EXERCISES FOR LESSON 30
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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.
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,”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
COMPLETE RELAXATION OF THE EXPANDING MUSCLES
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It must be clear to all students by this time that it was necessary to go somewhat deeply into all the subjects related to voice. Each lesson had to be preceded by a “theoretical discussion” in order to show you why the old systems of haphazard, unscientific, hit-or-miss ways of teaching voice culture, have failed.
It was further necessary to explain that a really valuable system of voice can only be established upon facts. Of course if was necessary to show you these facts, hence all the technical discussions in physiology, physics, vocal mechanics, etc.
All these discussions were necessary; first, to arouse your interest, and second, to insure your confidence in these lessons. The exercises which will develop your voice demand of you great patience and perseverance, and this could only come through a firm belief in this method.
The fact of the matter is, the study of voice is a part of a general education, because so many subjects are involved.
If the human body were an inanimate machine, like a watch or a music box, it would be easy enough to replace the defective parts so that the machine would run smoothly; but in the human body this is not possible, nor can you go to a physician or a surgeon and ask him to do the repairing. Quite the contrary, you must be your own mechanic, your own physician and surgeon; there is no other way.
To make it possible for you to do that for yourself which no one else can do, it was necessary to educate and to train you in this particular line.
In the lessons on breathing, so far studied, you must now see why in former lessons you merely received general directions in regard to breathing. That’s because it is secondary and quite possible to have a good speaking and singing voice in spite of incorrect breathing. Even so, many teachers believe and teach that breath control is the most, if not the all-important factor in voice.
After all is said and done about breathing, the fact remains that we do not need great volumes of air, but merely a sufficient quantity of oxygen to support life, to help the process of combustion; to feed the fires needed for the purpose of movement, work and repair. Even in singing, a great volume of air is rather a hindrance than a help. The fellow who can blow himself up like a toad is merely straining his chest muscles uselessly.
Lightly and without anxiety should the breath be taken during pauses. He who understands to renew the breath skillfully, sings with ease.
One should inhale without noise, so as not to affect the ear of the listener. There are many who arouse more curiosity with their breath than with their voice. They take too much breath, they sing too long on one breath, and at the last they have not sufficient strength to conclude without a “smacking” sound.
“It is not good when singers take a breath to each short note, like a nervous horse who shies at every shadow.
The breath should always be ready when needed – it should be used sparingly.
For a systematic process of study, the division of inhaling and exhaling has to be resorted to. In the preceding two lessons the former was taught – now you will learn the more important step of exhaling.
In the introductory remarks in the lessons on Perfect Breath, it was said that the NORMALLY most important factor of active inspiration is the diaphragm. In normal breathing, as we go about our business, as well as for ordinary conversation in a low, quiet pitch, only a little breath is inhaled and that inhalation is caused by the diaphragm almost entirely, without any activity of the rib expanding muscles.
The dome of the diaphragm descends and thus creates a vacuum which permits the lungs to expand (mostly downward) and store up the breath which has filled the vacuum.
But for the public singer, the speaker, and for all purposes which necessitate more than the normal breath, for running, dancing, etc., the rib expanding or chest enlarging muscles are the most important, while now for this unusual, extra breath, the diaphragm’s principal activity is expiration. When the diaphragm descends, its action is inspiratory, but when it ascends, it becomes expiratory, because it then urges or pushes the air outward. The diaphragm has, therefore, a double capacity.
The diaphragm forms a partition between the chest and the abdomen. It is shaped like a cupola or dome which extends far upward into the thorax or chest. It is attached to the vertebrae, the ribs and the lower part of the breast gone. See Fig 152
also Fig. 147 in Lesson 27.
If you will feel the place where the lowest rib joins the backbone and then draw the hand all around the lower edge of the ribs, you will be pressing against the lower borders of the diaphragm. From this border the diaphragm rises on each side inside of the chest.
If the fibers of the diaphragm contract involuntarily, the central position will necessarily descend; in this case the free ribs will be drawn inward, unless the ribs are otherwise held expanded or rigid; in sudden inspiration as in violent sobbing, this is always the case. But under no circumstances can the diaphragm expand the ribs as is sometimes taught; quite the reverse is true.
The diaphragm may be compared to the head of a drum, which is the sounding part or skin, and the ribs, the hoops which stretch the skin.
As long as the skin on the drum is in a loose state, it sags downward, but when the hoops to which the skin is fastened are being tightened, the skin is being straightened and stretched and in this way the drum is tuned in harmony with the orchestra.
