What is Libero Canto?

Basic Principles

An Introduction

Libero Canto is a way of teaching singing that was first developed by Lajos Szamosi (1894-1977) in Budapest and Rome before and after the Second World War.

Szamosi spoke of his work as "la via al libero canto," (the path to free singing). Freedom in singing was not a new concept at the time. It had been an ideal in the classical singing tradition for centuries, and in the 1920's and '30's, particularly in Italy, it was still an intrinsic quality of the phenomenal mastery of the great singers who inspired Szamosi's ideals. Szamosi developed not a new way of singing, but a new way of teaching – a new way of restoring or developing the free response of the vocal organs.

A guiding principle of the Szamosi approach is that the capacity for singing is given by nature to every healthy human being. Singing emanates from the primary functions of breathing, giving voice, and communicating thought and emotion. These things are governed by an inborn wisdom that is deeper than our conscious control and that guides us if we allow it to. If we release the interference of excess tension and undue force, the body can become genuinely responsive to our musical imagination, and singing can have the spontaneity and vitality of true expression.

Two of Lajos Szamosi's children, Edvin and Hedda Szamosi, took up his work and developed it further over the course of nearly fifty years. Hedda taught primarily in Vienna, and Edvin taught in Vienna and New York until his recent retirement.

Now there are teachers influenced by or licensed to teach the Szamosi approach in many cities around the world, including New York, Budapest, and Vienna. (Please see Lessons & Workshops for more information.)