Heinrich Panofka: general considerations III
Third 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 maestro Heinrich Panofka.
Of the physical defects.
There are physical defects which are totally opposed to the development of the voice; and they are: total or partial deafness, defective conformation of the nose, weakness of the lungs and chronic conditions of the larynx. These organs themselves, with the exception of the larynx, may be affected by vices that are not rebellious to a cure. This can be, for example, an obstruction in the Eustachian tube, and in this case air injections through the nose organ are often enough to get rid of this condition. A nose that is too closed or a constant obstruction of the mucous membranes present a great deal of difficulty but should not prevent the study, at least when the voice is vigorous. It’s up to the singer to take advantage even of this flaw. The baritone Barroilhet was in this case. Breathing can be short, as long as the lungs are healthy; and on this particular case, phonic gymnastics can give very healthy results. As for the larynx, it is essential that it be fully healthy, because this is the true seat of the voice.
The shape of the mouth, the teeth and the tongue are equally important for the good emission of the voice. A very small or very large mouth, teeth that are too far apart or too long, a tongue that is too dense at the root or in its entirety, or too long, can significantly change the homogeneity and intensity of the voice.
Text excerpted and translated from Voci e cantanti, Ventotto capitoli di considerazioni generali sulla voce e sull’arte del canto, Enrico Panofka, Florence, 1871.