In a similar way the diaphragm is fastened to the ribs of the chest, and the more these ribs, are expanded so much more is the diaphragm straightened and tightened. To the contrary, when the ribs are loosened they resume their natural closed position, then the diaphragm is also loosened and resumes its dome shape in the chest.
The diaphragm is pierced by three tubes. First, the aorta, which conducts the blood FROM the heart; second; the vena cava, which leads the blood TO the heart; third, the aesophagus, through which food passes into the stomach. The vena cava passes through the diaphragm near the spine and if the diaphragm is voluntarily contracted, as some try to do, it prevents the natural, free flow of blood to the heart, which causes dizziness and sometimes nausea. From all this it is apparent that the diaphragm should never be contracted voluntarily or by direct force.
The degree of pressure of the air in the lungs and windpipe against the under side of the vocal chords is controlled by the ribs and the diaphragm.
The breath pressure of ORDINARY expiration amounts to approximately a little over one inch, but then a tone is sung between A in the second space and E in the fourth space, the pressure suddenly rises to seven or eight inches; when the tone is sung loudly, the pressure rises to over three feet, and for high tones, sung fortissimo, the pressure would be still greater.
It was explained previously that the vocal chords can be reinforced – that they can be enlarged by the muscles which lie close to them and that the more the chords are enlarged the stronger and more beautiful will the tone be.
Now, a powerful breath pressure will greatly favor this enlargement of the vocal chords. The augmented effort brings the entire vocal organ into a firmer state, which again reinforces the vibrations, and of course creates additional over-tones, thereby making the quality of the tone still finer, nobler, and sweeter.
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Students of voice are often taught to keep all the chest and abdominal muscles entirely relaxed and loose. Whole systems have been founded on this rule, but of course without success. It must be evident to every intelligent person, that no work can be done by relaxed muscles. One could not inhale air, for instance, if the chest expanding muscles remained lax, neither could one exhale, if the muscles which compress the chest, were lax – that is, inactive. The reason an intoxicated person cannot control himself is because he has lost the power over his muscles. They have become slack and therefore are not capable of performing their functions of holding the body upright.
But if a set of relaxed muscles can perform little or no work, it does not necessarily follow that the muscles should be stiff or hard in order to do their work. That condition would be just as incorrect as the other, for neither can stiff muscles perform correctly.
Many singers and speakers, in fact, almost everyone, hold the breathing muscles too tense. This is especially a common fault of women, hence they unconsciously utilize considerably less air than men. So general has this fault become, that it has been accepted as a natural condition of female breathing. Research has proven, however, that aside from a smaller and more graceful form, in women, the breathing apparatus is exactly the same for both sexes and is governed by identical muscles and laws.
Since nether the laxed or the stiff muscles can do their work, another way must exist. This is to keep the muscles “flexible.”
All muscles which are directly or indirectly concerned in breathing are connected with nerves. The will is communicated through the nerves to the muscles and stimulates them to contraction. One must think of the muscles as having many cells which lie one above the other in rows, like grains of powder. A fiber radiating from the central battery of the brain, leads to each of these grains. Through an impulse of the will, one of these grains is exploded. The muscle contracts instantly and remains contracted until a grain is exploded from the negative battery. Then instantly the muscle springs back into its natural position. When the cells are used up, fatigue appears. During the required time of recuperation the tiny bacilli of the blood remove the ashes and build up new cells.
It is by this process that muscles grow stronger. If one tries to force a muscle, it fails to respond. It seems that the positive and negative cells neutralize each other so that no contraction is possible.
The conclusions which the attentive student cannot fail to draw from the above explanation are that one can only gain control over a muscle by contracting it very quickly but easily, keeping it so for a second or two and then letting it relax, and continuing this process until fatigue appears. With patience and perseverance the necessary muscular control can invariably be attained. Constant practice will then develop any muscle to great strength.
In the first part of the course, it was explained why the chest or thorax had to be expanded. There are two distinct sets of muscles which move the thorax. One of these sets of muscles opens the thorax and widens it, because the muscles which grow from the spine into the ribs, pull the ribs outward and upward. As long as one holds these ribs expanded no breath will escape, because there is then no pressure inward upon the lungs.
The second set of muscles will bring the ribs back to their natural position. When they contract they draw the ribs inward which causes a pressure upon the lungs; thereby the breath is forced out. The first of these movements is “inspiratory,” the second, “expiratory.”
Any movement which occurs outside of these two movements in the diaphragm and abdomen should be automatic and only when the diaphragm and abdomen automatically or involuntarily move with the voluntary expansion and contraction of the ribs, can one be assured of a perfect free and easy breathing.
