A History of Singing

A History of Singing

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John Potter, Neil Sorrell
Cambridge University Press, 2/9/2012
EAN 9780521817059, ISBN10: 0521817056

Hardcover, 358 pages, 22.9 x 15.2 x 2.1 cm
Language: English

Why do we sing and what first drove early humans to sing? How might they have sung and how might those styles have survived to the present day? This history addresses these questions and many more, examining singing as a historical and cross-cultural phenomenon. It explores the evolution of singing in a global context - from Neanderthal Man to Auto-tune via the infinite varieties of world music from Orient to Occident, classical music from medieval music to the avant-garde and popular music from vaudeville to rock and beyond. Considering singing as a universal human activity, the book provides an in-depth perspective on singing from many cultures and periods: Western and non-Western, prehistoric to present. Written in a lively and entertaining style, the history contains a comprehensive reference section for those who wish to explore the topic further and will appeal to an international readership of singers, students and scholars.

Part I. Imagined Voices
Mythology and Muses
Part II. Historical Voices
1. The genesis of the Western tradition
2. The emerging soloist and the primacy of text
3. The age of the virtuoso
4. The nineteenth-century revolution
Part III. Recorded Voices
5. A great tradition
singing through history - history through singing
6. Classical singing in the twentieth century
recording and retrenchment
7. Post-classical
beyond the mainstream
8. The emancipation of the popular voice
9. Sung and unsung
singers and songs of the non English-speaking world
Part IV. Sources and Reference
10. Sources

'A fascinating book … the authors are good at suggesting the social and political factors that influenced how singing evolved. And they vividly evoke those seminal moments when Western art-singing changed for ever.' Richard Morrison, The Times

'Fascinating … Potter and Sorrell are imaginative and acute with sometimes fugitive evidence.' The Guardian

'[Adopts] an attractive narrative style.' Opera

'This isn't just a good book for anyone interested in vocal music: it is an essential one.' Literary Review

'… it quickly becomes clear that the joint authors share an engaging prose style …' Gramophone Magazine

'Compulsive reading for anyone who wants to see and appreciate singing on a world stage.' Methodist Recorder

'The book is an impressive achievement … fascinating fragments of knowledge are dispensed.' Classical Guitar

'… there is something to fascinate in every paragraph …' BBC Music Magazine

'Considering a vast scope of subject matter that is difficult to cover in a single volume, this book provides important historical perspectives on many aspects of singing.' Choice