“Observations on the Florid Song” by Pier Francesco Tosi (1723)

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cover21 Observations on the Florid Song by Pier Francesco Tosi (1723)

“Opinioni de’ cantori antichi, e moderni o sieno osservazioni sopra il canto figurato” (1723) As the first full-length treatise ever to be published on singing, Tosi revealed to the world the secret method that accounted for the unworldly vocal abilities of the famous castrati. Living in a Europe alight with the virtuosic Baroque operas of Handel, Scarlatti and Porpora, Tosi revealed that it was extensive training in the “Old Italian School” of singing that cultivated the beautiful tone and expression of their voices, as well as the infamous mezza di voce, trills and runs. What’s more, Tosi revealed that the method worked equally well for any voice type, male or female, provided that its principles and techniques were adhered to with exactness and consistency. Written by one of the most famous singers and voice teachers of the early 18th century, Tosi’s Opinioni has remained an indispensable text on the bel canto singing method, as well as Baroque stylistic techniques.

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