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Performer Guides: Diction/Texts/Translations

Use this guide to find resources for music performance, including LC call number browsing ranges for repertoire, books, and journals..


Most books on diction are found in the MT883 call number range. In addition to standard works on German, French, and Italian, the Music Library has materials on Scandinavian, Polish, and Russian diction. Some of our diction, translation, and text resources can be found in the reference section, online, and the general library stacks. 

Diction Resources:

Singing in Polish: A Guide to Polish Lyric Diction and Repertoire

Singing in Polish: A Guide to Polish Lyric Diction and Vocal Repertoire stands as the first book-length resource for non-Polish-speaking singers, voice teachers, and vocal coaches that offers the essential tools for learning how to sing in Polish. Scholar and singer Benjamin Schultz offers a rich repertory of works virtually unknown outside of Poland, providing a unique catalyst for the introduction of Polish vocal music into the English-speaking world of performance. Never before has Polish vocal music been made so accessible to the musical world. With a foreword by Timothy Cheek, the author of Singing in Czech, as well as an overview of the development of Polish music by renowned violinist, Polish music specialist, and scholar Tyrone Greive, Singing in Polish concisely outlines the science and art of Polish lyric diction through the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). The included texts of more than 60 art songs and arias from some of the most distinguished Polish composers of all time each feature IPA transcriptions and English translations. Appendixes include lists of key Polish music publishing companies, cultural centers, and Polish poets. Singing in Polish fills a void for singers, voice teachers, and vocal coaches in the Western tradition. It is a invaluable resource for anyone looking to add global variety to vocal performance in the studio, classroom, concert hall, or on the operatic stage.

Singing in Brazilian Portuguese: A Guide to Lyric Diction and Repertoire

Access audio files at: https: // While popular forms of Brazilian music include bossa nova and samba, Brazil also has a rich classical music tradition dating back to the 1500s that exhibits a unique and diverse amalgamation of many styles and influences including African, Italian, French, and indigenous. Singing in Brazilian Portuguese: A Guide to Lyric Diction and Vocal Repertoire makes Brazilian modinhas and can es accessible to singers through an overview of the history of the language and music, brief biographies of major composers, and a sampling of selected texts transliterated into the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). Part I introduces the alphabet and pronunciation of sounds through IPA and is enhanced by online audio recordings of native Brazilian classical singers. Marc a D. Porter covers such topics as oral and nasal vowels, diagraphs, onset and final consonants, word stress, and syllabification. It also includes an overview of the newly implemented Acordo Ortogr fico. Part II provides IPA transliterations and both word-for-word and poetic translations of representative songs, including Villa-Lobos's Bachianas brasileiras, no. 5. The book also offers a brief overview of the history of Brazilian vocal music and biographical sketches of select major composers from various periods. Singing in Brazilian Portuguese is the first resource of its kind geared toward singers, voice teachers, vocal coaches, collaborative pianists, and others who are interested in exploring, teaching, and performing this beautiful and exciting repertoire.

Phonetic Readings for Lyric Diction

An enunciation and transcription workbook that employs frequentlyoccurring words from English, Italian, German, French, and Latin lyrics.

Singing in Greek: A Guide to Greek Lyric Diction and Vocal Repertoire

In Singing in Greek: A Guide to Greek Lyric Diction and Vocal Repertoire, Lydia Zervanos reveals to singers the vast riches of Greek vocal music. Dating back to 1770, Greek art music following the Western European styles, often drawing on themes from folk music and motifs long awaits its rightful place in a truly international vocal repertoire. Modern singers in search of new musical opportunities will find in Singing in Greek the necessary tools to locate and perform art songs and arias from this extensive national vocal repertoire. Concisely written and full of practical advice, the book opens with an introduction to the Greek alphabet and pronunciation, navigating the assignment of International Phonetic Alphabet symbols. Zervanos covers such topics as Greek vowels, digraphs, consonants, binary consonants, consonant combinations, palatalization, basic Greek grammatical concepts and their role in stress and length, syllabification, and punctuation all separated into easily referenced chapters and supported by online recordings of native Greek opera singers. In the second half of Singing in Greek, Zervanos offers a short history of Greek art music, biographies of prominent Greek composers, texts of their most representative works with IPA transcriptions, and word-for-word and poetic translations, with arias and art songs chosen for all voice types and levels. This book also includes indexes of direct vowel-to-IPA and consonant-to-IPA transcriptions, as well as useful appendixes on publications, organizations, and famous Greek poets. Singing in Greek is a must-have resource for every singer, voice teacher, vocal coach, collaborative pianist, and opera and choral conductor seeking to perform and teach in this unique language, explore the wealth of music available, and expand their knowledge of Greek repertoire."

Singing in Mandarin: A Guide to Chinese Lyric Diction and Vocal Repertoire

Chinese composers have a growing presence on international stages, and Mandarin-language vocal repertoire is becoming richer and more prevalent. Singing in Mandarin is the definitive guide for singing in Mandarin. The first part focuses on the sounds of the Chinese language while the second focuses on the classical vocal repertoire in Mandarin.

