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Phonetics and Diction in Singing

Phonetics and Diction in Singing: Italian, French, Spanish, German

Kurt Adler
Copyright Date: 1967
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 176
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  • Book Info
    Phonetics and Diction in Singing
    Book Description:

    This book provides rules and illustrative examples for the study of songs and operas in the leading foreign languages of musical literature. The author is conductor and chorus master of the Metropolitan Opera. He has drawn the material from his larger book, The Art of Accompanying and Coaching, to provide a handbook or textbook especially suitable for use by voice teachers, singers, students in high schools, colleges, and schools of music, and members of choruses, church choirs, and opera workshops and their directors. Following a general discussion of phonetics and diction in singing there are separate chapters on Italian, French, Spanish, and German phonetics and diction. The text is illustrated with drawings and diagrams of vocal techniques and musical examples.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-5546-5
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[viii])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [ix]-2)
  3. Phonetics and Diction in Singing
    (pp. 3-11)

    Which is more important, the words or the music? To this day, the old argument has lost nothing of its ardor, its vehemence, its partisanship, and above all its emotional aspects and its question mark.

    Truly, which of the two arts is more important when combined in a vocal composition? The question has occupied many great creative artists and many of their utterances about this problem could be quoted. But it may be best to let a great musician take the rostrum. At an age when wisdom and experience become molded into serene impartiality, Richard Strauss undertook to cast this...

  4. Italian Phonetics and Diction
    (pp. 12-47)

    I have said before that the Italian needs only seven different vowel sounds to form words and sentences in his language. These vowel sounds are the purest of any language and the most easily produced. This purity, free from any disfiguring diphthongization, is the main reason for the undisputed position of Italian as the most musical language in the world. Vowels are only infrequently interspersed with consonants. Diphthongization is practically unknown. All this creates the basis for the bel canto style of singing which is predominant today in America. It is quite possible to adjust even French and German words...

  5. French Phonetics and Diction
    (pp. 48-99)

    French is a much more complicated language, phonetically, than Italian. This will become evident to anybody who compares the number of phonetic vowel sounds. There are sixteen such sounds in French, fifteen in English, fourteen in German, and seven in Italian.

    The English-speaking singer will find the whole group of vowels, as well as the array of velar (nasal) sounds which are so characteristic of the French, difficult to master. Other problems, to name but a few, are the h and r sounds, the semivowels, and the liaisons.

    A conscientious accompanist and coach must have a thorough working knowledge of...

  6. Spanish Phonetics and Diction
    (pp. 100-105)

    As is true of all other European languages, the variety of Spanish dialects is great, extending not only to the frontiers of the Iberian peninsula but to Central and South America as well. The cultured singer of Spanish music will restrict his diction to two main dialects. When he sings songs written in Spain or by Spanish composers and poets he will employ the Castilian pronunciation. When he sings Spanish music from the Western hemisphere he will use a somewhat different pronunciation. And even here, the diction varies: Argentinians or Chileans pronounce certain sounds quite differently from, for instance, Mexicans....

  7. German Phonetics and Diction
    (pp. 106-146)

    Though we are confined in Italian and French to tradition and experience as our supreme law for phonetics and diction, we can base our rules for German diction on an officially sanctioned publication,Deutsche Buhnenaussprache-Hochsprache,by Theodor Siebs, which was published and republished at the initiative of the Association of German Theatrical Stages and the German Actors Union. It numbers among its contributors the foremost experts in phonetics and stage diction, and deals with singing diction as well. The accompanist or coach who wants to give his pupils an authoritative account will do well to own the book. My experience...

  8. INDEX
    (pp. 147-161)