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Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music 3/22/18, 7:16 PM

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Volume 1 (1995) No. 1

Published 2015

A Comparison of French and Italian Singing in the Seventeenth


Sally A. Sanford*
1. Language

2. Breathing

3. Vibrato

4. Speech mode

5. Historical pronunciation

6. Consonants

7. Throat articulation

8. Responses to musical notation

9. Conclusion


List of Audio Examples

[0.1] Although Italian and French solo vocal music in the seventeenth century may have shared a
common aesthetic aim -- to move the passions -- French and Italian singers achieved that aim through

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quite different technical and stylistic means. This article examines some of the principal areas of vocal
technique that help to define the differences between French and Italian singing in this period.(note 1)

1. Language

[1.1] Besides obvious, important differences in compositional and ornamentation style, and the lack of
interest by the French in the castrato voice, the most significant differences between French and Italian
singing in the seventeenth century stem from the fact that Italian is a qualitative language while
seventeenth-century French was quantitative.(note 2) Italian vocal music is brought to life chiefly
through the expressivity given to the vowels, while in French music the emotional expression rests
chiefly in the highly nuanced inflection of the consonants.

[1.2] You can experience the kinesthetic implications of the qualitative/ quantitative difference in
language for yourself. It may be easier to do so if you stand up in front of your computer screen. Imagine
that you are Italian and say “Mama mia” (audio 1). Say “Mama mia” again. Notice the ebb and flow of air
in your body and the flexibility required in your abdomen to inflect the vowels, to give more stress and
dynamic emphasis to the accented syllables. Contrast this feeling by imagining now that you are French
and say “ma mère” (audio 2). There is no ebb and flow of air corresponding to a qualitative accent;
instead the air flow is more steady, even, and relatively small, as you say an evenly weighted short-long
pair of syllables, in this case with a more distinct word boundary between “ma” and “mère” than we had
with “mama mia.” Let’s say something a bit longer: “Comment-allez vous?” (audio 3)

2. Breathing

[2.1] I hope you can sense just from this brief spoken exercise that French and Italian singers would have
used quite different approaches to breathing. Here we get into the grey areas involved in reconstructing
historical vocal techniques, because the seventeenth-century singing treatises tell us very little about the
nature of the release of air during phonation aside from the fact that it was not done with great force.
(note 3) Jean-Philippe Rameau in the mid-18th century provides some rationale for evolving a breath
technique for singing from the spoken language:

. . . all our attention, all our desire, should be simply to train oneself to expel the breath more or
less in the same fashion as when we go to speak: preoccupied by the single thought one wishes to
express, the voice is heard without costing the least effort. It should be the same for the singer:
preoccupied only by the feeling he wishes to convey, all the rest should be so familiar to him that
he no longer is obliged to think about it.(note 4)

[2.2] Extrapolating from text declamation then, the Italian approach to breathing can be described as
one that varied air pressure, air speed and air volume according to the dramatic and emotional
declamation of the text, and to some extent according to the size of the space in which one was singing.

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Even though the air pressure fluctuated, the Italian breath system during the seventeenth century
generally used less pressure than we associate with modern operatic singing today.(note 5) A variable air
stream gives a dynamic shading, a chiaroscuro, to the vowels that corresponds to the accentuation and
declamation of the text. The text itself thus provides a dynamic plan and shape for the vocal line that
should be observed by the singer and reflected in the accompaniment.

