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hanging the jaw may exacerbate the

very problems such advice is in-

tended to alleviate.
The mandible is part of a compos-
ite structure that includes the
tongue, the hyoid bone, and the lar-
ynx. What a singer does with the jaw
directly affects the other members of
this compound mechanism, and de-
termines the shape of the resonator
system. The resonator tube - the
vocal tract - extends from larynx to
lips, and alters its position in reac-
tion to postures of the jaw and
The ramus (p1. rami) is the part of
the jaw closest to the ear. At the top
of the ramus is the coronoid process,
to which the temporalis muscle is at-
tached just in front of the condyle, a
knob-like projection located on each
side of the mandible. The condyle
articulates with a socket in the skull.
The jaw can be opened by relaxing
the temporals without dropping the
condyles from their sockets. It can
also be opened by an exaggerated
action that forces the mandible to
drop out of the socket-joints.
Vennard (1968) provides a good
description of possible jaw move-
. The hinge of the jaw is not
a simple pivot, and the jaw is
capable of sliding in several di-
The only published lessons given by
the legendary tenor and master teacher.
TI TLE : Jean de Reszke Teaches Singing
to E dith de Lys
SE COND PRI NTI NG: Limited edition 013008 vo
folio style copies
I NCLUDE S: 41 lessons -23 vocal exercises
230 notations
PLUS: Hitherto unpublished informal photos of Jean
and E dward de Reszke. Costumed photos of
E dith de Lys and biographical data of this star
of the golden era of Grand Opera. She ap-
peared with B attistini, Destinn, and Chaliapin in
the great houses in E urope from 1906 to 1919,
when she returned to America.
This edition in folio style has been prepared to permit libraries,
conservatories, teachers, etc., to reproduce I t on copiers for their
own or class use. E very music library and collection should have
a copy of this unique publication.
Copyright C1979, Catalog #TX561 -830- ISBN 0-686-28440-2.
Pub. L V OLAN. Price $15.00 per copy; Overseas, $18.00 in U.S.
Funds. Postpaid at Library Rate. For 1st class mailing add $1.00.
Full payment required with order, $10% discount on orders of 5 or
more copies. California residents add sales tax.
1162 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94707
(415) 525-2420
Richard Miller
The Role of the Jaw in Singing
Jaw tension is often a problem for
the singer. When there is tension in
the mandible (the lower jaw) there
generally is a corresponding rigidity
in the tongue muscles, which is sub-
sequently transferred to the level of
the larynx. Exercises to reduce jaw
tension are a part of most vocal pe-
Many jaw problems result directly
from concepts the singer has about
arranging ideal resonator "space."
A singer must know how the jaw ac-
tually functions most efficiently in
phonation if satisfactory solutions
to mandibular tension are to be
Unfortunately, there is a frequent
and illogical pedogogical reaction
when jaw tension produces the
clenched mouth posture or the dis-
tended or elevated chin: "Just drop
the jaw, thereby freeing it' Such a
suggestion may appear on the sur-
face to be appropriate; a number of
treatises on vocal technique could be
cited which suggest that "the idiot
jaw" (the dropped jaw) is necessary
to achieve relaxation and the avoid-
ance of tension. On the contrary,
Falstaff, 1985
thu \lcrrv \ (li ,ss I
rections for the act of mastica-
tion. As long as it is opening
simply by "relaxing" the tern-
porals with the condyles in
their sockets, it will not open
far. The maximum opening re-
quires the mandible to "slip
Out of the joint." This can be
felt by placing a finger in front
of each ear, near the bottom.
Here one can feel the rarnus, or
upward projection of the jaw
bone, on each side. When the
mandible really drops, the
raini are pulled forward by the
lateral pterygoids, making it
possible for the finger to sink
into a pocket in front of each
There are, clearly, two mechanical
modes for "opening" the jaw. It
could be questioned whether it is re-
ally the case that the jaw cannot be
well opened when the condyles re-
main in their sockets. The two ways
to open the jaw, the extent of desir-
able jaw opening, and the circum-
stances appropriate to both actions
need more careful examination than
often takes place in the search for
quick solutions to jaw tensions.
When the jaw hangs in the "idiot"
position, the mandible has its maxi-
mum excursion, dropping from the
sockets, and the pharynx may actu-
ally be constricted, not enlarged.
The buccal cavity then becomes en-
larged at the expense of the pharyn-
geal cavity, so that "mouth reso-
nance" is increased at the cost of
"throat resonance." As Caruso re-
minded us in an interview given in
1919, it is foolish to assume that
opening the mouth widely by drop-
ping the jaw produces more space in
the pharynx:
it must not be imagined that to
open the mouth wide will do
the same for the throat. If one
is well versed in the art, one
can open the throat perfectly
without a perceptible opening
of the mouth, merely by the
power of respiration
(quoted by Marafioti 1922)
It is not the increase in size of a sin-
gle part of the vocal-tract resonator
system that provides optimal
"space" for resonation, but rather
the nature of the coupling of the
chief resonators (mouth and phar-
ynx) as they respond to laryngeal
"hung" jaw, it is often overlooked
that such postures would be impos-
sible in speech because there could
be little vowel or consonant defini-
tion. The acoustic theory of speech
recognition stands in opposition to
sustained low jaw positioning. Cer-
tainly, clear articulation and intelli-
gibility are not compatible with the
"idiot" or yawning jaw. Speech re-
quires lateral and circular jaw move-
ment as well as limited perpendicu-
lar motion.
