Lesson 30 – The Perfect Voice

PERFECT BREATHING – (concluded)

THE BREATH, THE BEAT, THE SOUND

A great many teacher and most people who have studied something about breathing, confound breath-TAKING movements with breath-EXPELLING efforts. Advice for the former is often applied for the latter; it being implied that the chest or abdomen should be held firmly in the position given them by inspiratory effort.

Far from this, the rule is an exactly and positively opposite one you must relax all inspiratory muscles at the instant that breath is expelled and voice begins.

The notion that there is a contest between the two sets of muscles is a foolish one. Indeed, the downward and inward fall, or collapse of the expanded thorax, is but slight after proper breath-taking; this even assists in starting the tone. That the collapse can give no unpleasant shock, even in mild delivery, may be proved by filling the chest full of breath and singing “ah” at the instant of collapse. It will be found that a positive and voluntary expiratory effort must be added to secure quality and adequate power.
The inspiratory or breath-taking effort must be separated from the expiratory or breath-expelling efforts. They must be practiced till the one can be followed by the other in quick succession.

EXPIRATION

THE ABDOMINAL MUSCLES

The expiration of the chest expanding muscles as taught in the last lesson and INVOLUNTARY effort of expiration. To it must be added a VOLUNTARY effort for the powerful tones demanded in public speaking or singing. The voluntary effort must be made by the abdominal muscles alone, and by no others.

The purpose of the abdominal muscle is simple, because its principal object is to narrow the abdominal cavity. But several of these muscles also assist in the movement of the body downward or sidewise, and especially in the efforts of strong expiration.

The muscles of the abdomen run in three different directions; downward, across, and slanting. They support the viscera, or contents of the body, and they can act upon this in a steady compressing effort. See Figs. 153, 154, 155. The viscera is enclosed by these abdominal muscles in front and on the sides, and by the diaphragm above.

When the abdominal muscles contract, they push the viscera backward toward the spine and upward against the diaphragm; in this wise the diaphragm is being pushed upward against the lungs and assists to expel breath. But if the diaphragm were held tight, then the viscera could not push it upward and would itself become strained, because it would then have too little room to spread. Such straining, it is claimed, is the cause of many internal diseases. Weak and relaxed abdominal muscles are also a great disease contributing agent. If the abdominal muscles are weak, they cannot hold the viscera in place, in consequence of which the abdominal contents hang downward For these reasons, aside from the beneficial results in the voluntary breathing effort, the exercises which follow these examinations will contribute to a better condition of health, especially for older people.

In Fig 148. The “Complete Breathing Apparatus,”

PrintFromVintageThePerfectVoiceFig148

only one of the principal abdominal muscles could be given – the obliquus externus – but the student can easily picture for himself how the other muscles are situated, especially with the help of the Figs. 153 and 154.

The above-mentioned obliquus EXTERNUS starts on each side of the abdomen from out of the last eight ribs and runs to the hip bone below. See Fig. 153.

PrintFromVintageThePerfectVoiceFig153

In contraction it will draw its curve to a straight line, pushing inward against the diaphragm; at the same time it will help to narrow the lower chest and thus assist in compressing the lungs to expel breath.

The obliquus INTERNUS lies below the obliquus externus. Its fibers cross that muscle and extend in a fan-shaped into the last three ribs, pulling these downward and somewhat inward. See Fig. 154.

PrintFromVintageThePerfectVoiceFig154

The transversalis abdominis extends straight across the abdomen, not slanting as do the two preceding muscles. It is the deepest of all the abdominal muscles. It is attached to the six last ribs in front, to some of the vertebraes in the back and to the hip bone below. This muscle will draw the whole front of the abdomen inward, thereby pushing upward against the diaphragm, and inward and downward against the ribs to which it is attached. See Fig. 155.

There are several minor muscles, which assist in the abdominal and rib movement, but those given are the principal agents which need to be known, as the control of these muscles will necessarily involve the minor muscles also.

GENERAL SUMMARY

Inspiration for ordinary conversation requires only a slight expansion of the lungs, and the diaphragm contracts very little and gently.

Inspiration for public speaking or public singing, concert or opera, requires an extensive expansion of the lungs and ribs.

Expiration for ordinary purposes is so slight that it needs no special attention.

Expiration for public use requires an extensive rib, diaphragm, and abdominal movement, to compress the lungs sufficiently to set the enlarged and tense vocal chords into vibration without any seeming effort; that is, the entire effort must become automatic.

HIPS, LEGS, ETC.

As a further illustration of the interdependence of the muscles of the different parts of the body to one another, the student is requested to examine Fig. 148, Nos 9 and 10 , of Perfect Breath Apparatus, which are some of the muscles connecting the hips with the legs. From the legs there are other chains of muscles to the knee, from there to the foot, and then se to the toes. All these muscles connect in some form with one another, so that if one muscle is inured, that injury communicates itself to some extent all through the chain of muscles of which the injured muscle is a member.

From the head above to the feel below, in front, back, and the sides of the body, run continuous chains of muscles which must work in unison to produce that harmonious working of the body, which is so graceful, so strong, and so beautiful, illustrating in our body the laws of God, viz.: Order – Nature, Harmony – Love, Expression – the Word (Voice).

In “The Perfect Voice” and now in “Perfect Breathing” two systems have been proven and taught, which will enable one to be in perfect harmony with Nature, on these subjects at least.

EXERCISES FOR LESSON 30

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