Classical Music/kharaj riyaz timing (base notes)
I used to do kharaj practice (base notes) earlier in early morning at 5 am.
But now due to some reason am not able to wake up early morning.
So practicing same riyaz at 9 or 10 am have same effect on vocals
Or i need to wake up 5 am only for better results.
Please help me on this.
Thanks for your mail and the confidence in my abilities.
First of all, sorry about the ridiculously long time of answering your inquiry.
I don't quite understand your question, but if I get it right you are asking me how the voice can be in best shape early in the morning.
First of all, the voice needs time to wake up.
When you have an early morning rehearsal or need to sing (I work as an opera singer), you need at least two hours of waking time before. Second, drink water to keep the vocal chords fresh and moist. While brushing your teeth, showering, etc. do some light vocalizing. Nothing dramatic, just testing your range lightly and softly, hitting soft high notes directly and low notes directly, gliding, singing favourite songs: it's like a sportsman before a game, only we are sportsmen of the voice. The longer we sing, the more difficult does our repertoire become and we need to keep our voice in shape. Low notes need width, scope, open chest, relaxed technique. Those tones are easier to reach early in the morning.
To the technique: on high notes, open your mouth wide, short consonants (just clear and short flashes of the syllable), tongue feeling the lower teeth.
I have written an article about vocal technique.
Hear it is:
By Charles E.J. Moulton
Working as a professional singer means maintaining a high physical endurance. A classical singer has to be heard over an orchestra of one hundred musicians. Composers such as a Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi wrote music for singers that have to use a three octave range well consecutively during a time span of four hours. More often than not nowadays, singers in repetory companies sing three or four performances every week in addition to rehearsing other operas in the mornings. This stress on the voice can only be achieved on the basis of a good breathing technique and a wide knowledge of the support.
The support surrounds the entire back and stomach areas. It is an elastic and flexible area closely connected to the work of the lungs. In fact, the work of the support involves all the areas of the body, beginning with the entrance of the air through the nostrils and into the throat and into the deepest part of the singer’s lung capacity.
When the singer’s support is expanded, due to the filling of the lungs, a contraction appears that boosts the voice upwards. It relieves the throat of all work. This is vitally necessary to keep a professional singing for decades, especially in this day and age. Competition is fierce, the demands are high, opera houses produce a wide variety of music and classical singers now sing many different kinds of music. It is not uncommon to find opera singers singing rock music or musical singers singing Schubert.
The articulation itself has to be clear, the consonants precise and to the point and the vowels open and round. When it comes to pronounciation, one can think of vocal work as a pyramid. In the lower register, the consonants are long and widespread. In the higher register, the consonants are short, leaving place for much longer and stronger vowels.
The traditional belcanto singing can benefit any singer, regardless of gender or musical preference. Belcanto means beautiful singing and has its origin in Italy of the 17th century. Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti were prime composers in the area. Legato, the art of long and connected tones in a melody, has an important place in this technique. The opposite musical stylistic manner is staccato, which are short tones, but which also can be used in belcanto as an artistic mannerism.
A singer never ceases to work on his voice. If he is smart, he works like the actor: constantly studying with teachers, perfecting his craft. It is said that a male voice reaches his zenith at 35. In that respect, the opera singer is like an athlete. He must be able to work his support to the maximum, interpret the role well, use his voice like the painter uses the paintbrush and tell a story with his own vocal technique. In addition to this, the composer’s often painstakingly exact criteria is followed to the minute detail. This fact makes classical music olympic in effort. Nothing is left to chance.
Whatever music a singer chooses to sing in the end doesn’t matter. Once he or she knows and has learned the classical craft of singing, he can use this skill to sing anything he chooses. Even steady rock ‘n roll work or singing a musical en-suite eight times a week won’t hurt him. Why? Because he knows how to protect his voice. His throat is never strained. Even public speakers should learn this craft. The singer has practiced and educated his support to serve as a buffer to protect him against all hindrances. There is a lot to be said for first learning the skill really well and then going off to use that skill to do what you want. A teacher of mine spent his entire first year at the music academy just doing vocal exercises and never singing a single song.
Now, a professional singer encounters many things in his work on stage. In the thirty years that I have been on stage, twentyfive of which I have spent singing, I have had to run, crawl, climb, carry and balance myself through many a production that all have seemed destined to create ways to make it difficult for the artist to work. I have been a troll, a bandit, a policeman, a king, a devil, a vampire, a woman, a medium, a pirate, a businessman, a janitor, a gardener, a doctor, an auctioneer, a hunchback, a schoolboy, a painter, a disciple and a butler. And imagine the stress of a four hour production that not only requires the hard skill of singing over a hundred piece orchestra, but also requires seven costume changes. Now imagine that three of these complete costume changes actually occur within a half a minute and that I even had to sing myself through one of these costume changes. Now imagine, furthermore, that the production entails for you to sing your work up in the galleries of the house and then run down and sing on the stage before you change and run down to the basement. There you crawl into sub-stage and are taken up in an elavator to stage level again.
