Thursday, July 30, 2009

Batti Batti-ing my Head in Frustration

So basically I've taught this to myself. I think I went over the rhythm with my voice teacher at our last lesson. Then I listened to Cecilia Bartoli and others while following along in the music.

The accompaniment was ridiculously fast. Same guy played the accompaniment for Una Donna - he obviously had a golf game to get to. So I put it into Garage Band and slowed it down a little.

Then, since I was home alone this evening, a rarity, I recorded myself singing this about 15 times. I took the four best and, using iMovie, edited them using the best parts of each. Well, sort of. That got tedious pretty quickly, so really I guess you could say I edited parts in to cover mistakes. So I edited out the worst parts. And of course there are still many mistakes. But you should have heard how I was when I first started learning it.

So I'm struggling with breath control and high notes. And low notes. And what's with the lurching forward? That's new.

I could say a lot more about what's wrong with this, what many challenges I have to overcome and all that. But since it's time for me to go to bed, I'll try to end on a positive note... This is a very difficult song and I'm impressed that I got through it. A year ago I never would have believed I could do it, and prior to studying voice it never would have crossed my mind. So in spite of how crippy this sounds, I'm proud that I've gotten this far. My journey is still only just beginning, and it'll last for the rest of my life.


Caitlin C said...

Sounds pretty good! Apart from being hard, "Batti, batti" is also quite long - definitely a piece to keep one busy. You might try practicing the whole thing making only the vowel sounds (so it ends up being "ah-ee ah-ee o eeeh ah-eh-o" etc.). That'll help the sense of continuity and legato within your phrasing, and it ends up being quite a work out in breath control. I also find practicing songs on the "bbbbb" raspberry/motorboat sound really helps with figuring out how your body should be using the breath, especially on the trickier parts of a song. The idea being that you build your muscle memory for the song from the "bbb" exercise and it'll make your singing with the real words appropriately supported, etc. etc.

I had to sing this song a few years a go. It's definitely a challenge, and Mozart inevitably makes you a better singer. Good luck!

Susan said...

Thanks! I've done the vowel-only thing but you're right, it's time to do it again.

My hope is that in several months I'll be using this as a "before" and will upload a much-improved "after" version.

Thanks for all your advice and encuoragement!

Susan Eichhorn-Young said...

I finally listened! Brava!!! This is deceptively difficult aria for so many reasons. I can hear your work and your concentration! There are moments of real balance of resonance where the voice is full and warm and buoyant. It just hasn't discovered consistency in this aria yet! Watching you without sound first, and then listening it is actually simple: you aren't really breathing! I know that may sound bizarre, but your breath isn't staying buoyant long enough and therefore your support loses its elasticity when you DO breathe! The breath should stay tangible at all times - how you take it/when you take it/how you play with it! If you are working on maintaining an intensity of buoyancy with your AIR then all things begin to develop in succession!! Congratulations!

Susan said...

Ohmygoodness Susan thank you so much for your advice and encouragement!!!!!

Funny, I wrote about controlling breath in a subsequent post, before I saw (or before you wrote?) your comment, but your comment really helped me understand - now that you put it into words, I can understand so much better what it is I was unable to define.

I wonder if I should sit down with the music and actually plan where to breathe. I wonder if that would help or make things choppy. I'm also going to be GOOD about breathing exercises, pushing air out on a FFFFF sound and all that. And I'll use the mirror.

Thank you thank you thank you!!!