Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Bel canto is a term of nebulous meaning and inconsistent usage. Probably the most comprehensive interpretation of bel canto is an ideal of vocal excellence, a vocal technique, and a style of performance identified with the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Recent publications concerning vocal pedagogy and performance practices illustrate an efflorescence of interest in bel canto. The significance of bel canto to contemporary vocal pedagogy has become a topic for theses and dissertations. In view of the revived interest in bel canto and its significance to contemporary vocal pedagogy, it is apparent that the teachings of the old bel canto masters were based on sound pedagogical principles. It is conceivable that these pedagogical principles would have significance for other disciplines as well. The first purpose of this study was to establish the significant pedagogical concepts and principles of bel canto. In order to establish these concepts and principles, a review of selected primary and secondary sources of bel canto was implemented. As a result of this review, the following ideal performance concepts and objectives of bel canto were derived: (1) Demonstrates a beautiful tone quality at all times. (2) Demonstrates agility and virtuosity in performance. (3) Demonstrates a smooth, pure legato and sustained unbroken phrase. (4) Demonstrates perfect intonation as a result of proper tone production. (5) Demonstrates an unhindered deliverance of musical expression. These five bel canto concepts of performance provided motivation for the formulation of the following bel canto pedagogical principles: (1) The Bel Canto Principle of Ear Training; (2) A Graded Progression of Exercises and Techniques; (3) The Absolute Perfection of Each Level Before Progression to the Next; (4) The Comprehension of the Method and Its Application. The second purpose of this study was to establish the feasibility of a comparison of bel canto pedagogical concepts and principles to corresponding pedagogical concepts and principles derived from brass and trumpet literature. In order to accomplish this purpose, a review of selected books, dissertations, theses, and periodicals concerning brass pedagogy was implemented. The result of this review of selected brass and trumpet pedagogical literature demonstrated that the derived concepts and principles of bel canto were also fundamental to effective brass pedagogy. Therefore, it was determined that there is indeed the feasibility of a comparsion of bel canto pedagogical concepts and principles to brass and trumpet pedagogy. The final purpose of the study was the application of bel canto pedagogical concepts and principles to trumpet pedagogy and performance. This purpose was accomplished through a series of practical musical exercises for the trumpet. These practical exercises for trumpet were designed in order to benefit serious trumpet students and instructors in solving various performance problems. The practicality of the exercises was demonstrated through their application to selected existing trumpet studies. The exercises were accompanied by a text which indicated the proper utilization of the exercises within a total program of trumpet study. In order to authenticate and substantiate the application of bel canto pedagogical concepts and principles to current brass pedagogical practices, a number of brass authorities were asked to evaluate the study. The result of this evaluation determined the study was in accord with current brass pedagogical practices. The application of bel canto pedagogical concepts and principles to trumpet pedagogy through practical exercises does not purport to establish either a new or a complete method for trumpet. On the contrary, the purpose of this study was to provide insight into pedagogical techniques and a philosophy that facilitates the solution of certain facets of trumpet performance through solution of musical problems.