In listening to the examples here, I wasn’t entirely sure that I could hear what I was supposed to hear. I think that is in part because, as a male singer, I have much more experience with the nuances of the male voice.

To me, it seemed as though Fleming example demonstrated more clarity than the Ponselle — perhaps it is Ponselle’s vowel color or the quality of the recording, but her voice sounds artificial to me, as if she is singing with cotton in her mouth, particularly at the 0:55-1:05 portion of the recording.

Due to my lack of experience, it is also difficult for me to know if the differences I hear between voices are because they are different voices or because of differences in technique. It would be useful to eliminate the different voices aspect and demonstrate what the same singer sounds like when they are using good technique and when they are using bad technique. I would imagine that examples could be found where a singer with otherwise good function sings a particular passage with poorer function. I know I do that all the time, but then again, I’m not a professional singer. . .

As well, it might be helpful to do a side be side comparison of some male voices. (I haven’t seen any on your blog, but perhaps I haven’t looked back far enough.)

OK, I hear what you are saying. The first thing that comes to mind is that this takes some time to develop. You might not hear what I’m talking about right away. Perhaps you recognize the process of developing a sense of pitch? When we start participating in music our sense of pitch is not very well developed compared to where it gets after a period of time working with it consistently. It is much the same for developing a sense of functional listening. The more you expose yourself to listening from this perspective the better you hear what people are doing. You can’t expect yourself to hear pitch with absolute precision with no experience. It is the same for this.

The second thing to consider is the unfortunate fact that the quality of the recordings are not what we have grown accustomed to. But if you have developed hearing you can still hear it on recordings like this. I remember when I was a student in college and I really didn’t care to listen to recordings like these. I didn’t think they sounded good. But if no one encourages you to do so you may miss out on some valuable lessons, eventually.

A key thing to recognize is the difference between listening to the singing as a performance and listening to the function.

I will keep your requests in mind as I put together future examples. I started with females because I have been accused of talking about Jussi Bjorling too much. But I have an excerpt from the Ed Sullivan Show with him and a couple females that are all good examples. But I will try and put something together that fits what you describe as well. Thanks.