Sir Arthur Somervell, was responsible for a radical reformation of policy concerning singing in schools in the UK in the first two decades of the 20th century, in his twin roles as one of His Majesty’s Inspectors of Schools (HMI) and as a distinguished composer. In this paper these two areas of his life are drawn together. Sources upon which the research is based include his educational writings and his compositions for children.
Somervell developed a highly systematic philosophy of music education based upon the Hellenic Ideal. Crucial to his mission was the widening of scope of the traditional singing class. He strongly believed that such a class was a unique opportunity for communal self-expression. Developing a suitable repertoire was essential, and central to this was the genre of the National Song. This involved Somervell in a heated debate with Cecil Sharp (1859-1924), the English folk song collector. Furthermore, Somervell believed that singing had to be treated educationally, not as entertainment. He had clear ideas concerning progression, development and the encouragement of sight singing skills.
In his work as a composer, Somervell wrote songs and extended vocal works for children. A feature of the paper will be the scrutiny of these works in the light of Somervell’s overall educational principles concerning the right place of singing in schools. Through bringing together Somervell’s educational ideas and his vocal compositions for schools, the paper will develop conclusions about his view of music in schools, and the right place of singing within them.
Conductors conduct ensembles, not scores: Towards a post-positivist paradigm for choral music education
James F. Daugherty
The University of Kansas, United States
Practically speaking, there are four major points of departure for choral music-making: (a) the music score; (b) the conductor; (c) the choir, including the individuals who comprise it; and (d) the larger social and economic contexts of music. A choral music experience obviously and necessarily incorporates to some degree consideration of all four of these components. Where one starts, however, significantly impacts the process of choral music teaching and learning. A growing body of investigations in the philosophy of music raises important questions about the autonomy typically afforded the score and the authority customarily invested in a conductor. Recent research about how people learn poses value questions with respect to the teacher-centered, direct instruction methods frequently used in choral ensemble rehearsing.
This paper provides a systematic examination of the logic operative in such post-positivist criticisms, particularly as they impact the contexts of choral music-making. It then identifies and clarifies some fundamental assumptions and concepts that may contribute to building new theories of choral music education. As, increasingly, values and meanings associatedwith traditional aesthetic frameworks lose their hegemony over choral music-making in the Western world, what appear to be the contours of a post-positivist approach?
A rationale for world music in the choral classroom
West Virginia University, United States
The availability of published choral music from the world’s cultures and ethnic groups has grown tremendously over the last decade to the point where are now publishers whose catalogues are dominated by, or exclusively from, the genre most often labeled “World Music”. With this proliferation of World Music, a rationale is needed both for the inclusion of World Music within the choral curriculum, and to guide the choral music teacher in selecting, teaching, rehearsing, and performing these musics. The development and articulation of such a rationale is the intent of this paper.
By referencing literature from the fields of Education, Ethnomusicology, Music Education, Psychology, Sociology and Vocal Pedagogy, the author not only develops a definition of World Music in a music education setting, but explores and defines World Music’s underlying components (e.g., authenticity, culture, ethnicity, performance practice, etc.). Using this same research base, the content and pedagogy of World Music in the coral classroom is articulated. To more clearly demonstrate this content and pedagogy, specific examples from the World Music choral repertoire are cited.
In conclusion, the author identifies, through the development and articulation of this rationale, a research agenda for World Music in the choral classroom.
Producing gendered voices in the recording studio: A case study from the Yukon
Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
This paper will explore concepts of gendered identities embedded in the processes of recording and mixing the human voice. While these concepts are often articulated by producers and sound engineers, they are elusive since they are relevant to other factors such as the genre of the music, the album concept, and the individual visions of the participants. I will examine a specific CD where the vision of the singer and that of her producer were, in many regards, at odds. The way in which the project unfolded revealed some little explored dimensions of cultural negotiation relating to the sound of the human voice, particularly the female voice.
If you can sing the roles of Leonora and Adalgisa, can you really sing the role of Amneris?
Independent Scholar, United States
In a postscript to a letter written in early January, 1871, Giuseppe Verdi reminds his Excellency, Draneht Bey, the general manager of the Viceroy's opera house in Cairo, the city which would host the première of Verdi's newly commissioned opera, that "for the production of Aida two first rate singers are needed one a soprano, the other a mezzo soprano and a great tenor, a baritone, two basses, etc." [Verdi's underlines.]
