Music: Bel Canto of the Barroom

A package of 16 vintage LPs documents Sinatra's vocal art

"Let him learn the manner to glide with the vowels, and to drag the voice gently from the high to the lower notes," advised Pier Francesco Tosi in his book Observations on the Florid Song. "Let him take care that the higher the notes, the more it is necessary to touch them with softness, to avoid screaming. Let him take care that the words are uttered in such a manner that they be distinctly understood."

That was back in 1723. In the years since then,...

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