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Description - Vocal Authority by John Potter

Why do singers sing in the way they do? Why, for example, is western classical singing so different from pop singing? How is it that Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe could sing together? These are the kinds of questions which John Potter, a singer with the Hilliard Ensemble and Red Byrd, and himself the master of many styles, poses in this fascinating book, which is effectively a history of singing style. He finds the reasons to be primarily ideological rather than specifically musical. His book identifies particular historical 'moments of change' in singing technique and style, and relates these to a three-stage theory of style based on the relationship of singing to text. There is a substantial section on meaning in singing, and a discussion of how the transmission of meaning is enabled or inhibited by different varieties of style or technique.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780521027434
ISBN-10: 0521027438
Format: Paperback
(228mm x 152mm x 16mm)
Pages: 236
Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publish Date: 31-May-2006
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - John Potter

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).