Emil Froeschels, generally consid-
ered the father of the science of pho-
niatrics, determined that the exter-
Opera at
Paul C. Boylan, Dean
G utav Niejer, NI u k;i I I )11Vct
Ja I .eengcr. Stage I ) rect r
Niart in Katz, Vocal l.iteraturc
\cc Hfl1),IflVtfl
Nlitchc'II Kricgcr. I )ici i >n ( )acItIIlg
Stanley Cornett
IiIie (;uinn
Lorna I-Iav\v( )t 5,!
1 n NIcC )l In ii
ill is C. Pal terM > 11
[t& .cnian Ri i.'-.,cI I
NI;irth;i Sliril
nal throat muscles involved in
chewing are also active in the shift-
ing patterns of speech. He discov-
ered that by combining the circular
motions of chewing with speech
sounds, such as "hm, hm, hm,"
primitive freedom of jaw and laryn-
geal movements could be recovered.
Friedrich Brodnitz (1971) describes
the relationship between chewing
and phonation:
. . Since voice is the result of
a complicated interplay of
structural and muscular func-
tion, all attempts at correcting
"The University of Michigan stages
opera productions that rival those
of professional companies.
- N ew sw eek
[ndt-rgradu-ak' and graduate dcgrc&-s
Inquiries: Admissions Office. School of Music
University of Michigan. 1100 Baits Drive
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2085 (313) 761-0593
In pedagogies that advocate the

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Sandra West
Tracey Chebra
Lindsey Christiansen
Judith Nicosia Civitano Glenn Parker
Thomas Faracco
Marvin Keenze
Musical Director
David Gately
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Kthrvn ()Isnn
Stage Director
Pratt '"Vocal Coaching
- "
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Princeton. New Jersey
Westminster's voice department otters outstanding career preparation for the aspir-
ing singer. Graduate and undergraduate voice majors study with internationally recog-
nized coaches and a voice faculty of active performers who provide consistent pro-
fessional instruction. Students sing in the renowned Westminster Choirs, performing at
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and soloists, The O pera Theatre presents a fully-staged production each year.
At Westminster, a singer's training only b e g i n s with the voice. We systematically build
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hyperfunction by focusing at-
tention on functional detail
disrupt easily the unity of this
function. For that reason, the
conventional instructions,
such as lower the jaw, flatten
the tongue, open the throat,
do not do justice to the total
phenomenon of vocal hyper-
function. What is needed is an
approach that corrects hyper-
function by an attack on the
hyperfunctional attitude
rather than on the hyperfunc-
tional detail.
By using the motions of chew-
ing for voice production, we
transfer the undisturbed mus-
cular teamwork of chewing to
the motion of voiced speech by
appealing to an inborn auto-
matic function. In doing this,
we not only reduce hyperfunc-
tional tension of the resonator
but also improve, at the same
time, vocal cord function.
Freedom to move the jaw loosely
is evident in chewing. Were one to
chew any substance with the up-and-
down jaw action advocated by some
vocal pedagogies, food would fall
out of the mouth. Were one to speak
with the same perpendicular action
required in some techniques of sing-
ing, speech would become unintelli-
gible. Lightly shifting the jaw from
side to side, regardless of the degree
of openness, while singing a pas-
sage, can often produce distinct sen-
sations of jaw freedom. At no time
should there be stiffness in the mus-
cles under the jaw (the chin area), as
so frequently happens in yawning
and in other devices for lowering the
The jaw drops from the sockets
during regurgitation, yawning, snor-
ing, drunkenness, idiocy, and death.
Regurgitation closes the throat so
that the esophagus may provide an
exit for what the stomach is refus-
ing; the characteristic sounds of
snoring are the result of enlarged
mouth space, with fallen velum and
altered pharyngeal area; in drunken-
ness and idiocy the clarity and tim-
bre of phonation is diminished; in
yawning the timbre of the voice is
distorted; and in death, when there
is no longer dynamic muscle bal-
ance, the jaw hangs unless held
closed by some mechanical means.
To indulge in any of these conditions
during singing is difficult to justify.
To tell the singer to "drop the jaw"
as a corrective to jaw tension is sel-
dom useful.
Indeed, the mouth can be opened
exceedingly wide without unhinging
the jaw, that is, without having it
"slip out of the joint."In hilarious
laughter, the jaw permits a great
deal of buccal space, and the lift of
the fleshy parts of the face that cover
the zygomatic area (the cheeks) is
obvious. Such a feeling of upward
lift in the area of the upper jaw con-
tributes to a different perception of
spatial arrangement of the mouth
and pharynx than does the sagging
jaw with its downward facial pull.
