• The Application of Bel Canto Principles to Violin Performance

      Abramovic, Charles; Schmieder, Eduard, 1948-; Brodhead, Richard, 1947-; Anderson, Christine L. (Temple University. Libraries, 2012)
      Bel canto is "the best in singing of all time." Authors on vocal literature (Miller, Celletti, Duey, Reid, Dmitriev, Stark, Whitlock among others) agree that bel canto singing requires complete mastery of vocal technique. The "best in singing" means that the singer should possess immaculate cantilena, smooth legato, a beautiful singing tone that exhibits a full palette of colors, and evenness of tone throughout the entire vocal range. Furthermore, the singer should be able to "carry the tone" expressively from one note to another, maintain long lasting breath, flexibility, and brilliant virtuosity. Without these elements, the singer's mastery is not complete. In addition, proper mastery of bel canto technique prolongs the longevity of the voice. For centuries, --emulating beautiful singing has been a model for violin performers. Since the late Renaissance and early Baroque periods, a trend toward homophonic style, melodious songs, and arias had a tremendous influence on pre-violin and violin performers, and even on luthiers. The earliest known four-stringed violins created by Andrea Amati, and Gasparo da Saló in the sixteenth century already possessed a tone that resembled the qualities of a human voice. Today, it has become more difficult to differentiate the tone of one violinist from another. The individual quality of the singing tone, which was the hallmark in violin playing of the golden age of Ysaye, Kreisler, Heifetz, Menuhin, Oistrakh etc. has deteriorated. The purpose of this monograph is to analyze the fundamental principles of bel canto and to apply these principles to violin performance. Teachers, students, and performers will find practical ideas to improve or solve various aspects of violin playing. I will focus primarily on tone production and tone formation (breathing, resonance, vibrato etc.), tonal shading (messa di voce), and range (blending positions). Through understanding the bel canto principles of singing and applying those principles to violin performance, one would have more means to give the tone its distinctive qualities.