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Establishing Currency for the male Pharyngeal Voice

as Historical and Contemporary Classical Instrument.

Understanding and applying aspects of voce faringea (Pharyngeal Voice), or masculine-timbre falsettone, how they are applied to the bel canto repertoire of the tenor contraltino, Rossini baritenor and the haute-contre, and may be representative of the techniques of the Manuel Garcia tradition.  

Current summary of doctoral work:

Kenneth E Querns Langley is an RCM doctoral research student doing work in Bel Canto Historical Performance Practice to demonstrate across theory and practice a succinct and functional understanding of the nature of the head-voice based high tenor voices of the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries. Voice types such as the haute-contre, tenor contraltino and Rossini baritenor, used not just by Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti and others up to mid nineteenth century, and each had a high tessitura with upper vocal extensions sometimes well beyond top c" in voce piena in testa (full head voice). 

The technique used to achieve this is usually referred to as falsettone or voce faringea (Pharyngeal Voice). Using ethnographic research, extant treatises of the Bel Canto masters and his own living technical tradition, Ken has reconstructed this enigmatic and oft overlooked vocal phenomenon. He trained for 15 years with multiple vocal professors each in the direct technical tradition of Manuel Garcia, with only four historical professors through Mathilde Marchesi back to Garcia. He uses this living tradition, handed down from Porpora to Ansani, Manuel Garcia I & II through to the present day as a special filter to offer a distinctive understanding of the diverse treaties, and reconstructs the work of the authentic Bel Canto tenors including approaches to registration, fioratura, legato, messa di voce, head-voice and much more.   

Along side the performance practice and historical methodologies, scientific methods such as laryngoscopy and acoustic analysis are being used to create new working definitions of some of the more vaguely understood aspects these voice types, id est anterior phonation and pharyngeal voice (voce faringea) acoustics. It is hoped that through this research we will not only have a more well-rounded understanding of these vocal fächer, but that we will be able to restore some lost repertoire and perform it in a more historically sensitive way, creating modern-day premieres of works that have either been disregarded or transposed as to be sung by subsequent tenor types.  

Ken maintains a companion research interest in the importance of Britain in the history of bel canto and rare bel canto repertoire.  

Bel Canto Research

Ken is currently in his fourth year of a research doctorate of music in London at the Royal College of Music focusing on reconstructing historically informed singing practice of the bel canto tenors 1770-1850.

PEVOC Conference 2015

Poster Presentation .pdf

Mitridate - Mozart

Vado in contro .pdf

Anna Bolena - Donizetti

Ah cosi (excerpt)

Original key Eb .pdf

If you are interested in the research on bel canto Historically Informed Performance Practice, please get in touch.

+44 7881045726

[email protected]

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