Vocal Authority: Singing Style and Ideology

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Cambridge University Press, 2006 M11 2 - 236 pages
Vocal Authority is about how singing styles develop and change, why classical singing is different from pop singing, and what singers actually mean when they sing. It takes an historical perspective, beginning with the ancient world, looking at changes in style up to the present day and explains why, for example, Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe could sing together.

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Classical ideology and the prehistory of singing I
religion literacy and control
The Italian baroque revolution
The development of the modern voice
Concerts choirs and music halls
swing and subtext
moments of change since the forties
Singing and social processes
Towards a theory of vocal style
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About the author (2006)

John Potter is editor of The Cambridge Companion to Singing (2000) and his book Tenor: History of a Voice was published in 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).

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