The search for two casts the Italian première at La Scala would follow on the heels of the Egyptian production sometimes left Verdi annoyed. In one instance, he refused to consider Draneht's choice of la Sass or la Grossi because he did not consider them mezzos. Though requested by the Bey to adjust the role of Amneris for la Sass (purportedly a soprano), the composer refused and assigned the part to la Grossi (a contralto?), but only after the Bey had pleaded that she had already met Verdi's prerequisites. What were those prerequisites? that the singer be able to manage the tessitura of Leonora in Favorita and to sing the role of Adalgisa in Norma!
This paper then identifies through statistical analysis the pitches that formed the three tessiture, within the context of tempo, rhythm, and meter. Were the Bey and Verdi correct, that if you could sing these two roles, you could sing the role of Amneris? And what did Verdi mean by the words "to sing?" My paper examines these questions and begins to outline the parameters of role.
For the love of the amateur singer
University of Akureyri, Iceland
University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
From a micro interactionist viewpoint, routine social experience is seen as an agent in shaping personal identity. This paper draws on case studies of Icelandic men for whom singing is presently perceived as an important part of this routine social experience. All of the participants are members of a male voice choir from a sparsely populated area of northeast Iceland. The study examines the role of singing in their everyday lives, in their telling of personal histories and in the construction of personal and social identity. This men’s study investigates the impact of gender on men’s vocality; a theme neglected in wide ranging vocal research paradigms, which for the most part have adopted a genderless, or on occasion, feminist theoretical standpoint. Gender provides a theoretical framework for this dialectical, ideographic research from psychological and social psychological music disciplines - what does it mean vocally to be a man? How does sex and gender impact the acquisition, development and use of a man’s singing voice? Is biological determinism implicated? To what extent can the multi-faceted realities of masculinities, even from within the confines of a common social and cultural group, be seen as influencing men´s voices or as being themselves constructs of men’s vocality? What do men mean by singing and what does singing mean to men?
The title of this presentation is borrowed from the book by Ruth Finnegan titled The Hidden Musicians: Music-making in an English Town (1989) in which the author traces the rich layers of amateur music-making in the small community of Milton Keynes in English. This study has become influential in ethnomusicology and folklore in that it has inspired new and alternative approaches to understanding music in individual, local, urban, national, and transnational contexts - namely by focusing on other than educated, professional, famous musicians and their work.
We think that Finnegan’s work has interesting connections to ideas of Western art music historiography which continue to be centered around canon-driven notions of so-called great composers, their “classic” compositions, and their often mythologized-like stories. Finnegan’s work encourages us to look at other, often forgotten, i.e. hidden composers, and the context and processes behind their work.
The three composers presented in this recital - Cécile Chaminade, Josephine Lang, and Clara Schumann - are each, in similar and in different ways, individuals whom we might consider “hidden musicians”. They rarely make it into music history books or onto concert programs, and when they do, there is sometimes a sense of tokenism, superficiality, or worse, misrepresentation of their music and/or life stories.
We hope that by performing this group of Cécile Chaminade, Josephine Lang, and Clara Schumann’s songs, we can help demonstrate that Finnegan’s idea of “looking beneath the surface” can help us discover and come to value the musical repertoire and life experience of three other, often forgotten or hidden musicians.
Collaboration and singing: Tools for self discovery
Appleby College, Canada
Singing, the process of songwriting, and student collaboration, when used together as tools for self-discovery, provide a powerful combination that facilitates learning and growth. Because this union is so influential, music educators should explore the strategy of combining these activities in the music classroom. A study by Richard Light (2001) from Harvard University underscores the notion that student involvement and learning are significantly increased when students work together in small groups. This paper explores the experiences of three girls and three boys who participated in a unique program developed in a Toronto-area school. The program, Arts Service Cumulative Evaluation Northwardbound Trip (ASCENT), uses constructivist principles to encourage students to write and sing their own compositions.
The focus of the paper is fourfold: 1) to highlight the significant contributions of ASCENT, the first program of its kind in Canada, to the larger holistic curriculum of the school; 2) to describe the content of the musical experiences, i.e., singing and songwriting in a collaborative and individual setting; 3) to describe student reflections and perceptions; and 4) to present reflections about the students’ experiences. David Elliott, noted educational philosopher, says: “A musical event offers many layers of meaning of discovery and as an educator our role is to find examples that include these layers” (Elliott, 1995). This paper concludes that the ASCENT program provides music educators with a natural opportunity to include important collaborative events in the educational lives of students, i.e., tools for self-discovery.
