Thursday, November 10, 2005

Singing Rehearsals

Singing is a muscular activity and muscles tire. You do not run a marathon right before running a marathon. A certain amount of full out singing is good for the voice but the body and the voice need rest between vigorous singing sessions. High notes take much more support and muscular energy than the middle and lower voice. This is one reason singers mark by singing high notes down an octave. My experience is that very few singers mark by singing high notes piano, although this is simpler than jumping back and forth between octaves. The voice is a precious resource and should not be wasted. When learning music it is very desirable to sing softly. When preparing to perform short roles or those that do not involve a high tessitura, some singers may choose to sing full out all the time. Even as a choral singer, I will mime when phrases are repeated over and over and I know that I have got it right. On several occasions our symphony chorus has had to sing a rehearsal the same day as a performance. We did this once for Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Although the chroral part in this piece is short, the tessitura for tenors is very high and tense. There are a number of sustained phrases on G and A natural. In that situation I will pace myself in order to be in good voice for the audience. In a video, Domingo is shown rehearsing and then he comments, "You know, I also have to sing the performance."Jake Drake

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