Morell Mackenzie's the hygiene of the vocal organs: A study in longevity or durability

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction Morell Mackenzie's The Hygiene of the Vocal Organs: A Practical Handbook for Singers and Speakers (1886), is his only work that has been continually published into the 20th century. Why is this? Method The bibliographic history and details of all the editions from the first in 1886 until the ninth and last in 1928 were examined. Reviews and all other commentary about the book were ascertained though literature and library document searches. Results The book is still in use as the first edition is available online from the Cornell University library, and that hard copy was last taken out from that library on December 19, 1986, and returned with the fine paid on January 8, 1987. It was translated and published in Swedish, French, German, and Spanish. All of the editions are small, inexpensively bound, and printed on inexpensive paper so the cost was minimal in contradistinction to other works on the voice which are larger and expensive. To make it accessible for performers and practitioners, the contents of the earlier editions were modified by placing the technical, anatomical, and physiological information as an appendix. The book was in part criticized by Manuel Garcia in Felix Semon's German journal, Internationales Centralblatt fur Laryngologie, Rhinologie und verwandte Wissenchaften, McKenzie answered these critiques in the seventh edition and noted that Garcia did not know German and that the translator, Semon, was an antagonist. Mackenzie is emphatic in his advice to avoid singing when there's any sign of vocal difficulty. Conclusion The medical advice was, on the whole, good common sense and provided substantial authority for a person to decline a performance - how grateful the singers must have been for that! The Hygiene of the Vocal Organs: A Practical Handbook for Singers and Speakers was, for the professional voice users - singers, actors, speakers, and for their teachers and physicians, a useful, concise, small, inexpensive, and authoritative book. With these virtues noted, we can well understand why it remained in circulation and use for a century. In terms of the dissemination of ideas, this heretofore neglected work may be Mackenzie's most long-lasting contribution to laryngology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)522-530
Number of pages9
JournalLaryngoscope
Volume124
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2014

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Singing
Hygiene
Libraries
Otolaryngology
Social Justice
History
Physicians
Costs and Cost Analysis

Keywords

  • felix semon
  • history laryngeal photography
  • laryngology
  • manuel garcia
  • morell mackenzie
  • Professional voice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Morell Mackenzie's the hygiene of the vocal organs : A study in longevity or durability. / Ruben, Robert J.

In: Laryngoscope, Vol. 124, No. 2, 02.2014, p. 522-530.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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