The sound of angelic voices: Music for high voices in seventeenth-century France
C. Jane Gosine
Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
Marc-Antoine Charpentier, like many other seventeenth-century French and Italian composers, was attracted to the unique sound of high voices in small ensembles. He composed just over 100 pieces for one, two, or three sopranos. Many of these pieces were written specifically for nuns for use during the Mass, Offices and devotional services. Other works were written for use during liturgical or devotional services at the Hôtel de Guise or the Jesuit Church of St Louis. Charpentier’s style of writing for high voices draws its inspiration from the music written by Italian composers, such as Carissimi, Luigi Rossi and Graziani, as well as from the writing of contemporary French composers. This paper will examine the religious context in which the music for high voices was written. It will also examine the style of vocal writing used by Charpentier, including an examination of the close relationship between text and music.
The relationship between voice part and self-selected pitch
The University of Kansas, United States
The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between voice part (e.g., soprano, alto, tenor, bass) and self-selection of a single pitch. The research hypothesis is that there will be a statistically significant difference between the average pitch chosen by sopranos and that chosen by altos; a similar relationship will exist between the average pitches of tenors and basses. A two-part test was conducted with a sample of approximately two hundred choral singers at a large university. Each singer was asked to sing the vowel ah for five seconds on a comfortable pitch of their choosing. They were then asked to state what they consider their voice part to be (soprano or alto for women, tenor or bass for men) and give reasons to justify their selection. Each individual's chosen pitch and voice part were plotted to determine the average pitch selected by sopranos, altos, tenors and basses, and the relative distances between each voice part's average pitch. Finally, the results of this study are discussed in relation to both anecdotal accounts of voice ranges and previous research on voice-part ranges and relative spacing. While traditional definitions of voice parts have generally been based on pitch ranges, a qualitative reading of this study's participants' reasons for their chosen voice identity suggests that there are a variety of reasons why an individual may identify with a particular voice part.
The pleasures and perils of ‘white’ invocations of ‘the big black woman inside’
Victoria Moon Joyce
The University of Toronto, Canada
Why is it that so-called non-singers appear to be a common feature of Western culture? This self-understanding or identifi-cation as 'non-singer' is a socially organized subject position. How the subject is produced and positioned in society is central to processes of producing the singing/'non-singing' subject. Singing is not neutral or innocent of power relations in society.
Rather, it plays a starring role in the reproduction of interlocking hierarchies of race, class, gender, and sexuality. (Singing can also resist and disrupt these hierarchies.) This presentation examines how the inhibited singing subject or 'non-singer' is a product of 'White' bourgeois subject formation, and how the singing subject relies upon (among other things) an Africanist presence in perceived, conceived, and lived space (Morrison, 1992; Razack, 2002). Modern incarnations and narratives of "Blackface minstrelsy (Lott, 1993) and discursively produced stereotypes such as "the big Black woman inside" are examples of how the Africanist presence often gets invoked (at peril) to draw inhibited singing subjects into a conception of singing that is situated outside of dominant cultural discourses and practices of singing. As educators, we need to be aware of the social implications of our singing practices and work towards a pedagogy that does not reproduce hierarchical social relations of power. A key piece of our pedagogy must be to incorporate critical reflection practices which can address the problematic use of the Black 'Other' in our teaching and performing. This presentation addresses these concerns and suggests strategies for improving music education and community music practices.
“Who are you, little i?” Representations of the lyrical gift of Imant Raminsh
Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
Latvian-born, Canadian composer Imant Raminsh, is celebrated for his vocal and choral music which have been performed all over the world. Not only is Raminsh one of the plenary speakers for Symposium IV, he is also one of Canada’s most prolific composers whose music has been commissioned by leading performers and choral groups in Canada and abroad. His compositions display a strong melodic emphasis, reflecting his Latvian song-oriented cultural heritage.
This lecture-recital will feature highlights from three of his song cycles: Three Spanish Lyrics, Of Mothers and Children and most this amazing day. Raminsh’s music is steeped in tradition yet is set in a fresh and contemporary musical idiom. His vocal music is distinguished by his ability to recreate in musical terms a wide range of human emotions while remaining true to his Latvain roots in the twenty-first century. Selected songs will be performed with pianist, Tom Gordon.
The relationship between African American enrollment and the classroom environment in secondary choral music programs
The University of California Los Angeles, United States
Wayne State University, United States
Choral music ensembles often serve as part of the framework for the secondary music curriculum and are a principal source of formal vocal training for thousands of high school students. Despite their widespread presence in the schools, most of these programs are elective in nature, and the profession is faced with the reality many students do not participate. The disproportionately low number of minority students enrolled in many American choral ensembles is as indication that there may be problems in the current system with regards to equitable educational experiences. Research has shown a relationship between certain aspects of the classroom environment and students’ decision to enroll in choir. A 1997 study reported between Hispanic participation in school choral programs and several components of the classroom including level of affiliation, perceived level of teacher control, and amount of competition among students.
