High Notes

Opera singing is a sport as well as an art.
In recent weeks I played around with some sounds and discovered that my range had expanded quite a bit.

Not that I can achieve any great artistic quality up there, but the sheer fact that it went to D7 (European D”’) was an exhilarating surprise.
And all those years I kept hearing that with age your voice tends to get lower and the top notes are the first to go. Well, either I am not all that old or the developing technique can turn back time.
There is a lot of controversy on human highest notes. The Wikipedia article on this subject is a total mess, in one place saying that famous soprano Mado Robin sang up there in her “modal” register and in another, that she used the “whistle”. Is the whistle part of falsetto or is it above the falsetto register? Is it “supported” or “unsupported”?

Few people produce those sounds, nowadays ultra high sound are used mostly by pop singers. The not-so-well known classical and contemporary virtuoso of the high notes is Polish soprano Olga Szwajgier. She actually sings to the limits of hearing and has pieces composed especially for her exceptional range.

I went to one of Olga’s workshops and it left a lasting impression of me. It was most enlightening, but not by what she showed or explained but rather by what she didn’t. A very secretive singing master! In the two-day session I attended she vocalized only once, for a few seconds, on vowel “E”. I will remember that vibrant “EEE…” for as long as I live. It filled the whole room with electricity. Other than that, she used relaxation and visualizations to help people produce their own sound, which for me is one of the best ways to start, if you are interested in serious singing, but not the whole deal.
Over the years I have built my own method of working with voice, however, I am not as secretive as Mrs. Szwajgier. In my coming workshops I will explain how you do it!


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