Heinrich Panofka: general considerations II

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Second chapter of the book Voices and singers, twenty-eight chapters of general considerations on the voice and the art of singing, published in 1866 by the eminent teacher Heinrich Panofka.


Chapter II
Of altered or tired voices.

Most of the voices of the voices entrusted to serious teachers have already gone through numerous alterations. We will divide sick voices in two categories: 1º Altered voices; 2º Tired voices.

With altered voices we refer to those whose true character hasn’t been known, either by the singer himself or by the professor that directs his vocal education; and we can state that most of the voices, mainly of theatre singers, can be counted in this category.

It is of human nature to desire what we don’t possess: thus Mezzo-sopranos want to be either Sopranos or contraltos; contraltos want to be mezzo-sopranos, baritones want to be tenors, and bassos want to be baritones.

If in one case or the other, that is, if the singer himself wants to change the nature of his voice or if the inexperienced professor hasn’t known its true character, in both cases, let us say, the vocal organ gets displaced and, consequently, it is altered in its true character.

Tired voices are those that were subjected to studies that were too persistent, too forced, too exaggerated, despite having been treated according to their true character.


Text excerpted and translated from Voci e cantanti, Ventotto capitoli di considerazioni generali sulla voce e sull’arte del canto, Enrico Panofka, Florence, 1871.