This paper will report on a study designed to investigate whether there is a relationship between the classroom environment and African American students’ decision to enrol in choral ensembles. Specifically, the study will investigate whether there is a difference between the classroom environment in programs with both low African American enrollment and proportionate African American enrollment. The classroom Environment Scale, the Student Participation Survey, and a series of student interviews will yield quantitative and qualitative data that will be used to investigate the topic of African American enrollment in choral music programs.
"So You Always Wanted to Sing": Observations and reflections from marginalized voices
Independent Scholar, Canada
“So You Always Wanted to Sing” is an integral component of Festival 500. Through the eyes of teacher-researcher, this paper will examine how it feels for people to be labeled "tone-deaf" or a "non-singer". Comments, reflections and questions from individuals who have participated in the festival workshops will be explored and analyzed. It is through the voices of those who have felt marginalized that light may be shed on the deep-rooted fears associated with singing.
The following quote from on individual represents an often heard sentiment: "When in school I was instructed to pantomime when in glee club. I've always been told that I am tone deaf and even my kindergarten students laughed when I did music with them. I love to hum or sing when out walking and one friend would agree to walk with me only if I promised not to hum or sing." (participant, "So You Always Wanted to Sing", Festival 500, 2001) Through the sharing of individual's often frustrating and embarrassing experiences with singing, an understanding of how singing may be approached for the inclusion of all emerges.
Issues such as why people are made to feel like they cannot sing and how we may make our choral ensembles more accessible for the marginalized singer will be addressed. The essence of this session will involve practical and alternative suggestions to embrace and include all voices in the process of singing.
Following the aural traditions of history, culture and customs, the distinct characteristics of South African choral music are a direct reflection of the inflections and nuances of the African languages. By surveying the influences of the missionary period, the contemporary period, and compositional innovations, this paper will outline significant historical factors that have contributed to the uniqueness of South African rhythms, notation and compositions as represented in its choral repertoire.
Japanese folksongs and children’s choirs
Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus, Japan
Japan is a small country with a large population. It is also a long country from North to South. The north island, Hokkaido, is very cold as in Alaska while the south island, Okinawa is warm as in Hawaii. Japanese folksongs are also contrasting like the weather, using different tonalities, different rhythms, the same text but different melodies, etc.
Many Japanese composers have arranged folksongs in different ways using different ideas. Recently, several choirs have become interested in their own local folksongs. These songs are not well-known or famous and are not sung often, but they are in the choirs’ own dialect. Though this presentation I will introduce composer and choral pieces evolving within this context. The composers are Ro Ogura, Michio Mamiya, Minao Shibata, Shin-ichiro Ikebe, Ko Matsushita, Hideki Chihara.
The eclectic nature of Australian choral music
Queensland Youth Choir, Australia
A composer's musical language is the result of the inherent characteristics of the environment in which he exists - a unique environment which provides experiences and the inspiration to develop an individually creative compositional style. The new generation of Australian choral composers seeks to strongly identify itself as "Australian" through a multicultural medium. Australia's historical and traditional roots (including a 40,000 year old indigenous culture), geographical location, constantly changing physical landscapes and unique wildlife have provided composers with sources of inspiration far removed by physical distance and to a certain degree, style, from the musical influences of a European musical tradition. The resultant harmonic language and stylistic characteristics have set Australian music apart from the music of the Western world. The creative individuality and national identity of composers such as Stephen Leek, Sarah Hopkins, Peter Sculthorpe and Michael Atherton, serve to illustrate the richness and diversity of the relatively young choral music tradition in Australia - a veritable cross cultural fertilization and an eclectic approach to choral music composition.
The lecture/presentation will endeavor to present a survey of current trends through an historical and stylistic analysis of a selection of choral music repertoire.
Vocal health and the teaching profession: A case study
Mary Lynn Morrissey
Luther College, United States
In recent years, I have been interested in the vocal health problems experienced by many music teachers. I conducted a pilot study in the spring of 2000, which looked at one elementary general music teacher’s knowledge of vocal health as well as her voice practices in an effort to determine factors influencing the overall health of her voice. This study led me to conclude that information on how to care for and maintain a healthy voice must be part of the teacher training process.
Music education programs that do not include information on vocal health for teachers lack a vital component of teacher training. If we are to recruit and retain promising music teachers, it is essential that we prepare them for the rigorous demands on the speaking and singing voice. The paper and subsequent presentation will outline the information given to pre-service music teachers at Luther College in the Elementary General Music Methods class. In addition, data gathered from interviews and observation of former students in their first year of teaching will be presented to further the discussion.
The power of singing and song in music education: A Canadian context