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Steven Fraser

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Steven Fraser last won the day on July 8 2019

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About Steven Fraser

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    Subject Matter Expert & Review Specialist

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  1. Hi, Vasil. The book is published by Scarecrow press, though right now they are out-of-stock. You can track availability at http://www.scarecrowpress.com/ISBN/9780810813700/Coffin's-Overtones-of-Bel-Canto-Phonetic-Basis-of-Artistic-Singing-with-100-Chromatic-Vowel-Chart-Exercises The list price is $US 85. Scarecrow also publishes Barbara Doscher's 'The Functional Unity of the Singing Voice'. Doscher studied with Coffin at Colorado, and then continued his pedagogy there on the faculty.
  2. JJ: Several thoughts on this. What you suggest, working outward from a neutral position of \ ə \ , is very reasonable, especially when working with a student with unnecessary tension. I try to keep in mind that the audience, once they have heard a singers /i/, /a/ and /u/, automatically calibrates to the singer's voice, and from then on in a performance, has little issue understanding them, even if they are singing different text from others who are singing at the same time. This calibration happens in our hearing for speaking voices, too, which is what allows us to understand strong
  3. Felipe, JonJon: You both make excellent points. On an acoustic level, as the fundamental rises the harmonics are less and less likely to align with the 1st and 2nd resonances, which are used by the listener's ear to discriminate the vowel. (I don't use 'Formants' here, because that is the term for the resonance peak that is _lacking_ in our situation). Yes, information, in the form of harmonic amplitude and Formants, is lost during the upward scale. However, in good singing, the 'perception' of the vowel in the mind of the listener is what I was going for. I did not expand on it then
  4. Hi, All. Its late, so just a short post for now. Here is some of my perspective on your topic. Given a choice in the matter, singers choose the vowels that are consistent with they way they conceive the song should be done, that is, consistent with their musical and aesthetic choices for it. It does not matter if they have been trained in a genre, or just grew up with it, the statement still applies. The issues come when a vowel choice which is perfectly reasonable for one range, does not work well in another. For the male voice, singing lower fundamental notes, there are very m
  5. Hi, Robert. If you would like an article, I'd like the opportunity to craft it better, and fill it out with other relevant references to what Coffin actually did in the studio. His approach to vocal pedagogy, which he taught at UC Boulder (and took to SMU, Dallas as visiting professor, and also while resident in Vienna), was continued at Boulder by Barbara Doscher (The Functional Unity of the Singing Voice) and Dr. Patti Peterson, who studied with Doscher. Under fair use, I could pull together some of the web comments made by others about what he did in the studio... how he used
  6. Hi, JJ. I have put the question out to a friend who studied with Coffin at UC in Boulder... In the meantime, I found a quote from Shirlee Emmons that indicated that they knew each other from singing on the first tour of the Robert Shaw Chorale, in which they both sang. So, I would have to answer your question with a 'Yes, He sang!' at this point. Knowing the quality of singer Shaw recruited for the Chorale, I would have to guess he was quite accomplished. I will let you know further info I get from my friend. I agree with this impression. Its one of t
  7. Hi, All. Since Robert mentioned me, I thought I would chime in. I can speak a bit to the references about Berton Coffin, who taught at the University of Colorado, some of whose students I know. To call his approach a 'method' is a little too expansive, I think. He was, by training, a Physicist, and applied a strong acoustical perspective to singing. if you want, you could reasonably say that he took Gunnar Fant's treatise on 'The source-filter theory' and systematically applied it to vocal studio work. He used, in the studio (per his students I have discussed this with) two t
  8. I vote to hear it, first. All speculation before then is not worth time.
  9. Hi, singing is a creative art, and people take it personally. I do. We wrestle with the art on technical and interpretive levels, and strive to achieve the ideal, the perfection we have found inspires us. We discover, or learn, what aesthetic to apply to the situation and the music...doing so over many, many years in most cases. one thing that rarely happens in musical productions is the building of the 'team'. Even without the egocentric tendencies of the art, arising from the strong, inner drive to create what has been imagined, it is very, very hard to build camaraderie
  10. Hi, TMV-ers! I thought it would be useful today to write a bit about how I approach and talk about vocal technique, in the hope that by putting these ideas out there, you can pick and choose some of them that make sense to you, and that you will hopefully find useful. As a starting point for this, I am inspired to recall an idea I read in Cornelius Reid's book, 'Voice - Psyche and Soma'. I cannot remember the exact quote, but the gist of it is that the mind and the body are acting together to produce the singing voice. I think this means for vocal technique that singing is si
  11. 'Vocal Strength and Power' by Dena Murray Interview Steve: Hi, Dena! I understand that your new book on singing has just been published. Would you tell us a little bit about it? Dena: This is a book that has been 15 years in the making. From the time I started teaching (over 20 years ago,) I knew there was a problem with the prevailing concepts of diaphragmatic support. Singers were injuring themselves from too much pressure and misperceiving instructions. Steve: Do yo mean that the usual "singing teacher's lingo" was not helpful in leading the student in what the
  12. Starting Off This will be a short post, with much more to come later. I am happy to be a part of this group. I will likely be posting quite a bit in the areas of vocal technique and concepts for the younger or beginning singer of whatever age. I like to help folks improve and enjoy their singing more. Feel free to post technique questions to me, and I will do my best to respond in a respectful, thorough and clear way. Steve
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