[2.3] The musical selection shown in example 1 and figure 1 and performed in audio 4 gives an excerpt
from the monody “Occhi se sete i giri” by Giovanni Pietro Berti.(note 6) If one adopts an aesthetic
position that the expression of the text should take precedence over the music, there is an implied
descrescendo for the resolution of what we might call a V-I cadence at measure 9, based on the dynamic
stress pattern of the Italian verso piano, in which the final accent lies on the penultimate syllable.(note
7) It is often so ingrained in musicians to give a dynamic accent to the arrival of the tonic that we
instinctively give such cadences a dynamic shape opposite to that implied by the text, even when we
understand intellectually that the resolution of the cadence has an unstressed syllable. Berti’s text
underlay further helps to soften the cadence by anticipating the last syllable before the resolution of the

[2.4] With the new emphasis in early seventeenth-century Italy on recitative and on the primacy of the
words, it is not surprising that we find an ornamentation style that features dynamic ornaments, such as
the messa di voce and esclamazione. The text is the key to expressive singing for Caccini, who says that
expressing the passion of the text is achieved through breath control: “a man must have a command of
breath to give the greater spirit to the increasing and diminishing of the voice, to esclamazione and other
passions . . . “(note 8)

[2.5] The seventeenth-century French approach to breathing can be described as a steady-state system of
virtually constant air pressure, air speed and air volume -- similar to some modern schools of French art
song singing(note 9) -- with the principal difference due to the amount of air pressure, which, as also for
the Italians, was lower than in the modern school. In the seventeenth-century French steady-state
system, dynamic shading of the vowels was not a primary concern; the dynamic contours of the vocal
line took place within a smaller range. Instead of expressive vowels, the focus was on the expressive
inflection of the consonants which were “sung” on this steady air stream. The consonants were sung
longer or shorter, and the forcefulness given to them was harder or softer according to the passion
expressed.(note 10) French consonant technique will be discussed in more detail below.

[2.6] Let us compare the French and Italian schools of breathing. The music sung in audios 5, 6, and 7 is
shown in example 2 and figure 2. You can hear the opening phrase of “Tristes enfans” by Joseph
Chabançeau de la Barre(note 11) sung with a seventeenth-century French technique (audio 5), a
seventeenth-century Italian technique (audio 6), and a modern technique (audio 7). Audios 8, 9, and 10
will allow you to make a similar comparision of these different schools of singing with an Italian piece of

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music, the opening measures of Monteverdi’s “Lamento d’Arianna,” using an Italian (audio 8), a French
(audio 9) and a modern technique (audio 10). The music for the Monteverdi selection is given in example
3. In the audios using French technique, the text is given expression and inflection through the
consonants; the dynamic shape of the vowels is relatively even; and the syllables are given a quantitative
accent. The resultant sound palette is more intimate. In the examples of Italian technique, the vowels
“bloom” and carry the bulk of the expression of the text, observing a qualitative accent. The resultant
sound palette has more dynamic variety, as the rhetorical stress ebbs and flows with the breath stream.
In the audios using “modern” technique, the dynamic shape of the vowels is also relatively even, but the
consonants are not given special expressive emphasis; the resultant sound palette is fuller, is not as
intimate, and uses more constant vibrato.

3. Vibrato

[3.1] The principal reason that vibrato is perceptible as a constant in the vocal tone of modern singing is
because of the greater air pressure used. When there is a change in air pressure or in the size of the air
stream, the larynx will automatically respond differently. Using a lower pressure (compared to modern
operatic singing) avoids the need to control vibrato through mechanical suppression in the vocal tract.
Seventeenth-century singing -- whether French or Italian -- is not achieved by taking a modern
production and “straightening” the sound. If you try to suppress vibrato without changing the air
pressure, you will have to use some kind of constriction in the vocal tract. Such constriction can lead to
unnecessary tension and fatigue. This can understandly alarm voice teachers when their students start
“straightening” their sounds for singing early music. Using a laryngeal set-up that is unconstricted, with
a breath pressure that will allow for vibratro to be used at the singer’s discretion, is a common
denominator between Italian and French singing in the seventeenth century; what differs is the variable
versus steady state air stream. Vibrato would have been consciously added by the singer when desired
and was not a natural by-product of the voice production.(note 12)

