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The changing aesthetics of vocal registration in the age of versimo

Gentili, Barbara 2021. The changing aesthetics of vocal registration in the age of versimo. Music and Letters 102 , pp. 54-79. 10.1093/ml/gcaa029

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The idea that classical singers should join the notes of the vocal line by maintaining a consistent vocal colour is a relatively recent historical construct. In the last decades of the nineteenth century, singers in the Italian tradition were loyal to a very different vocal aesthetic, which valued the distinct differences in timbre between different vocal registers, as this article shows through a comparative analysis of pedagogical writing and pre-1925 recordings. The latter reveal that, in the early twentieth century, old and new techniques for uniting the vocal registers coexisted, and reflected an aesthetic transition towards a more gendered quality of the operatic voice. This process was intertwined with profound transformations in Italian operatic culture. The demands of a new realistic idiom known as verismo required a new type of vocalism, which prompted singers to re-conceive the ‘art of vocal registration’.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Music
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0027-4224
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 19 August 2021
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2024 18:52

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