RELAXED POSITION OF THE CHEST
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These instructions enable everyone to obtain a perfect method of breathing, based on an exact scientific foundation. By following them, the breathing apparatus can be trained and perfected. Weakness, such as short breath, gasping, tenseness of the abdomen, heart palpitations, fainting spells, nervousness, lung troubles, and, according to the testimony of prominent physicians, even some forms of tumors can be avoided.
All previous methods of breathing has been based more or less on opinions and suppositions. They have lacked the exact scientific foundation, which alone can be an assured guide to a successful system of study. Only a correct analysis of the parts of the body, its structure, and of the muscles which adjust and move the parts, can lead one to a natural, easy, and free system of breathing. This is accomplished through the study of these instructions alone.
Most everyone suffers to a greater or less degree from the abuse and misuse of the breathing organs, especially the singer the singer and public speaker. To them correct breathing is of the utmost value. Those who have studied “The Perfect Voice” system can now add to it a perfect system of breathing, which will give them greater freedom, greater volume of tone, and most assuredly, better health and prolonged life.
General Review of the Latest Discoveries Regarding Breath. The Importance Of Breath-Movement
The expansion and contraction of the lungs has been compared with the action of bellows. It s accomplished through the rhythmical contraction of striped, voluntary muscles, but with the support of an additional weight, similarly as it is done with bellows used in pipe organs, where extra weights have been provided to more quickly expel the air within the bellows. In the human being this additional support is provided for by the natural elasticity of the lungs firstly, and secondly by the bones and ribs which surround the lungs. This bony structure surrounding the lungs is called the thorax or chest.
Because both the lungs and the chest surrounding them are naturally elastic, an expansion of the lungs and consequent inrush of air is made possible. This expansion of the lungs is possible by an active voluntary effort, followed by a passive involuntary contraction merely through the elasticity of the chest. But a passive involuntary inspiration followed by an active voluntary expiration is also possible.
In the activities which demand both an enlarged breath and greater rapidity of breathing, such as is required for singing and for public speaking, both the inspiration and expiration must be active and voluntary, hence consciously trained and acquired.
The anatomical mechanism of the thorax is such that the elasticity of its parts are called into action by active expansion and contraction. In the upright position of a man, the weight of the thorax opposes the expansion, but favors the contraction. The twelve pairs of ribs with the twelve vertebraes to which they are attached (the first pair, however, is not free), and which are through the medium of cartilages combined with the breast bone, are in such a position that they incline downward and forward, hence the expansion of these ribs is only possible through the contracting muscles, and when this contraction ceases, then the weight of the ribs will cause a passive narrowing or collapse of the thorax.
The raising and lowering of the ribs is similar to the movement of spokes around the axle. With the exception of the lowest two ribs, all are connected with the breast bone directly or indirectly by means of cartilaginous continuations.
These are bent in such a way that in raising the ribs they are at the same time projecting forward also. It is owing to the elasticity of these cartilage continuations of the bony ribs that an active expansion of the thorax by its connecting muscles if followed by a passive contraction and consequent narrowing, or that a passive expansion can be followed by an active contraction. But the chest cavity is enclosed at its lower extremity by another elastic element, the diaphragm. It forms a muscular wall between the chest and the abdomen. On expanding the thorax, this diaphragm is lowered and thereby adds largely to the space needed for inspiration.
Within this enclosed space of the thorax and diaphragm are placed the two lungs, lying close against the walls and following passively their movements of expansion or contraction.
Normally, the most important part of active inspiration is the diaphragm. At every inspiration each one of the muscular fibers of the diaphragm is contracted. Beside the diaphragm there are a number of other muscles which raise and expand the thorax.
The basis of all active expiration, such as is used in singing, speaking, coughing, etc., is formed by the abdominal muscles. These muscles pull upon the ribs downward and thereby narrow or contract the space of the thorax, and since they also press inward upon the abdomen, they push indirectly against the diaphragm, so that it will strongly incline upward and add in the narrowing of the thorax and consequent expelling of the breath.
For public singing and speaking an additional 100 to 150 cubic inches of breath has to be provided for, in less time than a second, unless there is a longer rest between the phrases. The aim must be to obtain the maximum result with the minimum of exertion. The process of inspiration should be instantaneous, but the process of expiration on the contrary,, should be spread over considerable time, as needed for longer and shorter phrases. It is therefore of the utmost importance to know how to inhale with the utmost ease and with the least possible loss of time.
So that the student may understand the anatomical reason for the instructions which are to follow, and as a proof that such instruction exactly covers the physiological tendency of the different parts of the organs, a short description of the chest, diaphragm, lungs, abdomen, and the muscles which govern these parts, will be given.
