What follows is Cornelius Reid writing about the “break” from his article “Functional Voice Training”which originally appeared in Journal of Orgonomy; Part 1 in Vol. 4, No. 2, November 1970, and Part 2 in Vol. 5, No. 1, May 1971
“Almost all voices of any stature present a problem during training because of the break occurring in the vicinity of F, above middle C. Unless this problem is resolved successfully, smoothness and evenness of scale and, consequently, a good legato are impossible achievements. The break is caused by discrepancy in the balance and development of the registers. It occurs at virtually the same pitch in all voices. With women’s voices, it will be found in the lower tonal range, and with men, in the upper tonal range. The reason for the seeming discrepancy is that women sing an octave higher than men.
While the break must be dealt with effectively during training, it must not be
looked upon as a vocal malaise. On the contrary, it is only the better-formed voices that have to face this problem, as those which are perfectly smooth in scale are limited very often to lyric singing of a sweet and pretty kind. Such voices can never sing freely until the gap in the voice has been opened and a new program of development and integration begun.
There are several ways the break can be eliminated, but, regardless of the approach selected, certain conditions must be met:
- the mechanism must be joined at maturity, i.e., after each register has been brought to its fullest strength and development,
- an equitable balance between them must be established so that they cooperate in their activity rather than conflict, and
- inhibitory tensions in the form of throat constriction or perhaps faulty resonance adjustments must be eliminated.