Book sales and success stories
Many years after Science and Singing White produced two other books. The first, published in 1930, was Light on the Voice Beautiful, in which he brought together and expanded on many of the public debates his theories had provoked in the press.
Then, in 1938 when White was 75, came Sinus Tone Production. The rather touching dedication at the front of this, which presumably acknowledges the very bumpy ride his critics had been giving him for many years, is ‘To my wife, whose loving care has helped me through many difficulties’. (Indeed his second wife Edith, whose initial relationship with E.G.W. was as a governess to his three daughters by his first marriage, had been a great support to him, and a great supporter of his cause, since their marriage in 1927.)
This last book is the most practical of the three, explaining the method for learning what we now call White’s Technique – or as White put it ‘the exact procedure which will ensure the development of beautiful vocal tone’ – as well as its ‘curative functions’ for people with vocal problems. In the same year a fifth edition of The Voice Beautiful was also published, as ‘the result of a large demand’; so clearly the public wanted to know about White’s theories.
Indeed the public were very interested in White and his ideas. Poems even appeared on the subject of sinus tone production. One, written in 1932 by a Mr Horace Mills and called The Voice Beautiful, includes the verse:
‘So if you’d have your voice to grow
And blossom like a rare geranium,
Forget your larynx – let it go!
And cultivate your cranium.’
It’s not recorded whether E.G.W. appreciated this paraphrase of his theory, but given his sense of humour, he probably did. And he probably also appreciated the encouragement in the final verse to go out and buy his book:
‘Purchase his book (six shillings, net),
Mark well the wit and wisdom in it.
Then, if you persevere, I’ll bet
You’ll warble like a linnet.’
Actually the public was purchasing his book, in rather large numbers, and all over the world. Starting the trend which has continued to this day, the public were far more open-minded than the establishment about White’s revolutionary ideas. They had nothing to lose by accepting that established dogma was wrong, and everything to gain from a voice production method that sorted out their vocal problems and gave them the voice they wanted.
They were prepared to judge White’s methods on results, and there was plenty of well-documented evidence in the press showing that his methods really did work – most sensationally a report of how one man whose vocal folds had been destroyed when he was young, and two others who had been voiceless, were able to sing in public after studying with White.
How can E.G. White’s achievements be summed up?