"Often, the most precarious part of a mounting, sustained line is found not in approaching the climactic notes, but in descending from them. Breath energy has been expended improperly on the dramatic "high" note, with nothing left in reserve." - The Structure of Singing by Richard Miller
i've been reading my vocal class text book from college. i pace around the kitchen making weird sounds as my husband watches sports on the couch with my boys, laughing as i try vocal exercises - weighing their value and my understanding of the technique required to perform them properly. i often have to read and re-read whole sections before i understand them - it's a slow, plodding read, but i do find i'm re-learning a ton, and i am enjoying it.
i came to the quote above last night and i read it a couple of times before highlighting it in sunshine yellow. i want to remember that. Sometimes beauty is in the ability to hold on after the dramatic high - to remain constant and supported during the re-descending. i felt like that passage uniquely captures a tiny piece of mothering in these strange in between years - where i have adult children and a three year old. And of course, i would be a fool to assume that it's possible to hold anything in reserve from those years of sleep deprivation and baby making and the laundry and food and constant, perpetual action... but as the author describes the skills that need mastering in order to avoid cumulative strain and fatigue - as he explains that when we lack the ability to make rapid adjustments freely - the vocal instrument is sure to tire - it hits home. As the melodic phrase of my child bearing years has come to it's height and begins it's descent, i want to be faithfully sustaining the passage that follows as well as i live my life in sostenuto.
"The ultimate test of technical ability lies in sustained singing. Energy and power are frequently required, but these attributes of the good singer must be balance by freedom."- The Structure of Singing by Richard Miller