Nasal Close

Lilli Lehmann writes “[t]he nasal close of itself brings a new color into the singing…the word is much more clearly intelligible…”.

Below is a demonstration of a Cancone solfeggio phrase. The first ‘sol la’ is sung without a nasal close and the second is with a nasal close.

Nasal Close on second ‘sol la’ Deborah Wai Kapohe

Can you hear the second ‘sol la’ is more colourful and also more intelligible?

Below is a further demonstration of the nasal close on the word ‘cammino’. The first is sung without a nasal close and the second with.

Cammino sung without nasal close and then with nasal close – Deborah Wai Kapohe

Did you hear that when I performed the nasal close I coloured the ‘i’ by adding a shade of ‘u’?

Now let us listen to me applying the nasal close to the word ‘cammino’ from a phrase in Liu’s aria.

Applying nasal close in Liu’s aria – Deborah Wai Kapohe

Can you hear the nasal close in the word ‘cammino’? And can you hear the colouring of the ‘i’ vowel? This adds pathos to the word.

Lilli Lehmann lamented she was the last to practice the nasal close, saying the nasal close is “a thing that no one teaches any longer, or knows or is able to do”. Sadly, this is almost the case. However, a beautiful example of the nasal close is by Montserrat Caballe when she sings Liu’s aria. Here is the Spotify Link. If you subscribe to Spotify you can hear her sing the entire aria. Nasal close after nasal close. Beautiful! But, even if you only play this little snippet below, listen carefully. Can you hear one?

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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