A singer’s education has to be high standard today, simply because he has to be prepared for anything. His vocal technique has to be so good, that he can forget the technique itself.
That is the luxury of good vocal technique and the benefit of years of effective study.
Studious work, by the way, that never ends.
After all, an artist never ceases to learn how to improve himself.
That is the joy of creativity.
Here is another one about stage work in general:
CONCERNING THE THESPIAN CRAFT
A close look at the craft of acting and singing
By Charles E.J. Moulton
Traditionally, we are taught that the people who change the world are the hardliners, but the men and women who want to destroy life never bring the world forward to a brighter place. You might find them in the history books, but they are not the ones with the triumph. The people who dare to hope are the ones with the profit in the end. They are not brought down just because the world doesn’t live up to expectations. The soul does. The people who keep the world going are the ones who do not lose their capacity to love in spite of hardship. Talent gets you nowhere if you don’t know how to dig in and feel the heat. There are very huge talents with no career and bad actors that become genuine cult phonies.
Sensitivity is the artist’s game, but it is a sensitivity that needs a hard casing.
But what is the core of acting, the centre of that sensitivity?
Method, yes. Craft, yes. Physicality, yes. Security, yes.
Depth, voice, skill, movement, intelligence, truth.
But beyond the skill and the education, what is the core of acting?
I believe it to be love. Of course, the technique of acting is far more complex.
The core, however, is simple.
Let us, for the sake of structure, analyze love.
Without love we are a lost species.
With love we can have everything we want.
We can love our job or our profession. We can love our pet or our favorite neighborhood tree. We can love our wives, our children or our siblings.
We can love our mothers, our fathers, our teachers, our friends, our mentors, our interests and hobbies and we can love ourselves.
Love comes in a million shapes and sizes. It can be theological, philosophical, amicable, memorial, sexual, sensual, spiritual or habitual. Love is not just sex. Love is not just marital. Love is not just popular. Love is not just varied. Love is not just religious. It is all of these things and more. Narrowing love down to relationships or sex is like hoping that a loaf of bread will bake itself just by the appearance of flour, yeast, water and salt.
Why am I talking about love?
I just want you to introduce to an idea: without love we are useless instruments and basically there are just a few basic feelings. They are the rainbow from which all other feelings derive. Love is one of them. Fundamentally, we have to love what we do: our profession, our craft and our vocation. This is very close to the idea that whatever we do on stage has to come from a positive choice. The character we play can’t think he is evil.
He is doing something out of love.
He might just love hating someone, but he does love. He loves himself, freedom or fame.
I once again refresh my memory about Lee Strasberg.
He was born in the old Austro-Hungarian Empire and immigrated to New York City as a small child. At age sixteen he joined the Students of Arts and Drama course and was soon inspired to see the troop of Stanislawski ensemble players perform on tour in the States. This drove him to study acting and eventually become a prize winning director. In 1948 he founded the Actor’s Studio on the basis of Stanislawski’s teachings, but with a new American twist. It became The Method with a big M. People like Johnny Depp and Rod Steiger kept on referring to it as to what they did when they worked on the craft.
There are many roads that lead to Rome, as they say, and not every actor has to bring out sense memory to be good. Some prefer to remain technical. Clear is that the actor has to convey a sense of truth to the audience. Make them believe that what is happening is real and not pretended.
Acting is not pretence. It is making yourself feel how it is to be another person. That is the fine difference between what people think this profession is and what it actually is in real life. I don’t pretend to be someone. I usually choose characteristics from people I know and try to feel how it is to be them in that kind of scene or I choose situations from my own life and try to reproduce what it was to be in that circumstance.
So, in that way, acting is like a quilt. It is a patchwork of emotions that endeavours to recreate another human being’s map of spiritual work by recreating real emotions. It is not pretending to be someone. It is being someone else.
It is tough because you have to be so sensitive and feel so much in order to be real and then try to close yourself off to certain people who don’t mean well. That is why some artists are such divas. They turn to arrogant snobs, because they have been hurt too much too often. A factory worker or accountant can close his book at six and go home. We carry our work inside, because our work is equal to what we are. We use our souls as instruments on stage just as we use our bodies. We learn to talk like another person or walk like someone else. We learn to feel like someone else. That is what people miss. It is not that our professions are more important than our private life. It is that we use our souls on stage and we get influenced privately by our own emotional work
I mean that the essential reason why people go to the theatre is to see their own lives displayed on a stage in a different setting. If they see themselves in a better light or from another angle, then life is easier for them. We are just a mirror of their lives or we should be. Whatever goes on in society also happens onstage. This is a noble trade.