[3.2] There are two different ways of producing vibrato, one produced with breath pressure (audio 11)
and the other produced in the throat (audio 12). Both types of vibrato mechanism were used during the
seventeenth century. The different mechanisms produce a difference in sound for these two types of
vibrato -- somewhat subtle, a test for the sound fidelity of this new technology. The French would most
likely have used a throat-produced vibrato, a mechanism very similar to their trill technique, in order not
to disturb their steady air stream. The Italians most likely used a breath-produced vibrato as their norm,
since they were using a variable air stream already, with throat vibrato reserved perhaps for more special
effects. No seventeenth-century source addresses this issue, although Johann Adam Hiller in the late
18th century regarded throat vibrato as the more difficult of the two types of vibrato.(note 13) This
suggests to me that the 18th-century Italo-Germanic School used throat vibrato less often than breath

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4. Speech mode

[4.1] The lower air pressure (compared to modern singing) that we find in both French and Italian
breath systems meant not only that the laryngeal setup used did not have vibrato as a constant presence,
but also that the vocal tract could be quite relaxed. A more relaxed vocal tract in turn allows for the
likelihood that singers used speech mode a good deal. Speech mode is a laryngeal setup that employs a
relaxed vocal tract and extends speech production into singing, an indispensable technique for singing in
the stile recitativo, for example.

5. Historical pronunciation

[5.1] Seventeenth-century and modern Italian are much closer to each other than seventeenth-century
French is to its modern version. In using historical French pronunciation, listeners may react first to
differences in vowel sounds, such as the oi-vowel which was pronounced as oé or oué until the French
Revolution.(note 14) Bacilly describes a vowel nuance for French singing of delaying the nasalization of a
vowel on a long note until the end of the note, a device that adds enormous possibilities and subtleties
for inflection.(note 15) You can hear this on the word enfans in audio 5.

6. Consonants
[6.1] Just as each passion manifested itself in a set of particular characteristics that could be codified for
the artist in a work such as Le Brun’s Caracteres des passions (1696), so each passion had its own
characteristic manner of speech. Bacilly gives us in skeletal form a discussion of consonant doubling or
prolonging.(note 16) His discussion was later expanded upon in the eighteenth century principally by
Bérard, Lecuyer and Raparlier.(note 17) Bacilly confined his examples to the letters m, f, s, j, and v.
Bérard later outlined five types of consonant articulation: hard, soft, natural, dark and clear, depending
on the character of the words one is singing. Lecuyer’s rules for consonants can be summarized as

1. Double the initial consonants of every question. e.g., Pourquoi? veux tu?
2. Double the initial consonants of every injurious epithet. e.g, Perfide, Cruel.
3. Prepare the initial consonant of every substantive or adjective that gives an agreeable quality or a
quality of distinction. e.g, beauté, grandeur, fraicheur, tendre, jeune, charmant.
4. Prepare or double every negation and preposition. e.g., non, rien, si..
5. Every time there are several monosyllables in succession, it is the last which should be doubled. e.g,
non, nnon.
6. Do not double two consonants in succession.
7. In a word composed of several syllables, each of which has double consonants, double the first set.
e.g., Terrasser. “One pronounces badly in saying terasser; on the contrary one should say terraçer,

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as if there were a ç in place of the double s.” (note 18)

[6.2] These writers describe a technique of preparing or prolonging consonants and of varying their
articulation to make the music expressive. Bérard called it consonant doubling, and would indicate it by
writing in a second consonant at those places where it should be applied. This consonant technique is
not discussed in Italian or German sources. (note 19)

[6.3] Voiced consonants such as m, n, b, l, v, d, and z are often the easiest to prolong, because they can
be pitched. From a practical point of view, prolonging consonants lets one play with their position
relative to the beat, carrying a consonant over into the beat, for example, rather than having it occur
before the beat, as is the standard in most classical singing, which follows an Italian tradition in this

[6.4]Bérard gives the following guide for strong consonant doubling in the opening of La Haine’s air
“Plus on connoit l’amour” from Lully’s Armide: (Act III, scene iv):

Plus on cconnoit ll’amour, & pllus on lle ddetestte: Detrruisons sson ppouvoir ffuneste.
rRomppons ses nnoeuds, decchirons sson bbandeau, Brrulons sses trraits, etteignons son
fflambeau.(note 20) (see figure 3)

The more one understands love, the more one detests it. Let us destroy its sinister power, Let us
break its bonds, Let us tear its veil, Let us burn its features, snuff out its flame.(note 21)

Lully’s setting of this text, shown in example 4, is performed on audio 13 using Bérard’s consonant
doublings. Without them, there is not the same dramatic intensity, as one can hear on audio 14.

