Brilliant vocal exercise from tenor Mario del Monaco

May 18, 2020

 I have requested a translation from a professional native Italian translator, who did a thorough work. Despite the audio recording not being very clear, I trust translator did a fantastic job and information which you will find out here will greatly benefit you. Maestro del Monaco gives a very detailed description of  the vocal exercise which gave him opportunity to expand his vocal range and enrich sound, especially high register of his voice with power and ringing sound. This exercise also kept voice in a good shape during many years of career. Main concept is based not on forcing of the voice, but  on bringing out the singing voice on the whole vocal range with  “altezza del suono” ( literally, height of the voice).  Whether you sing low notes or high notes or you sing in the middle range, the voice is remaining in the same position. 

I very much hope that you will enjoy this article. For more information on vocal technique read my previous blogs.

Mario del Monaco (A)  advice on vocal technique

Transcript of the dialogue[chattering]0.08 – A – Technically speaking your voice is okay but you know have to find the “altezza del suono”. You have to make some vocalizations with “e” or vowels with high frequencies like “i” or “e” but there is a difference between these two vowels: the “e” will flatten the back of your tongue so it gives more resonance to the sound, on the other hand, the vowel “i” is a bit tricky since you have to raise the (tip) of the tongue.
0.42 – B – Ok I have understood.
0.42 – A – You have to use the “i” up to a G flat because it has a similar effect of the vowel “u” …
After so many months with the “u” I will suggest you to start vocalizing with “e” trying to almost avoid the first octave.
1.07 – A – [vocalizing] try to stress out/pratice just the higher notes.
1.15 – A – Try to make a C major chords [vocalizing]. You should try to use the lips as a trampoline [vocalizing]. Then you increase halftone so C sharp. Then {natural} D until {natural} A, E flat, B flat, then {natural} E and {natural} B, so you will see that after a while also the C will come spontaneous.
1.54 – A – [vocalizing] You have to think about your nose; not because of a nasal voice but because thinking of your nose your voice will go higher {I think in pitch is implied}. Even if you produce a nasal sound it is not important as long as it helps you to reach high frequencies.
2.20 – A – If you go for “u” or “o” those are vowels that can produce round sound but they created some issues while reaching higher frequencies. After few months of “e” you can start practicing with “o” [vocalizing] this is like an “o” is not an “e” [vocalizing].
2.44 – A – This is what you have to practice with for a few months. Keep in mind that if you study for a few months with Melocchi’s system but when you sing and you want to {literally translation is to resist…I think he means to produce a long continue sound} you have to forget everything about this method and do the very opposite.
3.01 – B – I have understood.
3.02 – A – That method {Mellochi’s} is just useful to create quantity but you will not have resitance
3.08 – B – Is this sufficient? Since I have not such a powerful voice…
3.10 – A – It is more than sufficient
3.14 – A – You are a good lyrical tenor
3.18 – B – I do not feel so good…
3.20 – A – Clear your ears then. If I tell you are a tenor for Sansone (da Norma) is because you have a voice similar to mine.
3.34 – A – Do not sell yourself short
3.50 – A – If I could have six months of free time I will take it and I am sure I will get brilliant results…but I have no time. I have time just to guide my voice since I have to work on it a lot because to be a lyrical tenor my voice is already too much. I’ll pay to reduce it of a third
4.24 – 4.30 {complimets and random chattering}
4.30 – A – Let’s notice that a big voice is not an advantage…big voices big troubles, small voices small troubles so you do not have to find more than what you have
4.43 – A – You are 32yo, at your age, I was singing Traviata, Boheme….and you also have to know that while getting old the vocal cord’s epithelium grows thicker due to a natural process. It gets thicker even if you do not make anymore those exercises {the ones discussed before}
5.09 – A – Then at 40 yo you have to sing like a baritone and your voice will break off on A.
5.16 – A – I got nothing from nature and I was singing in this position completely rigid.
5.34 – A – You have to play with this and this {I think he means two different positions}. Perigini {I do not understand the exact name} was used to tell me: “When I feel my voice getting harder {to sing} I sing few lines of Pagliacci [vocalizing]” But if you sing everyday like this you will never reach high frequencies.
5.59 – 6.15 [inchomprehensible chattering about Carmen. It is not related to music though].
6.20 – A – Do you feel good with the first act {of Carmen}? I am totally okay with that.
6.30 – A – The pitch can trick you…It seems that I have a big voice but actually it is not. It just has many frequencies.
From here to the and A is just explaining that what he said is a sum of the advices he received from his instructors when he was studying.

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