Use your own brain. Do not depend on your teacher.

Dame Nellie Melba – Melba Method, 1926

‘In order to do justice to the piece which he is about to perform, the player must first acquaint himself with the conditions under which it originated. For a work by Bach or Tartini demands a different style of delivery from one by Mendelssohn or Spohr. The space of a century that divides the two first mentioned from the last two means in the historical development of our art not only a great difference in regard to form, but even a greater with respect to musical expression.’

Joseph Joachim’s Violinschule cited on page 1 of The Historical Performance of Music by Lawson/Stowell.


Albani, Emma. Forty Years of Song. 1911.

Aprile, Guiseppe. The Modern Italian Method of Singing, with a Variety of Progressive Examples, and Thirty Six Solfeggi.

Barber, Sarah, Peniston-Bird, Corinna M. Approaching Historical Sources in their Contexts: Space, Time and Performance, Routledge, 2020.

Baker, Janet. Full Circle. The celebrated diary of her last year on the operatic stage.

Clippinger, D.A. The Head Voice and Other Problems, Practical Talks on Singing.

Cooke, James. GREAT SINGERS ON THE ART OF SINGING (Illustrated and Annotated): A Series of Personal Study Talks With The Most Renowned Opera Concert and Oratorio Singers Of The Time. Kindle.

Domingo, Placido. My first forty years.

Donington, Robert. The Interpretation of Early Music. Faber and Faber.


Fingleton, David. Kiri Te Kanawa: A biography

Garcia, Manuel. The Art of Singing. IMSLP.

Garcia, Manuel. 1970. Hints on Singing. Canoga Park, Calif.,: Summit Pub. Co.

Garcia, Manuel, Daniel James Shigo, and Hermann Klein. 2013. Hidden in Plain Sight : The Hermann Klein Phono-Vocal Method Based Upon the Famous School of Manuel Garcia. New York, NY: VoiceTalkPublications.

Guttmann, Oskar. Gymnastics of the Voice. A System of Correct Breathing in Singing and Speaking, Based Upon Physiological Laws, Etc. [Translated from the German.].

Jeffery, Brian. Fernando Sor Composer and Guitarist, Tecla, 3rd edition.

Jenkins, Garry. Kiri: Her Unsung Story.

Klein, Hermann, and William R. Moran. 1990. Herman Klein and the Gramophone : Being a Series of Essays on the Bel Canto (1923), the Gramophone and the Singer (1924-1934), and Reviews of New Classical Vocal Recordings (1925-1934), and Other Writings from the Gramophone. Portland, Or.: Amadeus Press.

Klein, Hermann. Thirty Years of Musical Life in London, 1870-1900. Kindle.

Klein, Hermann. Unmusical New York : a brief criticism of triumphs, failures & abuses. Kindle.

Lamperti, Francesco, and J. C. Griffith. 1951. The Art of Singing. Revised Edition with Translation by J. C. Griffith. New York: G. Schirmer ; London : Chappell & Co ; London printed.

Larsen, Robert L. Arias for Mezzo-Soprano – Complete Package: with Diction Coach and Accompaniment Audio Online G. Schirmer Opera Anthology.

Lawson, Collin. Stowell, Robin. The Historical Performance of Music.

Lehmann, Lilli. Lilli Lehmann Collection, 1865-1927 (Bulk 1900-1927).

—. 1914. My Path through Life. [S.l.]: G. P. Butnam’s Sons.

Lehmann, Lilli, and Richard Aldrich. 1914. How to Sing. New and rev. ed. New York,: The Macmillan company.

Lehmann, Lilli author. How to Sing.

Liebling, Estelle. Coloratura Cadenzas: Voice and Piano.

Lutgen Vocalises.

Mancini, Giovanni Battista, and Pietro Buzzi. Practical Reflections on the Figurative Art of Singing … Translated by Pietro Buzzi.

Mane\n, Lucie. 1974. The Art of Singing. A Manual. London: Faber Music.

Marchesi, Mathilde. Bel Canto: A Theoretical and Practical Vocal Method (Dover Books on Music).