7. Throat articulation

[7.1] Both French and Italian singing in the seventeenth century differ significantly from modern singing
with respect to the use of throat articulation, a technique for singing rapid passages and ornaments.
Throat articulation had existed at least since the middle ages and had reached a zenith in the 1580’s with
garganta singers such as the three ladies of Ferrara, who excelled in this gorgia technique. Bacilly called
this technique, or the laryngeal set-up for using this technique, the disposition de la gorge.(note 22) The
Italians called it the dispositione. Throat articulation as heard in audios 4 , 5, 15, and 16 is an essential
technique for a singer of seventeenth century music, particularly because it makes the music easier to

8. Responses to musical notation

[8.1] Given the considerable differences between French and Italian methods of singing in the

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seventeenth century, it is reasonable to assume that French and Italian singers would have reacted to
musical notation differently, especially in pieces that sought to reflect the spoken declamation of a text.
The qualitative/quantitative distinctions discussed above and heard in audios 1 and 2 illustrate how the
style of declamation dictates a different approach to even a simple V-I cadence. The right mental
“software” is essential to reading notation of the period. Orfeo’s famous aria “Possente Spirto,” from Act
III of Monteverdi’s opera, is generally regarded as one of the more difficult pieces in the repertoire, a
work of dazzling virtuosity demanding great technical prowess.(note 23) In my view, however,
Monteverdi was very practical. Any good Italian singer of the time, who knew his affetti and who could
sing with throat articulation, could have come in off the street and sight read the aria with Monteverdi’s
ornamentation. (Of course, a singer of Monteverdi’s time might have preferred to improvise the affetti
instead of following Monteverdi’s model.) Monteverdi has constructed the passaggi in “Possente Spirto”
by stringing together a series of written-out affetti, all of them affetti in which a singer of his time would
have been quite experienced and adept. Strung together, the trilli, ribatutte and cascate make a
wonderful effect while being quite simple to sing -- given the right technique and the right mental
software. An historical approach makes this piece easy; working against a modern technique would make
it very difficult. You can hear an excerpt from this aria in audio 15, which is shown in example 5 and
figure 4.

[8.2] Similarly, the florid double of a French air, such as the one that Joseph Chabançeau de la Barre
wrote out for “Tristes enfans” in example 6 and figure 5 is much easier to sing using an historical
approach (audio 16). This double can also be viewed as a series of ornaments strung together, ornaments
which a few years later would more likely have been indicated by sign rather than by notation. The
rhythmicization of the port de voix coming before the beat at “regrets” provides a nice illustration of
Bacilly’s description of the ornament.(note 24)

9. Conclusion

[9.1] Using an historical approach to singing French and Italian music of the seventeenth-century
requires fluency not only in different musical styles, but in different vocal techniques. It involves
different reactions to musical notation as well. The differences between French and Italian singing that
we have discussed are based primarily on differences in language. The implications of these differences
are important not just for singers interested in seventeenth-century repertory, but also for
instrumentalists interested in playing with an historical approach, since singing was the model for
instrumental playing in this period.