That is why even doing a show 700 times like I did in Vienna with Dance of the Vampires never really got boring, because every audience was different. The work was a code, similar to the license plate of a car. Mix two letters and three numbers and you get a million possibilities. Mix thirty actors and an endless array of people and you have to get a different situation every night. Basically, I could be humming The Star-Spangled Banner in F-Sharp Minor every night eight hundred times a year and it still would be interesting. I would never know what kind of audience was waiting for me out there. That is why film work is so different. You have to communicate with a crowd that is not there yet. They are just in the future. You are making love to a camera lens.
On stage you make love to the audience on the spot. I have known opera singers who get tired of a show before the premiere opens, who never want to do performances in the first place. That is the test of a real performer. No matter how talented someone is or how educated his real passion lies in not getting tired of what he’s doing only because his urge is to keep learning and surviving his profession just to keep it exciting.
I don’t know how gifted I am.
I am just passionate about my work.
I have been a professional since I was 15. I am now 40, which gives me twenty-five years of professional experience. Professional work is technically getting paid for work and in that prospect I have been on stage even longer. I was on stage even before I was born. My mother expected me whilst singing Ortrud in Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin.
So, actually, I was on stage before I was born.
I could give you a biography of my life, but that is not why I am here. I am here to give you a short summary of what stage work is all about. Professionalism is much more than getting paid. It is an attitude. Being professional is doing your work not in order to become famous, but in order to be true to your vocation by respecting your calling.
This is a craft. It is just as much a handiwork as being a baker or a tailor or a carpenter. The difference is that the tools a baker uses can be seen or bought. Our tools as actors are our own bodies and minds. Stage work to me means dancing, acting and singing. That is why we speak of the three crafts. Singing It’s Not Unusual’ in your bathtub is not real singing. Professional vocalization is an instrument that takes years to perfect. It involves teaching the support of your back and bowel muscles to give you the power to help your vocal chords produce the tones without effort. It encompasses producing sometimes two and a half octaves of tones within an aria and learning, step by step, where to sing loud or soft and where to smooth the melody out and where to make the tones hard and edgy.
These things have Italian expressions: piano, forte, portamento and staccato. Needless to say, we are talking about an athletic precision and a craft of educating muscular memory. Equally, dancing is drilling the muscles to recall certain habits and moves.
Acting is also a craft. How do you move on stage? How does a factory worker move as opposed to a priest? How does a taxi driver talk? He does not talk like an agent or a criminal or a baker. Is he Dutch or does he have a thick Cockney accent. Now imagine doing all these things simultaneously. You are in a musical, in a scene you are expected to sing a high F for four bars. That takes vocal work and years of training. At the same time, you have to twirl your female partner around and do a pirouette. That takes dancing skills, knowing how to turn your head and fix your eyes on one point in the turn so that you don’t fall down. At the same time, your character is angry at his girlfriend and you have to show this whilst singing and dancing.
In real life, though, that partner is lesbian and gives you zero feedback. You have to twirl from the back of the stage, singing your high F, and somehow look at the conductor whilst all this is going on.
This situation is maybe exaggerated, but not a lot. It describes what we do for a living. We take risks and we are frequently working in situations that need concentration. What we do may look easy and that is the point.
The work behind the stage is sweat. A large musical has at least ten or twenty stage hands, a light team, a sound team. It has a stage manager that calls out four hundred commands to thirty different departments on cue every night. He knows how to read music, because he needs to tell the departments when to lower a tree or raise a curtain.
He needs to do this right on the very note written in the score or some actor might get it on his head as he is entering the stage a moment later in the next bar. There are people working sixty feet up toward the roof of the house and there are people in the pits all lead by a director or a conductor that try to give you a good time. We work with relaxed concentration and rarely get the admiration we need. We get type cast and dismissed and yet we wouldn’t want to do anything else.
Acting is work. You take your time to read the play at least twice from the character’s point of view, before actually asking yourself where the guy you are playing came from. What made him get to the point he is at now? Why did he become a criminal, a schizophrenic or a baker? What did he do before his first scene and what does he do when he leaves the stage? You fill in the blanks between scenes and know what he does even when he is not on stage. What is his goal and why does he do what he does?
Is he after the girl or is he just hungry for cash? Is he confused or manic-depressive? You create a biography for him that leaves no questions open. You know that the character comes home from work before his first scene and leaves the house to get a pizza before the second scene and outside meets an old friend and comes back to tell his wife about it. You check the records and make a plan of where your character is at all times. That is dramatic continuity. We use or bodies and emotions to convey to you a sense of wonder. We try to tell you a story by holding a mirror in front of you that might be enlightening to your heart. People ask for messages in theatre. Maybe the message lies not in blunt psychology, but within something that simply is as old as time. We tell stories. Basically, that is all we are: storytellers. Like those old storytellers by the fireside, we don’t ask the story where it came from. It is obvious. The story comes from us, from our hearts and hopefully reaches the hearts of those want to listen to us give them something unique: our personality.
If you like, check out my webzine (a creative journal) The Creativity Webzine:
Hope all this helped you.