After a general overview of vocal technique, the chapters address the physiological, psychological, pedagogical, acoustic, and interpretive issues facing the solo singer in the choral setting. Concepts, such as phonation; resonation and timbre; approaches to diction; voice classification; choral blend; interpreting emotion; relationships among choral conductor, singer, and teacher of singing; and the use of vibrato are examined in detail. Concluding with a conversation with two choral conductors, as well as a glossary, bibliography, and index, this volume is beneficial to singers, teachers, and conductors alike.
The updated edition includes more detailed illustrations and an expansion of the appendix on vocal misuse and abuse, including data on subglottic air pressure/air flow ratios, the phonatory mode known as belting, and the aging voice, especially as it is affected by hormonal changes in the body. With extensive bibliography.
For this edition, all chapters have been revised and updated, with particular attention to the Accent Method of breathing as a highly effective remedial and training technique appropriate for all singers and students; new research on use of the transverse abdominis muscles in vocal support strategies; a complete revision and updating of the case studies; a new description of the ultimate tongue release exercise; and the addition of the puffy cheeks exercise.
Although well grounded in science, Bauer’s book does not linger in scientific terminology, but rather focuses on an action-based pedagogical approach that speaks to the kinesthetic nature of singing. The skillful use of the body as a musical instrument is the source of fine singing and only through heightened kinesthetic awareness can vocal skills be achieved and refined.
Fact-based explanations of kinesthetic singing processes are remarkably clear and replace vague notions about good breath management, rich resonance, and clear enunciation. Guided exercises inform both the body and the mind as a kinesthetic unit. The Essentials of Beautiful Singing has received praise in the Journal of Singing, Choice Reviews for Academic Music Libraries, and the International Choral Bulletin, among others. Its practical perspective reflects the efforts and goals of singer, voice teacher, and choral director. Paired with a science focused text in a voice pedagogy class, it provides a needed balance between science and singing.
Because the structures and movements inherent in the vocal instrument are the same for every singer, they apply equally to every kind of singing. Differences in style result from differences in the choice of movement. Understanding and mapping the structures and movements used in singing provides the technical foundation for all singers. The purpose of this book is to provide singers with that foundation. This book does not espouse a single method or attempt to teach singing techniques. Rather, it describes the movements of singing with accuracy and detail so that singers may experiment on their own and communicate with each other more effectively. This has never been done before and it is a substantial contribution to music education in general and the education of singers in particular.
For the second edition, the authors have greatly updated and expanded the content throughout the volume, reflecting the latest research on and knowledge.