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Brilliant article - thanks for sharing!

David Eickstaedt

Hi Claudia

I have read Eugene Feuchtinger's book where he claims he has discovered an amazing technique involving the hyoglossus muscle. THere is a website, perfect-voice.com which has a short video which shows the "proper singing movements' of the tongue, involving the lowering of the base of the tongue. I take it from your comment on the hyoglossus above that you do not agree with Feuchtinger's 'discovery'......is is possible to lightly engage this hyoglossus and not bear down on the larynx?



Claudia Friedlander

Hi David,

I had a look at the video you're referring to. Feughtinger recommends a "grooved" position of the tongue, so he would seem to be advocating for engaging the hyoglossus as well as tensing up the other components of the tongue that create this deep groove; in the video I think he is also advocating for singing with a lowered soft palate/uvula.

These days most vocologists and vocal pedagogues are in agreement that the ideal position for the tongue is usually in an appropriately arched position, with no retraction/depression of the hyoglossus; there is also wide, albeit not universal, agreement that for classical singing, the soft palate should sustain a raised position closing off the nasal port except when the demands of articulation require that it be otherwise.

Creating a deep groove in the tongue and dropping the soft palate is one means of shaping the resonance space. If Feuchtinger and his disciples are able to elicit great results from their students with this approach to articulation and resonance, then clearly it works for them. However, I do not find this is the most effective way to shape resonance - it runs counter to the way I approach articulation and resonance in my own teaching of technique.

I can see no advantage to lightly engaging the hyoglossus. Doing so will necessarily create some degree of downward pressure on the larynx, because the hyoglossus originates in the hyoid bone, from which the larynx is suspended. But I also don't think you can evaluate the effectiveness of doing this outside the greater context of what Feuchtinger proposes.

I will say, however, that I find it seriously off-putting when a method lays claim to "superiority" and "perfection" the way this web site does! They say, "We are the only course in the world to go into such intense detail to explain how the voice is produced and how it is possible to correct it and develop it." You can't imagine that someone like me to take such language seriously. There is plenty of bad instruction out there, but there are also dedicated teachers conducting valid research and training outstanding singers who would never make such outlandish claims! I realize that you are asking my opinion about Feughtinger's ideas rather than promoting this web site, but wow!

So, in short, what Feughtinger is advocating is a specific technique for developing resonance and articulation. I wouldn't go so far as to call it a "discovery," though, because it is not the *only* way to develop resonance and articulation, and strong arguments (also based on anatomy and physiology) can be made in favor of others.


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