Lucie Manen exercises demonstrated

Here are some demonstrations of techniques from pages 26 until 31 of Lucie Manen’s book ‘The Art of Singing’. On a previous blog, I demonstrated the onset of the note using the larynx mechanism. Here is a demonstration of the onset using both the larynx mechanism and, the main resonator, the pharynx mechanism.

Starting the note using the pharynx – Deborah Wai Kapohe

Manen writes ‘[a’n essential component of the Bel Canto technique is the exploitation of the upper respiratory tract. Manen writes ‘…the Imposto mechanism cannot by itself generate tone production..the larynx can produce a note without involving the Imposto…but, once the Imposto mechanism is initiated it will function simultaneously with the mechanism of the larynx in tone-production.’

Here is a demonstration of the start of the note from the Imposto.

Starting the note from the imposto – Deborah Wai Kapohe

Manen writes ‘the naso-pharynx, are used as resonators for the Imposto, the secondary mechanism of tone production. Here is a demonstration of some exercises to develop nasal resonance. By developing nasal resonance you can then access the Imposto. I have added the word ‘sing’ in at the end because ‘ng’ is difficult for some people to grasp.

H before m, n and ng to avoid larynx becoming dominant

Below is an example of what you don’t want – humming started from the larynx – and what you do want – humming started from the imposto. By now you will say. But hey. You just said that to develop the imposto need to develop nasal but now you say you have to start the nasal from the imposto. Yes. That is correct. Singing is round and round in circles. Another example of going round and round in circles is when your teacher tells you “you need to breathe well to sing well and then turns around and says you need to sing well to breathe well”.

To help you develop your humming starting from the imposto have another go at the exercise above. Use ‘h’ before the nasal consonant. Below are two examples, one wrong and one right.

Example of what you don’t want – humming started from the larynx – Deborah Wai Kapohe
Example of what you do want – humming started from the imposto – Deborah Wai Kapohe

FInally, Manen discusses head resonance. Head voice – or head resonance – is a brilliant sound. It gives warmth and beauty. Here is one of many exercises to develop the head voice. My poor old iPhone doesn’t cope too well with these recordings but you may hear there is a brilliance to the sound. Head voice gives the voice carrying power. You don’t need to push the voice if you can access the head voice. You will also last a lot longer in the singing business than singers who push and shove.

An exercise to develop the head voice – Deborah Wai Kapohe

Finally, I finish with a picture of Lilli Lehmann because these blog posts are part of my three year project, called ‘The Lilli Lehmann Project’. The project goal is that I prepare myself for becoming a responsible singing teacher using her book ‘How to Sing’ as a point of reference.

Lilli Lehmann

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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