The object of inspiration is to create a larger space for the expansion of the lungs. The object of expiration is to contract this space to the normal size. The lungs are allowed a greater space to expand in, only by those muscles which can expand the ribs. This expansion of the ribs takes place mainly through the contraction of the muscles of the back.
The many different parts of the skeleton of the body are connected with each other by tendons and muscles. The muscles surround the bones and joints and form what we term the flesh of the body. The muscles consist of a contractile substance. The contraction is caused by the will which acts through the nerves which supply the muscles. When a muscle contracts, it becomes shorter and thicker. When the contraction ceases, the muscle resumes its normal shape. As a muscle grows out of one bone and is fastened to another, it will thereby move the bones toward each other. The muscles of the skeleton belong to what is termed “striped” muscles. They may act singly or in groups, move only one part or several at the same instant. The muscles of the skeleton are divided into three principal groups, those of the body, the head and the extremities. The muscles of the body again are divided into four groups, the back, the chest, the abdomen and the throat.
The illustration shown in Fig. 148 deserves a careful inspection. Starting from the hip bone (7), muscles are seen to ascent into the shoulder blades and the ribs.
Others descend from the head into the shoulders and from there downward to the chest, ribs and to the hips. What has already been described so carefully in the previous lesson, that is, the absolute dependence of one set of muscles upon another set, holds good for the breathing apparatus as well. As in the “Perfect Voice” so also in “Perfect Breath.” It is remarkable that there is so little displacement of the larger parts, the chest, back, and abdomen. These parts are balanced between muscles which pull upon both ways, up and down, or forward and backward, so that they are not strained away from other parts or crowded against them.
The bodily signs of correct breathing efforts, as will be shown later on, can be detected by the eye or felt by the hand; but these efforts do not excite any noticeable sensations, because in the natural, correct efforts, the different sets of muscles work in harmony with each other. Any effort which excites strong sensation, or causes a strain, is false, because then some set of muscles are opposed by another set, hence there is a tug of war, which we feel as a strain. Although strong efforts are being made, yet they will not be felt as such if the muscles act automatically, that is, if they are not interfered with by other opposing muscles.
In order that the lungs may expand and take in a larger quantity of air, it is necessary that additional space must be provided for the lungs’ expansion. This can only be done by the muscles which expand the ribs. The spine in the back and the breast bone in front are two fixed points; firm bones to which the ribs are attached, and between these two the ribs rotate or pivot on their joints of attachment. The ribs are attached to the vertebraes of the spin by these joints and controlled by muscles which grow from the vertebraes to the ribs, so that when a muscle contracts, it must necessarily move the rib to which it is attached, since, as was mentioned, the vertebrae being a joint of the spine, remains in a fixed, firm position. The attachment to the breast bone in front is formed by a cartilage continuation of the rib to the breast bone. This cartilage forms an angle which straightens when a rib is bring moved by its muscles, so that the rib moves not only sideways but also a little upward.
The main point to be remembered is the fact that only the ribs can be moved, and not as is sometimes taught, the whole chest. It is true that by moving the shoulder blades upward, a feeling of chest lifting is suggested. However, the chest is NOT thereby raised. One might just as well try to life oneself by the shoe straps as try to raise the true chest. All such endeavors cause a useless strain, and defeat the object for which we seek.
If the extreme ends of the bird’s wing were firmly attached to an opposite point of the joint from which the wings are grown, the bird could flap its wings outward and upward. Just such a movement is made by the ribs, and no other is naturally possible.
The shoulder blades and collar bone are connected both with the head and the thorax or chest by muscles which can interfere with a movement of the ribs. If the shoulder blades are raised, the expansion of the ribs will be lessened and made difficult; if they remain raised during singing, the expiration of breath will be seriously interfered with or almost impossible. Therefore, the shoulder blades must remain in their natural position of rest.
1. The Trapezius. It is fastened all along the backbone or spine, from the lowest rib of the back of the head, thus including the entire neck.
2. The Rhomboideus, major and minor. They extend from the lower vertebra of the neck and the four or five upper joints of the back to the shoulder blades.
3. The Levator scapula. To the highest joints of the neck and to the shoulder blades below.
All of these muscles assist in the act of inspiration, as well as the following muscles which extend from the collar bone and shoulder blades to the ribs:
The most powerful of the muscles which extend from the collar bone and shoulder blades to the upper ribs is (4) the serratus magnus. From the lower edge of the shoulder blades, this muscle stretches forward and downward into the ribs to about the line of the vest pockets. On its way from the shoulder blades to the ribs, it splits into strips or serrations (hence its name). When the shoulder blades are held fixed in their natural position, then the serratus magnus muscle can pull powerfully upon the ribs and cause them to move strongly outward and upward.
