Vocal Authority: Singing Style and Ideology

Vocal Authority: Singing Style and Ideology

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Cambridge University Press, 1/12/2008
EAN 9780521027434, ISBN10: 0521027438

Paperback, 236 pages, 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.5 cm
Language: English

Why do singers sing in the way they do? Why, for example, is western classical singing so different from pop singing? How is it that Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé could sing together? These are the kinds of questions which John Potter, a singer with the Hilliard Ensemble and Red Byrd, and himself the master of many styles, poses in this fascinating book, which is effectively a history of singing style. He finds the reasons to be primarily ideological rather than specifically musical. His book identifies particular historical 'moments of change' in singing technique and style, and relates these to a three-stage theory of style based on the relationship of singing to text. There is a substantial section on meaning in singing, and a discussion of how the transmission of meaning is enabled or inhibited by different varieties of style or technique.

1. Classical ideology and the pre-history of singing
2. The medieval period
religion, literacy and control
3. The Italian baroque revolution
4. The development of the modern voice
5. Concerts, choirs and music halls
6. Armstrong to Sinatra
swing and sub-text
7. Early music and the avant garde
twentieth-century fragmentation
8. Elvis Presley to rap
moments of change since the forties
9. Singing and social processes
10. Towards a theory of vocal style
List of references