A rant about the supposed supremacy of technique


My biggest operatic pet-peeve is people getting hung-up on technique. Now I’m not a singer but I know technique is the foundation of every skill. However one poignant lesson I took with me from my most influential arts teacher was “now forget everything you’ve learned”, which means getting liberated from the of prison of technique. Yes, technique is the bedrock of every metier, but once you’ve assimilated it you need to spread your wings and use it as necessary. Otherwise you’re just making etudes until the end of days and etudes are fine and dandy but they’ll never be masterpieces.

I know we all have our idiosyncrasies but my god, some people always need to shoehorn their favourite singer and his/her strengths in every damn conversation, whether it’s got anything to do with said singer and his/her strengths or not. I like talking about my favourite singers, too, and maybe I sometimes do more than I should. Certainly I value their strengths best, hence why they are my favourites. But I can understand that not everybody shares my tastes if for no other reason than we are all different.

I’ve lost count of the amount of times I heard people say vibrato is a no-no. Really? Why, because it’s trendy now to use less? And trendy where? Certainly not in r’n’b. Which reminds me of all the people who say they can’t abide operatic singing because of the wide vibrato (who are those singers with such wide vibratos, anyway?). As if there was no vibrato to be found in pop music. What I think they really mean is they have trouble with supported singing, because it sounds funny. Maybe I’m wrong. Another one is legato: Omg, omg, omg, there’s no singing without legato! Yes, we get it, it’s important; very important, in fact. But it’s not like you always have to use it or else – unless it’s belcanto. What is singing, after all? It’s expressing emotion via the mechanism that expels air from the human body. And some emotions aren’t smooth, innit. Let alone that there are many techniques, some of them considered “dangerous”. So they shouldn’t be used? It’s like saying you shouldn’t drink wine because you might become an alcoholic. Yea, only do safe things all your life and see what you’ve got to think back to when you’re 80.

In fine arts you’re supposed to always go for proportion. The artwork should be proportioned as it’s pleasing to the eye. A picture should be composed using the rule of thirds. But should you always do that? What if you want the picture to look unbalanced and not-so-pleasing to the eye? Eh? So, people, keep an open mind when it comes to technique. There’s no law of nature that says there’s only one way to do something. In art as in life, everything depends on the context.

About dehggial

Mozart/Baroque loving red dragon

Posted on May 31, 2014, in freeform weekend, lists, rants & occasional humour, rants, weekly on opera, innit?. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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