The Choirmaster's Manual/Chapter 5


CHAPTER V


BLENDING THE REGISTERS


In Chapter III the head-tones were attacked and brought down the scale; on this principle all the registers are blended, and the voice made even.

Below are the various ideas held by some leading choirmasters as to the "division-notes" or boundaries of the various registers in the boy's voice:

\score {\relative c' { \time 11/1
               \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f
               \override Score.BarNumber #'break-visibility = #'#(#f #f #f)
  c1^\(_(^\markup \right-align { "Sir G." \caps "Martin" }
    _\markup \right-align { "Dr. V." \caps "Roberts" }
  d e^"Chest"_"Chest" f g a) b_( c_"Head" d\) e^\(^"Head" f)\) \bar ".." \break
  c,_"Chest"^\markup \right-align {\caps "Randegger" }	
    _\markup \halign #5 { "Dr." \caps "Huntley" }
  d e^\(_(_\( f^"Medium"_"lower" g)_"Medium" a_( b_"upper" c\))\) d^(_\(^"Head"_"Head" e f)\) \bar ".." }
\layout { indent = #0 }
\midi { }
}
\header { tagline = ##f }


The registers in a boy's voice are chest, medium (upper and lower), and head. In the first example the word chest is used for medium tones; as before mentioned, the real chest-tone below E
\relative e' { \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f e1*1/2 }
has no place in a boy's voice. The best results are gained by a trifling variation of these, with a leaning towards Randegger's and Dr. Huntley's; in fact, if the medium register is carried down over E (first line) to C (middle line)
\relative e' { \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \time 4/1 e1 s_\markup \right-align "to" c }
, and the use of chest-voice abandoned altogether, we obtain an ideal voice. The chest-voice can, of course, always be used for certain effects, but is better left out altogether. Therefore, we get the following scale:
\relative c' { \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \time 14/1 c1^\(_( d e_"lower" f g)^"Medium" a(_"upper" b c\)) \override NoteHead.style = #'harmonic d_\( e_"Head" f g\) }


(Lower Medium Resonance felt in highest part of back of mouth, on hard palate. Upper Medium felt on top of mouth, well forward. Head Resonance felt at the highest part of back of head.)

Voices trained on this plan blend much better with women's voices, and don't stand out, but add brilliancy only.

Contraltos (or altos) use "chest" and "medium" registers only. The chest-note resonance is felt in the lower or upper chest, the change

occurring on Middle C for altos or contraltos only.
\relative g { \time 5/1 \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f g1 a b c d \bar ".." }

The principal break in the voice is between "upper medium" and "head," occurring on D; the break is very seldom noticed between lower and upper medium.

Exercise 9.

Take any head-note and train downward over the "break."
\relative g'' { \time 4/2 \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \override NoteHead.style = #'harmonic g2_(\p f e d | c\breve) \bar ".." }
\addlyrics { la __ }

When the lower note can be taken with the same resonance as the upper, the scale-passage from lower note upward may be attempted, always singing piano.

Exercise 10.

Right up the scale
\relative c' { \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \time 6/2 c2 e g( e c1) \bar ".." }
\addlyrics { la la la __ }
Get into head-register sooner than is necessary; for instance, in the following take top C in head and bring down, as described in Ex. 9.
\relative f' { \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \time 5/2 f2 a \override NoteHead.style = #'harmonic c^( a \revert NoteHead.style f) \bar ".." }
\addlyrics { la la la __ }

Exercise 11.

\relative c' { \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \time 3/2 c2 c'( c,) d \override NoteHead.style = #'harmonic d'( \revert NoteHead.style d,) \bar ".." }
\addlyrics { la la __ la la __ }
"Attack" first two notes, and after holding the upper octave a few seconds, glide to lower octave, striking note very softly, bringing upper register down. The soft ending is the test in this exercise. This exercise also prevents "scooping" in the first place, and teaches the use of high register on low notes.

Exercise 12.

\relative d'' { \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \time 4/2 \partial 2 \override NoteHead.style = #'harmonic d2( | f ees \revert NoteHead.style bes g) | f( g a bes) }
\addlyrics { la __ la __ }


Start in head-voice, sing very softly. In so doing, the voice will unconsciously get into the medium register, which is what is required.

Wrong head-tone production is combined with a loss of all facial expression, a fixed chin, and a stony eye.