1.4.3 Sound Attack

Attack (from Old English word attaque - assault) in vocal technique means the beginning of sound, i.e. the initial moment of interaction of the vocal cords and the breathing.

There are following types of the sound attack:

the very hard (explosive) one: a strong push of the air from under the vocal folds causes the vocal folds interlock denser and deeper;

the solid one: the subglottic air breaks tightly closed vocal folds under the remained pressure and causes them to vibrate with most of their mass.

the soft one: a relatively light contact of vocal folds at the time of the sound;

the very soft (aspirated) one that occurs with an incomplete closing of vocal folds, because there is a certain amount of air between them.

There is not and cannot be the only one correct sound attack, as there are many ways to start the sound according to the nature of the performed artwork. However, the sound attack with a strong push of voice is itself harmful to it and should be used carefully and as little as possible. Sometimes it is required by the emotional state of the roles in Russian operas, or dramatic parts, especially in verists operas (by Leoncavallo, Puccini, Mascagni, Giordano, etc.), but the singer must be able to apply this manner without damaging his voice. In all cases the flow of sound should be soft, with no forceful pressure. Of course, this should not be confused with weak sound, which is often due to illness or lack of singing tone. Nor beginning with the staccato can be confused with a harsh sound attack because these techniques are different. It is very important to start exactly and to intonate the note purely. Many singers, not only famateurs and students, but also experienced professionals, have such a sin - an "unclean" and inaccurate tone. Here are three main cases of wrong intonation:

1) A note "slides" up or down, usually down at its very beginning.

2) A note is immediately taken unclean.

3) The singer cannot get on key instantly, and before taking the note he touches slightly some other ones as a grace note or a quick approach.

You should "fight" with a dirty", inaccurate sound from the very beginning of taking lessons. Imprecise intonation is more common in the top notes, so you should first obtain the exact sound in the midrange, gradually expanding it as a whole. Often an inaccurate sound can be a result of forcing, so it stops immediately when there is no forcing. Sometimes it is the result of a sluggish sound formation. In all cases you have to understand the reason first, and then you can choose a method to correct it.

But you should be used to a clear sound attack in the larynx, so you should control yourself. In maintaining a stable precision of the voice tone the proper formation of the sound and the tuning of vocal tract are equally important.