Manen, Lucie. Bel Canto: The Teaching of the Classical Italian Song-Schools, Its Decline and Restoration.

Melba, Nellie Dame. 1926a. Melba Method … Part One. Breathing and Other Exercises, Examples, and My Daily Exercises. Part Two. Vocalises: London: Chappell & Co.

—. 1926b. Melba Method … Part One. Breathing and Other Exercises, Examples, and My Daily Exercises. Part Two. Vocalises: London: Chappell & Co.

Memoirs of madame Malibran, by the countess de Merlin and other friends…by Maria de las Mercedes Merlin, Marie Felicite Malibran, published 1840.

Nicola Porpora. 25 Vocalizzi.

O’Brien, Grace. The Golden Age of Italian Music. Jarrolds Publisher.

Osborne, Charles. Verdi.

Pilotti, Katarina. On my re-training to Chiaroscuro. Master’s Thesis at the Academy of Music, Orebro University, Sweden 2009.

Plantinga, Leon. Romantic Music. Norton.

Pleasants, Henry. The Great Singers: From the dawn of opera to our own time.

Rene, Anna Eugenie Schoen. America’s Musical Inheritance – Memories
And Reminiscences. Internet Archive.

Salaman, Esther. 1999. Unlocking Your Voice : Freedom to Sing. 2nd ed. ed. London: Kahn & Averill.

Salazar. Music in our time. Norton.

Santley, Charles Sir. 1908. The Art of Singing and Vocal Declamation. [S.l.]: Macmillan.

—. 1909. Reminiscences of My Life. [S.l.]: Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons Ltd.

Shakespeare, William. The Art of Singing. 1910.

Sherman, Bernard. Inside early music. Conversations with performers. Oxford University Press.

Simpson, Adrienne. Capital Opera.

Simpson, Adrienne. Opera’s Farthest Frontier – a History of Professional Opera in New Zealand (1996)

Simpson, Adrienne. Southern Voices: International Opera Singers of New Zealand (with Peter Downes). 1992.  

Spongberg, Ernest Albert. The Life of Jenny Lind. 1920.

Stark, James A. 1999. Bel Canto : A History of Vocal Pedagogy. Toronto ; London: University of Toronto Press.

Striny, Denes. 2011. Great Singers : An Endangered Species : How to Get Back to Mother Nature. Lanham, Md.: Hamilton Books.

Te Kanawa, Kiri. Opera for Lovers.

Tetrazzini, Luisa, and Enrico Caruso. 1975. Caruso and Tetrazzini on the Art of Singing. New York: Dover Publications.

Ulrich & Pisk. A History of Music and Musical Style. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.

Vaccai, Niccolo. Vaccai Practical Method. Allans Publishing.

Viardot, Pauline. An hour of Study.

Williams, Beth Mary, Lineages of Vocal Pedagogy in Australia, 1850 – 1950, Volumes One and Two. A dissertation submitted in total fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

Zahavi, Dan. Phenomenology, The Basics. Routledge, 2019.


Daniel Shigo’s website is a taonga (Māori for treasure). It is a continual source of inspiration for me. Mr Shigo also has a You Tube page where he has uploaded the Phono Vocal Method recordings of Herman Klein. Listening to one a week is a great way to condition the ears to the lighter and brighter sound.

Donizetti Society can be found at

UCSB Library Cylinder Audio Archive is a wonderful place to condition one’s ears to the lighter and brighter singing sound of the turn of the 20th Century:

Further Listening on Spotify

The following playlists are curated playlists. The purpose is to provide examples of fine technique. The playlists are continually evolving. Occasionally, there are some radical examples. For example, breathy singing, straight tones. Radical examples are included for discussion rather than as an example of the Old Italian Method of Bel Canto.

Coloratura Arias for Soprano
Volume One for Soprano
Volume Two for Soprano
Arias for Mezzo Soprano

Curated Spotify Playlists based on the Schirmer arias for Tenor, Baritone and Bass to follow.

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