Return to beginning of article


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*Sally Sanford (Salsanford@aol.com) is one of the leading American singer-scholars in the revival of historical vocal styles and
techniques. She is a founding member of Ensemble Chanterelle, a trio of soprano and plucked strings that specializes in
seventeenth-century music, and Associate Director of the cross-disciplinary Aston Magna Academy. Her most recent recording is
a compact disc of music by Henry Purcell, “From Rosy Bowers,” for Albany Records (Troy 127). Return to Beginning

**This article has been adapted from a lecture-recital given on April 29, 1994 at the annual conference of the Society for
Seventeenth-Century Music in Rochester, NY. I would like to acknowledge the generous assistance of Raymond Erickson,
harpsichord, in the musical examples played at the 1994 conference session, and of Catherine Liddell, theorbo, Dr. John Howard
of the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library at Harvard University, and Thomas Lehman in the preparation of the audio examples for
this article. I would also like to thank John Sheridan, who provided assistance with the preparation of the examples in modern
notation, Brent Wissick and Ed Rykken for their help in the audio test-phase of this project, and the entire editorial board of this
Journal for their invaluable assistance with and guidance of this project. Return to Beginning

1. For a more detailed discussion see Sally Allis Sanford, “Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Vocal Style and Technique,” DMA
dissertation, Stanford University, 1979. See also, Jeffrey G. Kurtzman, “Vocal Style,” The Monteverdi Vespers of 1610: Music,
Context, Performance (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming). Return to text

2. For a detailed discussion of syllabic quantity see Bénigne de Bacilly, Remarques curieuses sur l’art de bien chanter , 2nd. ed.
(Paris: Guillaume de Luyne, 1679; reprint, Geneva: Minkoff Reprints, 1971), Part II. For an English translation see Bénigne de
Bacilly, A Commentary Upon the Art of Singing, translated by Austin B. Caswell (New York: The Institute of Medieval Music,
1968). Return to text

3. Below are representative examples of comments on breathing from both seventeenth- and 18th-century sources. They provide
some documentation for using both diaphramatic and costal breath techniques, but are not specific enough to determine the
action of the diaphragm and the nature of the breath stream during phonation.

A. Dès que le vent est donné avec plus de force que n’exige le son, la glotte se serre, comme lorsqu’on presse trop la
hanche d’un hautbois: si cet exces de force est encore donné trop precipitamment, il roidit les parois de la glotte, & lui
ôte toute sa flexibilité. . . (Jean-Philippe Rameau, Code de musique pratique, ou méthodes pour apprendre la musique
[Paris: L’Imprimerie Royale, 1760], 16).

As soon as the air is given with more force than the tone requires, the glottis constricts, as when one presses too much
the reed of an oboe: if this excess of force is also given too precipitously, it stiffens the walls of the glottis and takes away
all its flexibility.

B. Mais de tous les muscles de la poictrine le diafragme est le plus necessaire pour la respiration ordinaire, comme les
autres sont plus necessaires pour les respirations violentes, qui font enfler la poictrine extraordinairement. (Marin
Mersenne, Harmonie Universelle, vol. 2: Traitez de la Voix et des Chants [Paris: S. Cramoisy, 1636], 3).

But of all the chest muscles, the diaphragm is the most necessary for ordinary respiration, since the others are more
necessary for violent respiration, which swells the chest extraordinarily.

C. On peut aussi comprendre sous le nom de Disposition, l’haleine, qui est encore fort necessaire pour l’execution du
Chant, à moins que de vouloir souvent couper un mot, ou un syllable en deux. . . . (Bacilly, Remarques curieuses [1668],

Breathing can also be included under the heading of disposition. It is essential to good vocal performance so as to avoid
cutting a word short or cleaving a syllable in two. (Austin Caswell, trans., A Commentary upon the Art of Singing, 25).

D. L’Inspiration est le mouvement de l’air extérieur qui entre par la bouche, le nez & la glotte dans la Trachée-artère, &
va remplir toute la capacité des Poumons: l’inspiration suit necessairement de la dilatation de la Poitrine: cette dilatation
a son principe dans le mouvement des côtes qui s’élevent en se portant en dehors, & dans la contraction du Diaphragme,

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dont la partie convexe qui regarde la Poitrine descend & comprime le Ventre. L’Expiration est l’action des Organes, par
laquelle l’air intérieur est chassé des Poumons, & en sort par les mêmes voyes qu’il y étoit entré: on doit rapporter
l’Expiration au rétablissement du Diaphragme, & au retrecissement de la Poitrine, qui se fait par l’abaissement des côtes.
Comme le Poumon est le centre contre lequel agissent tous ces différens mouvemens, il doit être comprimé, & l’air doit
être chassé des Cellules pneumoniques ou il étoit contenu: c’est cet air qui doit servir à la formation de la Voix & par
conséquent du Chant, puisque ce dernier n’est qu’une sorte de modification de la Voix, par laquelle on forme des Sons
variés & appréciables. (Jean Baptiste Bérard, L’art du Chant [Paris: Dessaint & Saillant, 1755], 9-11).

