From Farinelli to Frank Sinatra, the influence of Bel Canto is widespread and long-lived. It is a singing style which has relevance and merit for all singers – not just classical.

In this clear, and concise book, Michelle Nova and Patricia Collins examine the origins and history of Bel Canto – taking into account the subtle changes in terminology and phrasing over the generations – and explain vocal anatomy and show how to apply Bel Canto technique. Thereafter, they give practical information on word sounds, how to sing a song, methods of preparation, and learning techniques. Also included are valuable appendices covering vocal exercises and examples of singers who themselves use Bel Canto technique.

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(for non-UK purchases please contact Michelle direct here)

SINGING BEL CANTO - ART & SCIENCE ~ Michelle Nova & Patricia Collins

Reviewed by Maria Rivington ~ British Voice Association

Aiming for clarity, singing teacher Michelle Nova and Professor of Anatomy, Patricia Collins, fuse chapters of detailed explanations of the vocal anatomy - interspersed with practical, observational exercises and plenty of illustrations - with chapters outlining the key elements of Bel Canto principles; the “Imposto” (placing in the sinuses) the “Appogio” (breath/resonance in the head), the open, Italian vowels etc.

The structure of the anatomical chapters following the airflow through the body from inhalation to singing is well conceived. Practical exercises are detailed and further along, sections on pronunciation using songs as examples and a Glossary, are excellent.  As a semi-independent teaching tool, this is a very useful volume.

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I found the book to be informative, current, practical, and empirical just as the bel canto vocal technique it described. I needed a current source on bel canto for my master's thesis, and to establish the longevity of the bel canto tradition my earliest source was a 1967 reprint of the 1743 edition of a book first printed in 1723 in Bologna, Italy as well as other 18th, 19th, and 20th century sources. My professor was unimpressed-she wanted current sources, within three years, but she would make an exception and take a source within the last five years because of the age of my topic. Imagine my glee when offered this book, published in 2014, and I could have it in less than a week from England. I actually got it in four days and I read it the same day I got it! I know Michelle Nova has been instructed in Italian Bel Canto by her imagery and usage of Italian terminology, which I recall from my lessons in Bel Canto from my teacher, and I highly recommend Dr. Collins' anatomical illustrations and clarification of the process of voice production for anyone who is unfamiliar with this aspect of singing.