Instructions for teachers

Vaccaj himself is said to have chosen each poem with the greatest care and inspiration. Thus, a teacher working with this method must have the lyrics on a par with the melody and vocal technique, despite the fact that Metodo pratico is primarily a voice method.

To do justice to the poet Metastasio, the following ideas should be taken into consideration:

  • The starting point for the work with poems could be Girolamo Crescentini's idea of singing as an imitation of speech.
  • It is also useful to remember Isaac Nathan's idea that what in reading sounds ugly and awkward will sound doubly as ugly and awkward in singing.
  • Marcello Perrino, for his part, thinks that no singer should ever sing without first having read the lyrics carefully understanding their meaning thoroughly. Without this background work, singers will not be able to pronounce the lyrics properly and their voices will lose their power of expression.

So, a singer needs to spend time practicing pronunciation and working on reading comprehension. One way of practicing is reading the lyrics in different styles.

Interesting ways of working with the songs

Slow "Japanese" reading

Each syllable is equally stressed and separated by a pause. This way the voice can rest on and hopefully control vowels better.

Soft whisper / inaudible articulation

When implemented properly, an excellent way of practicing consonant sounds.

"Finnish" word stresses

All the words are stressed on the first syllable.

"French" word stresses

All the words are stressed on the last syllable. This helps the singer to notice similarities between French and Italian.

"Singing" legato

Ask the students to read first by lines and then by stanzas. Tell them to imagine they are on a large stage acting pompous and overdramatic. It is an educational way of discovering the borderlines between speech and singing. The students should support their speaking voices in the same way as they do with their singing voices.

Legato reading to the rhythm of Vaccaj

Instruct the students to read the lyrics to the music with piano accompaniment.

Reading in a normal speaking voice

Read the lyrics paying attention to the stressed syllables. This was probably important to Metastasio.