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The Cambridge Companion to Singing

The Cambridge Companion to Singing

Part of Cambridge Companions to Music

John Potter, John Schaefer, Richard Middleton, David Toop, Stephen Banfield, John Rosselli, Stephen Varcoe, Timothy Day, Neely Bruce, Heikki Liimola, Joseph Dyer, Richard Wistreich, Linda Hirst, David Wright, David Mason, Felicity Laurence, Johan Sundberg
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  • Date Published: April 2000
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521627092


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About the Authors
  • Ranging from medieval music to Madonna and beyond, this book covers in detail the many aspects of the voice. The volume is divided into four broad areas. Popular Traditions begins with an overview of singing traditions in world music and continues with aspects of rock, rap and jazz. The Voice in the Theatre includes both opera singing from the beginnings to the present day and twentieth-century stage and screen entertainers. Choral Music and Song features a history of the art song, essential hints on singing in a larger choir, the English cathedral tradition and a history of the choral movement in the United States. The final substantial section on performance practices ranges from the voice in the Middle Ages and the interpretation of early singing treatises to contemporary vocal techniques, ensemble singing, the teaching of singing, children's choirs, and a comprehensive exposition of vocal acoustics.

    • Provides a truly comprehensive coverage of singing of all kinds, classical and popular
    • Edited by a member of the world famous vocal group The Hilliard Ensemble
    • Contributors are top professionals from the UK, Europe and the US, many of them well-known performers
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… the volume is full of valuable knowledge, transmitted with warmth and enthusiasm, by theorists and practitioners alike.' The Times Literary Supplement

    'Those for whom singing is a joyous activity will treasure the book and learn much about the vocal arts that might otherwise take years of personal research.' Booklist

    'Potter writes beautifully, communicating a feeling, if not of the maverick, then certainly of a man with few regrets for the passing of time and styles … a fine addition to the canon of singing.' Robert Tear, Gramophone

    '… well worth reading and as a whole I found it stimulating.' Early Music Review

    'The Cambridge Companion to Singing will interest singers, students of music, concert goers and the general public who will find it a good 'travel book' in the sense that it provides a good overview of singing traditions found worldwide. This series is one of the most interesting ideas to have come out into the market in recent years.' Journal of Popular Music

    '… the Companion should encourage anyone remotely interested in singing to venture beyond the Western mainstream and investigate Buddhist chant, qawwali or the challenges of Berio and John Cage.' Richard Wigmore, BBC Music Magazine

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2000
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521627092
    • length: 300 pages
    • dimensions: 244 x 170 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.48kg
    • contains: 12 b/w illus. 16 music examples
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    Notes on contributors
    1. Introduction: singing at the turn of the century John Potter
    Part I. Popular Traditions:
    2. 'Songlines': vocal traditions in world music John Schaefer
    3. Rock singing Richard Middleton
    4. The evolving language of rap David Toop
    5. Jazz singing: the first hundred years John Potter
    Part II. The Voice in the Theatre:
    6. Stage and screen entertainers in the twentieth century Stephen Banfield
    7. Song into theatre: the beginnings of opera John Rosselli
    8. Grand opera: nineteenth-century revolution and twentieth-century tradition John Rosselli
    Part III. Choral Music and Song:
    9. European art song Stephen Varcoe
    10. English cathedral choirs in the twentieth century Timothy Day
    11. Sacred choral music in the United States: an overview Neely Bruce
    Part IV. Performance Practices:
    12. Some notes on choral singing Heikki Liimola
    13. Ensemble singing John Potter
    14. The voice in the Middle Ages Joseph Dyer
    15. Reconstructing pre-Romantic singing technique Richard Wistreich
    16. Alternative voices: contemporary vocal techniques Linda Hirst and David Wright
    17. The teaching (and learning) of singing David Mason
    18. Children's singing Felicity Laurence
    19. Where does the sound come from? Johan Sundberg
    Select bibliography

  • Editor

    John Potter, University of York
    John Potter is the author of Vocal Authority (Cambridge University Press, 1998) and Tenor: History of a Voice (Cambridge University Press, 2009). He has contributed articles to many academic journals and chapters to other books, including The Cambridge History of Medieval Music (forthcoming) and The Cambridge History of Musical Performance (2012). He is Reader Emeritus in Music at the University of York, having stepped down from his lectureship in 2010 to focus on his portfolio of freelance projects. His most recent book, published by Cambridge University Press in 2012, is A History of Singing (jointly authored with ethnomusicologist Neil Sorrell). As a singer, John has partnerships with instrumentalists in various parts of the world, notably the Argentinian lutenist and vihuelist Ariel Abramovich, the American medieval harpist Jan Walters and the British electro-acoustic composer Ambrose Field. He also sings with Red Byrd, The Dowland Project, the Gavin Bryars Ensemble and German group The Sound and the Fury. His most recent venture is Cantum Pulcriorum Invenire, a research project at the University of Southampton, which will see the release of three CDs of twelfth-century music on Hyperion, and a multimedia live version with tenor Christopher O'Gorman and video artist Michael Lynch. John spent eighteen years with the Hilliard Ensemble and his complete discography runs to some 150 titles. He also coaches vocal ensembles all over the world and chairs the ensemble contest jury at the Tampere Vocal Festival (Finland).


    John Potter, John Schaefer, Richard Middleton, David Toop, Stephen Banfield, John Rosselli, Stephen Varcoe, Timothy Day, Neely Bruce, Heikki Liimola, Joseph Dyer, Richard Wistreich, Linda Hirst, David Wright, David Mason, Felicity Laurence, Johan Sundberg

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