5. The pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor also extend from the collar bone and shoulder blades into some of the ribs, and can thereby aid in the expansion of the thorax.
6. The lattissimus dorsi is a large muscular band, fastened below to the hip bone and the vertebraes of the spine. It is attached to the lower ribs and extends upward to terminate into a tendon which is fastened to the inner side of the arm. The parts of this muscle which are attached to the lower ribs draw those ribs outward and upward which are not reached by the serratus magnus. To favor this action, the shoulder blades and the collar bone must also remain fixed.
From each rib extend muscles to the one above and below – these are called the intercostal or “between-rib” muscles.
There are two sets, one placed on the outside, the external intercostal; the other one the inside, the internal intercostal. Together they line the whole open space between the ribs and form a perfectly tight inclosure or wall. These muscles draw the ribs nearer together. They act both as inspiratory and, in connection with the abdominal muscles, as expiratory muscles.
Only those muscles which are more directly inspiratory have been given. The diaphragm, which is one of the most important breathing muscles, will be treated in another part of these lessons, since for public singing or speaking, its real office is, according to the most recent researches, more expiratory than inspiratory.
It is true that the descending of the dome of the diaphragm somewhat enlarges the cavity of the chest and permits the lungs to spread downward, thereby assisting the inspiration. But the enlargement of the chest’s circumference by the outward spreading ribs is so much larger that the conclusion is arrived at that the inhaling of breath is principally due to the rib movements.
Technical as this first part of the explanations may seem to be to the student, yet it is necessary to a better understanding of the exercises which will follow. The student is requested to study this part again and again.
STRONG AND SOFT TONES – FF AND PP – INCREASING AND DECREASING VOICE
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With this lesson begins a very important part of this course. The question of correct breathing will now be treated in an exact and scientific manner, based upon close analysis of all the organs involved. Correct living and the influence of food upon physical energy should be considered in connection with the study of voice, and a consideration of these points will introduce the special lessons on correct breathing.
Every now and them someone announces a specific cure of all body ills by adopting special diets. In the domain of the voice there have been many who claimed to develop the voice merely by the observation of a special foot diet, special breathing exercises, mental processes and even hypnotic suggestion.
The law of God and the laws of Nature never change. If these laws are observed, you will enjoy physical and mental health and, in modest measure, all the happiness which is possible in the present state of society.
But if you violate any of the laws you will suffer, not as a punishment, but as the natural and logical consequence of your act. You cannot evade these consequences by any specific prescription: the only way is to conform to the law and when you are again in harmony with the law, health and happiness will again be yours.
The laws of health may be violated without your will, even without your knowledge, nevertheless you will suffer until equilibrium is restored. You are not to be blamed for having a toothache, for instance; the cause of this is beyond your power of prevention, but modern science of dentistry has discovered that decayed teeth expose the nerves and that by filling the cavity of a tooth, the nerve resumes its normal healthy condition.
If you should be so unfortunate as to break an arm, a good surgeon will reset it and in time the pain will cease and your arm will be restored to usefulness. The way to a resumption of natural conditions was observed in both cases.
The voice is so much a part of your individuality, that anything which tends to interfere with it, is s sure sign of severe disobedience of some natural law.
Now whether a defective vocal organ is the cause of other bodily ills such as consumption, nervousness, mental depression, etc., or whether these are the causes of a defective vocal organ, cannot be stated positively.
The important point is that a practical remedy has been found to develop the vocal organ to the highest state of perfection; and the assumption, backed by experience, is that a perfectly developed vocal organ will invariably produce a normal function of the entire throat track and improve the physical condition of all the parts connected with the throat. Even the stomach must of necessity depend, to some extent at least, upon a sound throat because the esophagus or food pipe reaches from the tongue downward into the stomach. Of course the opposite is just as true, that whatever affects the stomach or any part of the digestive tract, will in time injure the voice.
No special diet need be observed by those seeking a superior voice, but certainly they should observe the laws of hygienic and moral living in addition to the direct physical practice of developing the vocal organ.
The object of taking breath is not so much that of filling the lungs with air, as of obtaining the oxygen in the air we breathe. So in taking food, the object is to obtain certain chemical properties contained in the food we eat and which are just as necessary for the body as the oxygen which transforms the food into its original elements.
More than one-half of the earth crust consists of oxygen. The water we drink is eight-ninths oxygen by weight, the air we breathe and the food we eat are largely oxygen.
A treatise upon breathing should contain some information on the subject of food and its necessity to the well-being of the body. (The lengthy lesson of food in this lesson has been omitted)