(There is, however, no need to main-
tain a lateral "smile"position in or-
der to avoid dropping the muscles of
the face.)
Tempero-mandibular joint (TMJ)
syndrome seems to be on the in-
crease among singers. It has been
suggested that this may be due to
some common orthodontic practices
of recent decades. One has only to
observe the exaggerated perpendicu-
lar jaw actions dictated by some sys-
tems of singing to find a more prob-
able explanation: one simply cannot
constantly hang the jaw in singing
without developing functional com-
plications. Many singers who have
complained of TMJ syndrome dis-
cover they no longer have that prob-
lem when they learn that they need
not hang the jaw in the hope of
"opening"the throat.
The "hung jaw"pedagogical
tenet has been much popularized in
recent years in manuals for choral
conductors and in introductory
methods for the novice singing
teacher. (Of course, dropping the
jaw, thereby increasing the dimen-
sion of the forward part of the
mouth resonator, will uniformly
lower all formants and will serve as a
quick antidote to the problem of
voices that do not easily "blend";
but the solution is a compensatory
one that often produces long-lasting
problems for the solo voice.) The
"hung jaw"theory stands in direct
opposition to a historical pedagogi-
cal position which maintains that
the jaw, not low fixation,
avoids tension and allows for free-
dom of articulation and proper reso-
nance balancing. The hung jaw sim-
is not a free jaw.
Unless pathological problems are
present, there is seldom any feeling
of tension in the jaw when one is in a
state of repose or during speaking.
(continued on page 32)
Were the "hung" jaw the constant, *********************
relaxed posture required by nature,
would all hang our mouths open we
Just Published

when breathing and phonating. . *
Both communication and physical
FIVE SHORT ARIAS - A. Scariatti - Voice and Piano *
attractiveness would thereby dimin-
TEN SONGS - Bizet - Voice and Piano
One of the best ways to achieve
--- *
jaw mobility is to permit the sounds
HANDEL Solo Cantatas
of language to be shaped according
.. (published separately)
to their natural postures as deter- Cantata:
mined by pitch and power. When we
Lungi dal mio bet numePartS, I'idolo mb
raise the pitch, we open the mouth
G. F. HandelG. F. Handel
more, but we retain the relative rela-
tionships among the vowel shapes.
Realization by Robert K. Evans
The notion that there is one ideal
. Voice and Piano
mouth (and therefore jaw) position
for singing is inimical to the acoustic
theory of vowel production, and crc-
ates an artificiality of expression, at
.. 0. ROSSINI *
the same time obliterating diction.
,, *
Attempts to move only the tongue
and from our catalogue
while maintaining a hung jaw, under
the assumption that one is thereby
SONG ALBUMS complied and edited by *
"relaxing" the jaw, will violate both .. BERNARD TAYLOR *
nature and art. It is not here implied
Classic Songs
that singing and speaking are identi-
Italian - French - English
cal; indeed, one almost never opens
High VoiceandLow Voice
the mouth as wide in speech as one $
does in upper-range singing. Desir-
Contemporary American Songs
able relationships betweenmouth
High VoiceandLow Voice
and pharynx, and the retention of
articulatory accuracy in singing can
The Soldier tir'd of War's Alarms
only be accomplished by dynamic as .. ThomasAm. 1710-1778Soprano *
opposed to static postures of the This magnificent show piece is once again available, after being out of print
for several years ......This aria has been recorded by both
Beverl y Sills and
To assume that a habitually low-
Dame Joan Sutherland and has appeared often onrecital programs....
ered jaw posture, as a means of "re- Songs by LACHNER - Voice and Piano
laxing" the jaw, is appropriate for with opt. French Horn or Cello
singing is to ignore both the struc-
ture and the acoustics of the singing
Cove iSongs
lateral /circular loose movement of
the jaw provides a far more efficient
4 K Soprano, Cello and Piano
solution to jaw tension than does
James Mulholland
telling the student to hang the jaw. It
--- *
should be kept in mind that there is
no one ideal mouth position in sing-
ing: the vowel and the pitch deter-
mine the shape of the mouth, and
therefore the position of the jaw.
Warm as the Autumn Light
Tabor'sLove Song
Each Aria Is Published Separately
(in the original Vocal key)
Brodnitz, Friedrich (1971). Vocal Rehabilita-
tion: A Manual Prepared for the Use of
Available at Outstanding Music Stores Nationwide *
Graduates in Medicine,4th ed. Rochester
MN: American Academy of Ophthalmol-
ogy and Otolaryngology,
Marafioti, Mario (1922). Caruso's Method of
PressP.O. Box 669
Voice Production. New York: D. Appleton; -
reprint 1981, Dover,
Bloomington, Indiana 4 74 02 *
Vennard, William (1968), Singing: the tsfech-
anism and the Technic. 5th ed. New York:
Carl Fischer, p.1l8.