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Not all genres of music are accessible to everyone but some are especially difficult for modern listeners to appreciate. Some even argue, that any genre not supported by rhythm and bass, is in danger of becoming extinct. One of the best examples of this, is opera. Many young people today not only ignore the genre, but in many cases, outright detest it. The wailing sopranos, the foreign language, the strange costumes, and their classical compositions all seem to alienate modern 21st-century sensitivities.
But think about it. Most of the genres we listen today are relatively new and haven’t had time to mature. But with opera, this fascinating genre of music has been around for hundreds of years. And during this time, something incredible happened. Because there were no microphones, a vocal technique emerged which allowed the fragile human voice to project sound over the orchestra and into auditorium seating thousands of listeners—and without causing and damage to the vocal folds.
If we’re talking about the Olympics of vocal performance, opera is where the human voice has been tested and tried for centuries. To be honest, most people today don’t know what vocal technique is, nor how to tell if someone is properly singing or not.
We will cover this in a future episode in greater detail, but just like there are optimal techniques for the way we run, or swim, or surf, or dance, or jump, there are vocal techniques which allow the human voice to perform optimally. When you ignore certain principles, your voice sounds constrained, your range is limited, and eventually you will damage your voice.
Opera deserves respect as the standard-bearer of vocal performance. These techniques are universal and could be applied in any genre. While singing is at the center of operatic performances, there is much more going on than just singing.
To help us dive deeper into this subject, joining me today is Aaron Breid. Aaron and I studied together during our undergrad years, and he is now an opera Maestro and director.