Inspiration is the movement of exterior air which enters the trachial artery by the mouth, the nose and the glottis and
fills the entire capacity of the lungs: Inspiration follows necessarily the dilation of the chest: this dilation has its basis in
the movement of the ribs which are lifted upwards and in the contraction of the diaphragm, whose convex part, which is
near the chest, descends and compresses the abdomen. Expiration is the action of the organs by which the internal air is
expelled from the lungs, leaving by the same paths it entered: one should correlate expiration with the re-establishment
of the diaphragm and with the contraction of the chest, which is done by a lowering of the ribs. Whereas the lung is the
center around which all these different movements occur, it must be compressed and the air must be driven from the
pneumonic cells where it had been contained: it is this air which must serve the formation of the Voice and, as a result,
singing, since this latter is only a sort of modification of the voice by which one forms various and appreciable sounds.

E. Gli proibisca di prender fiato in mezzo d’una parola, imperciochè il dividerla in due respiri è un errore, che la natura
non soffre, e si deve imitarla per non esserne burlato. In un movimento interrotto, o in un Passaggio lungo no v’è questo
regore, allorchè non si possa cantara, o l’una o l’altra in un sol fiato. (Pier Francesco Tosi, Opinioni de’ cantori antichi, e
moderni [Bologna: L. dalla Volpe, 1723], 65).

Let him [the Master] forbid the Scholar to take breath in the Middle of a word, because the dividing it in two is an Error
against Nature; which must not be followed, if we would avoid being laugh’d at. In interrupted Movements, or in long
Divisions, it is not so rigorously required when the one or the other cannot be sung in one Breath. (J. E. Galliard, trans.,
Observations on the Florid Song [London: J. Wilcox, 1742], 60)

Return to text
4. Jean-Philippe Rameau, Code de Musique, 1760, 17: “toute notre attention, toute notre volonté, doit-elle se borner a pousser le
vent a peu pres de la même façon que lorsque nous voulons parler: occupé de la seule pensée qu’on veut exprimer, la voix se fait
entendre sans qu’il en co-te le moindre effort. Il en doit être le même du chanteur; occupé du seul sentiment, qu’il veut rendre,
tout le reste doit lui être si familier, qu’il ne soit plus obligé d’y penser.” Rameau’s comments, though outside the period which is
the focus of this article, are also interesting for the comment that the breathing should be so natural that it would not require
conscious thinking on the part of the singer. Return to text

5. It is beyond the scope of this presentation to go into the myriad aspects of modern operatic vocal techniques and the variety of
schools of opera singing in the present day. For purposes of this discussion, however, the word “modern” is used to embrace the
common elements involved in singing classical opera in a medium-to-large opera theatre. Return to text

6. Cantade et arie,Book II (1627). For a complete recording of this piece, see Venetian Monody in the Age of Monteverdi,
Ensemble Chanterelle (Musical Heritage Society #7055T, 1985). Return to text

7. See Tim Carter’s discussion of Italian versification in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, s.v. “versification.” Return to text

8. Giulio Caccini, Foreword to Le nuove musiche, translated in Oliver Strunk, Source Readings in Music History (New York:
W.W. Norton, 1950), 391. Return to text

9. For discussion of French singing after the seventeenth century, see Jean Gourret, La Technique du Chant en France depuis le
XVIIe Siècle (Sens: Editions I.C.C., 1973). Return to text

