An awesome video of Enrico Caruso singing “Santa Lucia.” Sheet music is available here.

Then of course, there’s tenor Mario Lanza.

And for fun, there’s Elvis Presley.

Paul_GeorgeMartin_MainNewsI’m so sad to hear the news of the passing of dear George Martin. I have so many wonderful memories of this great man that will be with me forever. He was a true gentleman and like a second father to me. He guided the career of The Beatles with such skill and good humour that he became a true friend to me and my family. If anyone earned the title of the fifth Beatle it was George. From the day that he gave The Beatles our first recording contract, to the last time I saw him, he was the most generous, intelligent and musical person I’ve ever had the pleasure to know.

It’s hard to choose favourite memories of my time with George, there are so many but one that comes to mind was the time I brought the song ‘Yesterday’ to a recording session and the guys in the band suggested that I sang it solo and accompany myself on guitar. After I had done this George Martin said to me, “Paul I have an idea of putting a string quartet on the record”. I said, “Oh no George, we are a rock and roll band and I don’t think it’s a good idea”.  With the gentle bedside manner of a great producer he said to me, “Let us try it and if it doesn’t work we won’t use it and we’ll go with your solo version”.  I agreed to this and went round to his house the next day to work on the arrangement.

Read More: Paul McCartney on George Martin

“Nel cor più non mi sento” is another standard from the beginning singer’s 24 Italian Songs and Arias. It was composed by Giovanni Paisiello (1740-1816) for his opera La Molinara (1788). Paisiello is also known for his opera, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, which later was eclipsed by Rossini’s version.

Below is tenor Luciano Pavarotti singing “Nel cor più non mi sento” in October of 1989 with Leone Magiera on piano.

This version is sung by Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky in a performance in Moscow in 1991.

For sheet music (key of F) see also Art Song Central.

I recently came across this video on a social media site and thought it was worth sharing here. Fascinating use of the voice.

“Caro mio ben” is a standard from the beginning singer’s 24 Italian Songs and Arias. It is attributed to Giuseppe Giordani (1744-1798). Here is mezzo Cecilia Bartoli singing her rendition in June 1998 with Jean Yves Thibaudet on piano.

This version is by tenor Luciano Pavarotti from a 1978 recital with John Wustman accompanying.

Mutopia has a link to a .pdf file of the sheet music for “Caro mio ben” in the key of D as well as a midi file.

See also Art Song Central.

Richard Miller’s The Structure of Singing: System and Art in Vocal Technique (Wadsworth, 2001) is quite simply the best book about the process of singing on the market today.

In it he stresses the importance of knowing the details of a number of techniques of singing and compares vocal pedagogy to “a smorgasbord, from which one can sample foods both rich and simple; [but] not everything that can be ingested is equally nutritious.”

Miller acknowledges that studying with many famous teachers, attending numerous of their master classes or symposiums, and reading the latest “complete” vocal method may be beneficial. But he adds that “there comes a time when the singer or teacher of singing must stop shopping around and make a choice.” The right choice can only be made if “one is aware of what produces free vocal function.”

Certain sounds may be exciting to the listener but harmful to the singer. Miller continues the food analogy by saying if vocal sounds “are not based on reliable functional principles, they will make the voice sick, just as a continual diet of desserts will adversely affect the constitution.”

The following books by Miller are also excellent: On the Art of Singing, Training Tenor Voices, Training Soprano Voices, and Solutions for Singers.

The following is an amazing video I came across on YouTube a while ago. It shows Adam Lopez singing a high note that is a half step higher than the highest note on a piano.

SOURCE: “Adam Lopez – Highest Vocal Note,” (Retrieved 10 Feb 2016).

Sergius Kagen (1909-1964) was a member of the faculty of the Juilliard School of Music and had this to say regarding the studying of singing:

In my experience, I have become aware of the fact that too many young people who hope to become professional singers believe too much in and expect too much from the processes of study. . . . [Study] cannot be expected to endow the student with faculties he may not possess by nature.

SOURCE: Sergius Kagen, On Studying Singing (NY: Dover Publications, 1960), p. 4.

Bernadette Peters in '08

Bernadette Peters has long been one of my favorite Broadway singers. In 1985 during the Broadway run of Song and Dance, she had the following to say about the singing voice:

”It’s like a muscle,” says Miss Peters, suddenly sounding like an athlete. ”You have to keep it in shape. Singing lessons are like body building for your larynx.”

How true.

SOURCE: Dena Kleiman, “Bernadette Peters Trains Voice Like a Muscle,” New York Times (20 September 1985) C3.

“The feeling that your tone is free, borne on its own wings of energy, is one of the greatest delights of life–because you are its creator.”

SOURCE: William Earl Brown, Vocal Wisdom: Maxims of Giovanni Battista Lamperti (1931). Enlarged ed. by Lillian Strongin. (New York: Taplinger, 1957), p. 33.