The Archives


“I have devoured the writings on voice by Cornelius Reid and visited one of his Master Classes in New York City. The most important thing one can learn from them all is to allow the voice to function according to one’s own particular instrument rather than making it happen. I have followed this practice all of my 50 years of singing.” –Grace Bumbry

The Cornelius L. Reid archive is comprised of 683 voice lessons and classes recorded in CD and DVD format, and is housed in the Moffett Library of Midwestern State University. New material is being added as it becomes available. The archive is available only on site. Arrangements to access the material can be made by contacting Allison Breen, reference librarian, at: 1-800-259-8518.

Questions about the archive may be directed to Dr. Don Maxwell, professor of music, Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Texas, by email:

The archives will be made available on this site soon.  Please submit your email address below if you would like to be notified when they are available.

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Miss Bumbry also has this to say, I cannot praise Cornelius Reid enough for giving us the audio/visual aids to the proper way of singing and hope that this material becomes obligatory reading, hearing and visual material for every serious school of music interested in the healthy voice.” 

The Free Voice New Edition

The Free Voice has been republished by Oxford University Press. 

Reid_Free alternate_HR

Click HERE to Purchase.

Here is an excerpt from Chapter Five, Aesthetic Judgment:

There are many influences at work in determining quality. But beyond such factors as technical condition, aesthetic goals, and musicality, there is a quality which is intrinsic to the personality and the mechanism itself. This “natural” quality is determined by anatomical structure, combined with peculiarities of temperament. The thickness of the vocal cords, the size and shape of the cavities of the mouth, throat, and head, all contribute to a state of being that fixes the boundaries of ultimate potential. The way the instrument is used, however, alters the character of the tonal emission and to a considerable extent leaves potential unrealized. According to the efficiency of the vocal response, quality will be either a true or false likeness of the intrinsic timbre. As the natural quality of the voice is almost always unknown because of mechanical imperfections, no attempt should ever be made during training to cultivate what is thought to be the natural quality. Genuine tone quality can only be revealed by purifying the vowel quality and correcting the imbalances within a maladjusted registration.