Whirling Currents

Lilli Lehmann’s book ‘How to Sing’ describes the sensations of ‘whirling currents’. She writes “[a] mistaken idea of ‘singing it forward’ misleads most to press it forward and thus allow it to be speedily dissipated”. Here is a demo of one of the many ways to train yourself to find and maintain these whirling currents without pressing.

Here, I am using a Māori word for skirt ‘piupiu’ because the ‘p’ trains me to purse my lips, the ‘i’ gives the brilliance and the ‘u’ the depth. I am aiming to sing almost sharp because I have a tendency to scoop and pull the voice down.

My guitar is tuned to 432HZ.

Last year, I listened to Patti’s version of ‘The Last Rose of Summer’ by Moore and fell in love with her sound. I battled away at the song for a while but couldn’t achieve the lightness of sound I wanted. Pressing and singing too heavily is death to bel canto and, as well as that, I was not supporting my voice enough. However, today I sang a lot of Donizetti and Bellini because my strategy is to sing a lot of coloratura for the next year before I return to lyric repertoire. I had worked all day to lighten the voice because I need a lighter voice to make it through the arias. At the end of the day, I thought of Patti’s singing. I just had to give ‘The Last Rose of Summer’ a go and, lo and behold, the whirling currents were there!

Experimenting a little with my social media. Here is an example I uploaded to SoundCloud. I hope you can hear it. If not, contact me and I will reload.

Published by Deborah Wai Kapohe

I am a classical singer and guitarist. I have created a project called 'The Lilli Lehmann Project'. The project, lasting from 2020 until 2023, aims to refresh my voice and prepare me to be a singing teacher. The scope of the project is that I am studying Lilli Lehmann's singing book, bibliography, recordings and her reviews, as well as other historical vocal pedagogy. I have chosen this platform in order to blog about my discoveries, demonstrate techniques and exercises, and perform pieces of music. I have done so because I wish to be transparent. I think that if a student is prepared to learn from me then I should stand up to public scrutiny.

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