10. Bacilly is the first source to discuss this aspect of French singing diction; see Remarques curieuses, 307ff. Return to text

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11. from Joseph Chabançeau de la Barre, Airs a deux parties (Paris, 1669). Return to text

12. I take a somewhat different position on this topic than does, for example, Ellen Hargis in “The Solo Voice,” A Performer’s
Guide to Renaissance Music, ed. Jeffrey T. Kite-Powell (New York: Schirmer Books, 1994), 5. Return to text

13. Johann Adam Hiller, Anweisung zum musikalisch-zierlichen Gesange (Leipzig: Johann Friedrich Junius, 1780), 75. Return
to text

14. See Charles Bruneau, Petite histoire de la langue française (Paris: Librairie Armond Colin, 1966), 165. Return to text

15. See Bacilly, 260. Return to text

16. Bacilly, 307ff. Return to text

17. See Bérard, L’Art du Chant (1755); Lecuyer, Principes de l’art du chant, suivant les règles de la langue et de la prosodie
françoise (Paris, 1769); Raparlier, Principes de Musique, les agréments du chant, et un essai sur la Prononciation, l’Articulation
et la Prosodie de la langue françoise (Lille: P.S. Lalau, 1772). Return to text

18. Lecuyer, 19ff. Return to text

19. After Raparlier, who was obviously well acquainted with Bacilly and Bérard, the French approach to singing consonants is not
discussed again in a similar rational formulation until the writings of the noted singing teacher Manuel Garcia in 1847, when he
acknowledges the work of Bérard and Bacilly, and applies their technique to other languages and to works by Gluck, Mozart and
Rossini, among others. See Manuel Garcia, A Complete Treatise on the Art of Singing, edited and translated by Donald V.
Paschke (New York: Da Capo Press, 1975), 21ff. Return to text

20. Jean-Baptiste Bérard, L’Art du Chant, (1755), 96. Return to text

21. Translated by Sidney Murray, L’Art du Chant, Pro Musica Press, 1969. Return to text

22. See Bacilly, 48ff. Return to text

23. See, for example, Nigel Rogers, “Voices,” Companion to Baroque Music ed. Julie Anne Sadie (New York: Schirmer Books,
1991), 354. I am in complete agreement with Rogers regarding the limberness of the vocal tract required for executing passaggi
and with the difficulties of executing “rapid-fire ornamentation” using a modern operatic technique. Return to text

24. Bacilly, 141. Return to text

List of Audio Examples

Sally Sanford, soprano Catherine

Liddell, theorbo

Editor, 1/15/2003, revised 7/15/2005 and 11/22/2016: the original monaural data files for these examples were converted to
RealOne Player media files, and later to mp3 format.

Audio 1: spoken “Mama mia”

Audio 2: spoken “Ma mère”

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Audio 3: spoken “Comment allez-vous?”

Audio 4: excerpt from Berti, “Occhi se sete i giri”

Audio 5: excerpt from de la Barre, “Tristes enfans de mes desirs” -- French style

Audio 6: excerpt from de la Barre, “Tristes enfans de mes desirs” -- Italian style

Audio 7: excerpt from de la Barre, “Tristes enfans de mes desirs” -- modern style

Audio 8: excerpt from Monteverdi, “Lasciate mi morire” -- Italian style

Audio 9: excerpt from Monteverdi, “Lasciate mi morire” -- French style

Audio 10: excerpt from Monteverdi, “Lasciate mi morire” -- modern style

Audio 11: breath vibrato

Audio 12: throat vibrato

Audio 13: excerpt from Lully, Armide: “Plus on connait l’amour” -- with doubled consonants

Audio 14: excerpt from Lully, Armide: “Plus on connait l’amour” -- without doubled consonants

Audio 15: excerpt from Monteverdi,Orfeo: “Possente spirto”

Audio 16: excerpt from de la Barre, double for “Tristes enfans de mes desirs”

Return to beginning of article

This Version html prep. RJ 10/13/95, edited KJS 10/16/95.

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