If you hang around musicians who perform music of the 20th and 21st centuries, you’ll have heard the term ‘extended techniques’ being thrown around. These are sounds you’re not taught to make in conventional classical music instruction. But they’re also sounds that require real expertise in the manipulation of your instrument; you really do need the foundations of classical training to execute them with the finesse hoped for by the composer. Presumably the time will soon come when these sounds areroutinely taught, perhaps in the later stages of a musician’s training. At present, they’re mostly sounds that are addressed by performers case by case, piece by piece, and one builds a toolkit of technical approaches to realising them.

One example of an extended technique for voice is ingressive singing, in which you produce pitch and melody while inhaling rather than exhaling. If you want to try this one at home, a good place to start is to make the sound you might make when you are surpised or shocked. You draw your breath in very sharply and there’s...

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