Spanish Diction for Singers: A Practical Guide for the Pronunciation of Peninsular and American Spanish

A practical course of Spanish diction for singers which helps you to master perfect diction, giving you the tools to achieve great interpretations and connect with your audiences. The course is designed to guide you step by step, incorporating the International Phonetic Alphabet and the sounds that make you sound like a native speaker.

French Lyric Diction Workbook, 4th Edition, Student Manual

A graded method of transcription that employs frequently occurring words from French art song literature.

The Singer's Guide to German Diction

The Singer's Guide to German Diction is the essential foundation for a complete course in German diction for singers, vocal coaches, choral conductors, and anyone wishing to learn to learn the proper pronunciation of High German. Written by Valentin Lanzrein and Richard Cross, who each haveyears of experience on stage, in the voice studio, and in the diction classroom, it provides an all-encompassing and versatile reference for the rules of German diction and their exceptions.Featuring an easily navigable format that uses tables and charts to support a visual understanding of the text, this guide allows the reader to find information on diction rules and quick help with the formation of each sound. It also places an emphasis on exceptions to the rules, which are crucialin learning the proper pronunciation of any language. Exceptions are not only provided with the diction rules, but are also gathered in a specific section for ease of reference. A glossary of difficult words, names, and exceptions is provided in the appendix, along with a section on Latin pronouncedin the German manner.Extensive pronunciation exercises, as well as IPA transcription worksheets and short examples from the vocal literature, are used for practical application of the diction rules, and feature musical exercises drawn from art song, opera, and oratorio. The book's companion website supplements thesemusical exercises with high-quality audio clips recorded by leading professional singers, providing an invaluable resource for independent study. A comprehensive companion for teachers, students, and singers alike, The Singer's Guide to German Diction brings German diction to life through itswell-structured system of practice and reference materials.

Perfect Italian Diction for Singers: An Authoritative Guide

Perfect Italian Diction for Singers: An Authoritative Guide provides the steps and tools for singing beautifully and expressively in this language. Timothy Cheek and Anna Toccafondi systematically home in on the essential features of the most beautiful Italian, pitfalls of non-native singers, and how to overcome those issues. In addition to delving to the heart of Italian sounds and inflection, they present controversies, misconceptions, and various approaches-often conflicting-that have arisen throughout the last century. Chapters also address: -Italian style and legato -Best use of supplemental resources and dictionaries -Recitative with suggested, short Mozart excerpts -Working with text -Singing diphthongs, triphthongs, and hiatus Also included are a plethora of audio and video examples and exercises (over seventy QR codes), exercises for group or self-study, and self-assessment summaries. This book will help singers and students lay a solid foundation in beautiful, lyric Italian.

Russian Lyric Diction Workbook, Instructor's Manual

Frequently occurring words from art song lyrics are used to create worksheets for classroom application of diction rules.

Singing and Communicating in English

From the Foreword by Renee Fleming: "Kathryn LaBouff has developed an approach to singing in the English language which is wonderfully user-friendly, and which has surely saved much wear and tear on my voice. It is a technique that has empowered me with the knowledge and skills to bring a textto life and to be able to negotiate all of the sounds of the language with the least amount of effort. I have found her clever and extremely creative use of substitute consonants or combinations of consonants in creating clear diction utterly delightful because they are surprising and because theywork. These techniques have been equally useful when singing in foreign languages. We sopranos are not usually known to have good diction, particularly in our high range. I found that working with Kathryn improved my ability to be understood by an enormous percentile of the audience with much lessvocal fatigue than I would have experienced if left to my own devices. I have often told my colleagues enthusiastically of her interesting solutions to the frustrating problems of diction. I am thrilled that her techniques are now in print for all to benefit from them." 

Scandinavian Song

Scandinavian art songs are a unique expression of the cultures of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Although these three countries are distinct from one another, their languages and cultures share many similarities. Common themes found in art and literature include a love of nature, especially of the sea, feelings of longing and melancholy, the contrast between light and dark, the extremes of the northern climate, and lively folk traditions. These shared sensibilities are reflected and expressed in a tangible way through music. Scandinavian art song has faced several challenges over the years in North America (even in the American Midwest, where descendants of Scandinavian immigrants are concentrated). But matters have changed recently with the recent expansion of diction curricula to cover languages other than English, French, German, and Italian. The primary obstacle remains practical resources for the study of art songs and lyric diction of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. This guide remedies this problem. Scandinavian Song is a practical guide to the art songs of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Unlike other sources that give at best a cursory overview of lyric diction in the Scandinavian languages, this guide provides practical information, enabling teachers and students to render transcriptions of Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish texts into the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)--an absolute necessity for any study of repertoire.

Song Translations:

Translations of songs are found in the ML54.6 call number range. Most of these resources are in the reference section so they are always available. The titles listed below represent a small sample of the resources available. If you need help finding an individual song, ask a member of the library staff for help.

Opera Translations:

Opera translations are found in the ML48-49 call number range in the reference section (libretti are classifed as ML54 and are in the regular stacks). Remember that if you are unable to find an individual aria in the song translations, a translation of the whole opera will include your aria.