This Spring course will hopefully have a renascent effect on every participant’s desire to write gratefully for the voice, alone and in combination. Students both get practice as well as examine a plethora of effective models.
What are the different voice types? Have you heard examples of a heroic tenor, dramatic soprano, basso profundo, and coloratura? Could you reasonably predict the effectiveness of using a given text based on its vowels and phrase structure? What is at the deepest essence of the human vocal response?
Taking its point of departure from the Gregorian plainchant of the Liber Usualis, which we will sing regularly as a limbering exercise, we’ll tackle progressively more adventuresome short “practica,” –in reality steps toward discovering a personal approach towards a demanding subject.
The course can readily serve as preparation for writing for musical theater.
And just as easily, more "classical" repertoire.
In addition to text setting and discussion of vowels and the problems they pose, we’ll address sample choral textures and extended vocal techniques incorporated within compositions that really work. This will mean a tour that takes in everything from Fauré’s magically simple Messe Basse for women’s voices to the newest Scandinavian choral literature by Nystedt, Rautavaara, and Sandstrom. Also, Satie’s magical Socrate and—in a more modernly minimalist vein—Cry by Giles Swayne for 24 amplified voices.
First taught, Spring 1999. Recommended for CCS and L&S Music Majors. Any other prospective entrants must be completely fluent in the notation of musical ideas, as there will be assignments that request notated music from students. Should be willing to sing! It's more fun that way.
You must be willing to sing in class [no solos, so no worries there]. The more lustily you sing, the better.