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Vocal composition from a singer’s point of view

Bray, Fleur 2021. Vocal composition from a singer’s point of view. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This PhD spans a significant journey of my development as a composer of vocal music, and explores how my approach to vocal writing has evolved. My own technical knowledge of the voice, as a professional singer, and the nature of performance, combined with compositional knowledge, has allowed for a refined quality of vocal composition that works intrinsically for the voice. The trajectory of this commentary follows three main categories of vocal composition; art song, including the role of the accompaniment and support for the voice; unaccompanied vocal writing; and lastly musical drama. In Chapter 1, I discuss my stylistic approach, influential composers and how my knowledge and background as a singer has moulded my vocal writing. Chapter 2 highlights key factors of vocal writing: vocal mechanics, sound output, voice type, range, Fach and tessitura and their affect on vocal colour, weight and resonance. The focus of Chapter 3 is text in song; discussing subject matter and the authors I have chosen to set. Chapter 4 then explores the topic of art song; beginning with a discussion on text setting and narrative, followed by key concepts of motivic material and the role of accompaniment. Chapter 5 outlines my approaches towards unaccompanied vocal music and the use of extended vocal techniques. Text fragmentation is also a key feature here in discussing the exploration of phonics as opposed to story narrative. Lastly, in Chapter 6, I have outlined my approaches to musical drama and the use of the voice in the theatrical setting. Extremes of vocal production and the added element of staging and characterisation heighten the level of physicality that is beyond the standard performance realm of art song, thus necessitating different requirements from the composer.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Music
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 12 June 2023
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2023 09:49

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