Heinrich Panofka: general considerations IV

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Fourth 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.


Chapter IV
Of the bad habits that contribute to vocal fatigue.

These are:

  1. Breathing too often for phrases that can be sung entirely with a single fiato;
  2. The rumor that is present in breathing; and the tendency to raise the nose and to clear the throat;
  3. To grimace with the mouth;
  4. The movements of the eyes lifted to the sky for whatever purpose;
  5. The habit, especially typical of tenors, of standing on tiptoes to vibrate high notes; as if the voice were on the heels; though it may also be the case, since there are teachers who pretend that the voice is in the belly. Certain dramatic singers make use of the same thing, believing that they give more strength to the voice, while the effect is totally the opposite;
  6. The fixation of certain students with leaning, during the lesson, on the piano or on any other piece of furniture, or against the wall, or even on a chair with one knee bent, to give themselves a dignified air.

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