New Publications on Emerging and Mean Voices
Newly published in Music Education Research, What voices have emerged? Lessons on boys’ vocal dispositions and choral tone from a new choral leaflet series.
Here’s the abstract: Emerging Voices is a choral series published by Oxford University Press. The aim is to cater for adolescent male voices at various stages of change. Part ranges conform to the ‘cambiata’ system developed by Irvin Cooper. The paper asks whether a unique, characteristic timbral quality exists in voices at the mid-point of change and can be heard as distinctively different from unchanged ‘treble’ and newly emerged baritone timbre. The first 12 pieces in the series have been recorded by choirs ranging from beginner school groups to a prestigious national youth choir. During the recording process, samples of individual parts were taken to analyse and evaluate the vocal timbres that ‘emerged’. A distinct midvoice timbre was only found in choirs where boys possessed significant choral experience gained as trebles. Such voices were more adaptable to different choir dispositions, able to manoeuver between a low alto part and a high tenor part. The paper concludes that Cooper’s ideal of ‘fitting the song to the voice, not the voice to the song’ is only fully realised in solo singing instruction but where boys lacked significant choral experience, placement in cambiata parts that matched speaking voice pitches could result in pleasing choral tone through skilled blending of midvoice stages.
If you’d like to read the whole article, I have fifty free e-copies to give away under a new publishing agreement. Drop my me a line – first come, first served, or when they’re gone they’re gone, as they say. It doesn’t mention this in the article, but the work is closely related to current work on mean voices. More of that before long, although if you haven’t seen the article in this year’s ABCD Yearbook, you can now Read it here. And if you’re thinking there hasn’t been much new from this site recently, it’s not because I’ve gone away (though I have rather cut down in “retirement” to pursue a new line of research on heritage railways) the main reason is that I’ve been building two new sites. A brand new replacement for Boys Keep Singing is going to be released in the new year, and this site will be replaced by a simpler and I hope much easier to navigate one.
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