the second version.

    So, as I understand it, Tetrazzini, Olivero and many others, explain this first version. Birgit NIlsson for exampla in the HInes`book and in masterclasses and also on Youtube Clips speaks about reaxing very low and supporting from the lowest point in the abdomen. In a way this first version of appoggio is like a support for the support, like an appoggio from the abdomen for the appoggio. In a way, I personally feel it like a body appoggio for the sound appoggio, which I vividly feel at the larynx.
    Also Stephen O´Mara in his Interviw witth You, speeks of relaxing the tummy and fiiling it with air.
    On the other hand, my current teacher, many in Hines`book, or for example Joan Sutherland speek of even pulling the belly inside at inhalation.I think I even remember You of saying to try to resist the need to expand the belly while taking a breath. I see, that one has an immediate expansion of the upper ribcage, the sternum and the back, but what do I do then to “move the airstream” for the first onset of sound? Of course the sound and tone must not be breathy and the cords must close, but in the end , it is air we have to move and play with, like Corelli says.

    And very last, here is something I want to talk about very intensivly, when I come to You in September: could it be, that the bigger and dramatic the voice, the deeper the appoggio is rooted? I started with a lirico tenor and later a coloratura, and they both always told me how important is was to stabilize the voice from the expansion of the lower ribcage. Almost every larger voiced singer I met, and read about, NIlsson, Corelli,O´Mara and many others speek of supporting from very down low in the body. Flagstad speeks of singing from the lowest back muscels directly to the ring in her voice.Caruso talks about his voice coimng directly from his lowest abdomen after inhaling the smallest amoint of air, as if speeking to a friend. Even Maestro Carlo Bergonzi told me, that for any voice, especially for tenor, there “always has to be some `cazzo nella voce`” 🙂
    I even had teachers (tenors) who told me, to instead of reacing for the high notes, “relax in the throat, grab Your balls and pull èm inside”……..

    Would You care to share Your opinion on that,please?

  3. I have been taking this for granted recently as i have been pursuing closure. now this is exactly what i needed to fix my phonation (which went from loose to pressed) and helped to get my passaggio working. This deep breath has helped me now to feel the leaning of breath. as long as i don’t push it’s a great improvement.

    thank you!

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