Vaccai Vocal Exercises

Vaccai Vocal Exercises – Vocalises

Vaccai Practical Method of Italian Singing.

The Vaccai Practical Method of Italian Singing has long been an indispensable introduction to classical singing and singing in Italian.  Rather than using scales and exercises, Vaccai uses a series of short songs each highlighting a particular skill and aspect of classical singing.

This compilation of 15 singing lessons date back to the early 19th Century when it was popular to vocalise along with piano accompaniment.  These video exercises have been re-created with both English and Italian lyrics and available in keys suitable for High, Middle and Low voice ranges.  These singing exercises are still used today in training the singing voice.  We have made the audio tracks available in the different keys to listen to or if you need to purchase them.


Lesson No 1 – The Diatonic Scale

Lesson 1 (part ii) Intervals Of The Third


Lesson 2 II – Intervals Of The Fourth



Lesson 2 II (part ii) – Intervals Of The fifth




Lesson 3 III – Intervals Of The Sixth



Lesson 4 IV – Intervals Of The Seventh


Lesson 4 IV (part ii) – Intervals Of The Octave




Lesson 5 V  – Half tones or Semitones



Lesson 6 VI – Syncopation




Lesson 7 VII – Runs and Scale Passages




Lesson 8 VIII – The Appoggiatura taken from above or below



Lesson 8 VIII (Part ii) – The Acciaccatura


Lesson 9 IX –  The Mordent


Lesson 9 IX (Part ii) Different Ways Of Executing The Mordent


Lesson 10 X – Introductory To The Gruppetto Or Turn

Lesson 10 X (Part ii) The Gruppetto


Lesson 11 XI – Introduction Of The Trill Or Shake


Lesson 12 XII – Runs And Scale Passages



Lesson 13 XIII – The Portamento


Lesson 13 XIII part (ii) – Allegretto





Lesson XV (Lesson 15 – track 21)


About Nicola Vaccai

VACCAI was born on March the 15th, 1790, at Tolentino, near Ancona, Italy, but the family soon moved to Pesaro, where they remained about twelve years. This is where Niccolò received his first instruction in music.  He was then brought to Rome for the purpose of studying law for around five years; then, renouncing this profession as distasteful.  He then devoted himself entirely to music, taking lessons in counterpoint under Jannaconi, and later { 1812) studying the art of opera composition under the guidance of Paisiello, at Naples. While in Naples he wrote two cantatas and other church-music; in 1814 his first opera, I solitari di Scozia, was brought out at the Teatro nuovoin that city.  Shortly after, he returned to Venice, where he stayed seven years, writing an opera , and also several ballets; yet none of these ventures succeeded in winning for their author even the evanescent vogue of an Italian opera-composer; he consequently gave over dramatic composition in 1820 and turned his attention to instruction in singing, a vocation in which he was eminently successful in Venice, Trieste and Vienna.

Again devoting his energies to composition, he wrote operas for several leading Italian theatres,  still without success; but few of his dramatic works became known abroad, among them being La Pastorella, Timur Chan, Pietro il Gran, and Giulietta e Romeo.  The last-named opera is considered his best, and its third act, especially, was so much liked that it has frequently been substituted for the same act of Bellini’s opera of like name, not only in Italian theatres, but even in Paris and London.  To the former city Vaccai journeyed in 1829, visiting London a few years later, and in both attained to great and deserved popularity as a singing-teacher.  Again returning to Italy, he recommenced writing operas, one of this period beingGiovanna Grey, written for Malibran, in honor of whom he composed, after her decease, in co-operation with Donizetti. Mercadante and others, a funeral cantata.  Most of these operas also met with hardly more than a bare succés d’estime.  In 1838, however, he was appointed to succeed Basili as head-master and instructor of composition at the Milan Conservatory, which position he held until 1841 when he retired to Pesaro.  Here his last opera, Virginia, was written for the Teatro Argentino at Rome.  He died at Pesaro August 5, 1848.

Besides sixteen operas, he composed a number of cantatas, church-music of various descriptions, arias, duets and romances.  Although unable to secure a niche among Italy’s favorite dramatic composers, Vaccai’s lasting renown as a singing-master shows that he was possessed of solid, if not brilliant, artistic attainments.  His famous “Metodo pratico di canto italiano per camera” [London, 1832] is still a standard work in great request, and his “Dodici ariette per camera per l’insegnamento del belcanto italiano” are scarcely less popular.

The general plan of the “Practical Method” is to render study easy and attractive, without omitting essentials.  No exercise exceeds the limit of an octave and a fourth (c’-f’’, transposable to suit any voice).  There are fifteen “Lessons,” which are not bare solfeggio on single vowels or syllables, but melodious exercises-for scale-practice, for skips of thirds. fourths, etc., up to octaves; on semitones, runs, syncopations, and all graces usually met with-written to smooth Italian verses.
The extraordinary and undiminished popularity of this method is attested by the numerous editions through which it has run; yet it is not merely the method for dilettanti, but can be used profitably in conjunction with any other system of voice-cultivation, being admirably calculated for strengthening and equalizing the medium register, for giving confidence in taking difficult intervals, and for enforcing habits of precise and distinct articulation and phrasing.