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Performer Guides: Voice

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

Voice Journals:

The Wilson Music Library subscribes to a number of music journals, including those published by the major professional organizations for various instruments. Reading journals in your area of study is part of being a professional musician - you can learn about major performers and repertoire, new works, festivals, scholarships, and more. Some of these journals are issued only in print (current issues can be found on the browsing periodicals shelving near the book stacks), but many are available online.

Choral Journal       Classical Singer       Journal of Singing      Opera News     Opera Quarterly

Virtual Browse for Scores:

You don't have to visit the Wilson Music Library to browse our shelves! The Library Catalog supports virtual browsing. Once you find a score that you're interested in, scroll to the bottom of the catalog record to see other scores shelved in the same row.

Screenshot of the virtual browse feature at the bottom of the catalog record for John Musto's Quiet Songs.

Finding Repertoire:

Browsing for Repertoire for Voice:

If you're looking for new repertoire to perform, it is often helpful to browse the Music Library's scores. The following call number ranges are for vocal music; individual works within these numbers are arranged alphabetically by composer or arranger:

  • M1495, Collections containing both sacred and secular vocal music
  • M1500, Operas, musicals (full scores)
  • M1503, Operas, musicals (piano/vocal scores)
  • M1507, Operatic, musical anthologies/selections
  • M1528-29, Duets, trios, etc. for voice and various accompaniments
  • M1613, Voice and orchestra or other ensemble
  • M1619, Collections of 2 or more composers
  • M1619.5, Specific poets
  • M1620, Collections of one composer
  • M1621, Separate works
  • M1621.4, Song cycles
  • M1623, Accompaniment of one instrument other than piano
  • M1630.18, Popular music collections
  • M1669-70, Spirituals
  • M2000, Oratorios (full scores)
  • M2003, Oratorios (piano/vocal scores)
  • M2110, Anthologies (sacred)
  • M2112, Collections of one composer (sacred)
  • M2113, Separate songs (sacred)
  • M2113.4, Song cycles (sacred)
  • M2117, Hymnals

Books on Voice:

Yellow book over with drawings of people's faces while singing and text in red.

The Cambridge Companion to Singing

Ranging from medieval music to Madonna and beyond, this book covers in detail the many aspects of the voice. The volume is divided into four broad areas. Popular Traditions begins with an overview of singing traditions in world music and continues with aspects of rock, rap and jazz. The Voice in the Theatre includes both opera singing from the beginnings to the present day and twentieth-century stage and screen entertainers. Choral Music and Song features a history of the art song, essential hints on singing in a larger choir, the English cathedral tradition and a history of the choral movement in the United States. The final substantial section on performance practices ranges from the voice in the Middle Ages and the interpretation of early singing treatises to contemporary vocal techniques, ensemble singing, the teaching of singing, children's choirs, and a comprehensive exposition of vocal acoustics.

White book cover with gray footprints and black text.

Schubert's Winter Journey: Anatomy of an Obsession

An exploration of the world's most famous and challenging song cycle, Schubert's Winter Journey (Winterreise), by a leading interpreter of the work, who teases out the themes--literary, historical, psychological--that weave through the twenty-four songs that make up this legendary masterpiece. Completed in the last months of the young Schubert's life, Winterreise has come to be considered the single greatest piece of music in the history of Lieder. Deceptively laconic--these twenty-four short poems set to music for voice and piano are performed uninterrupted in little more than an hour--it nonetheless has an emotional depth and power that no music of its kind has ever equaled. A young man, rejected by his beloved, leaves the house where he has been living and walks out into snow and darkness. As he wanders away from the village and into the empty countryside, he experiences a cascade of emotions--loss, grief, anger, and acute loneliness, shot through with only fleeting moments of hope--until the landscape he inhabits becomes one of alienation and despair. Originally intended to be sung to an intimate gathering, performances of Winterreise now pack the greatest concert halls around the world.  Drawing equally on his vast experience performing this work (he has sung it more than one hundred times), on his musical knowledge, and on his training as a scholar, Bostridge teases out the enigmas and subtle meanings of each of the twenty-four lyrics to explore for us the world Schubert inhabited, his biography and psychological makeup, the historical and political pressures within which he became one of the world's greatest composers, and the continuing resonances and affinities that our ears still detect today, making Schubert's wanderer our mirror.

Black book cover with color photograph of the author, Carol Kirkpatrick.

Aria Ready: The Business of Singing

Personal and Business Strategies for Making the Transition from Aspiring Artist to Prepared Professional.

Black book cover with sillhouettes and a microphone against a purple and pink background.

Multivocality: Singing on the Borders of Identity

Multivocality frames vocality as a way to investigate the voice in music, as a concept encompassing all the implications with which voice is inscribed-the negotiation of sound and Self, individual and culture, medium and meaning, ontology and embodiment. Like identity, vocality is fluid and constructed continually; even the most iconic of singers do not simply exercise a static voice throughout a lifetime. As 21st century singers habitually perform across styles, genres, cultural contexts, histories, and identities, the author suggests that they are not only performing in multiplevocalities, but more critically, they are performing multivocality - creating and recreating identity through the process of singing with many voices.Multivocality constitutes an effort toward a fuller understanding of how the singing voice figures in the negotiation of identity. Author Katherine Meizel recovers the idea of multivocality from its previously abstract treatment, and re-embodies it in the lived experiences of singers who work on andacross the fluid borders of identity. Highlighting singers in vocal motion, Multivocality focuses on their transitions and transgressions across genre and gender boundaries, cultural borders, the lines between body and technology, between religious contexts, between found voices and lostones.

Book cover with grayscale picture of a man playing the harp.

Intimacy, Performance, and the Lied in the Early Nineteenth Century

The German lied, or art song, is considered one of the most intimate of all musical genres--often focused on the poetic speaker's inner world and best suited for private and semi-private performance in the home or salon. Yet, problematically, any sense of inwardness in lieder depends on outward expression through performance. With this paradox at its heart, Intimacy, Performance, and the Lied in the Early Nineteenth Century explores the relationships between early nineteenth-century theories of the inward self, the performance practices surrounding inward lyric poetry and song, and the larger conventions determining the place of intimate poetry and song in the public concert hall. Jennifer Ronyak studies the cultural practices surrounding lieder performances in northern and central Germany in the first quarter of the nineteenth century, demonstrating how presentations of lieder during the formative years of the genre put pressure on their sense of interiority. She examines how musicians responded to public concern that outward expression would leave the interiority of the poet, the song, or the performer unguarded and susceptible to danger. Through this rich performative paradox Ronyak reveals how a song maintains its powerful intimacy even during its inherently public performance.

Book cover with a background of blues and golds and title text in blue inside a gold circle.

Latin American Art Song: Sounds of the Imagined Nations

Taking as a thread the concept of national identity, this book elucidates the sound transformations that have taken place in the world of the Latin American art song since its appearance in the late nineteenth century to the present day. The book focuses in the art songs of Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Per , and Colombia. The book addresses the subject of performance practice of the Latin American song and ends with a proposal for its interpretation. In songs, spaces of representation and cathartic tools thought, language and music have been at the service of some interests, fulfilling specific functions in the construction of the nation. In them, we observe that the construction of identity is a continuous, constant and changing process in which different stories are superimposed. Seen this way, songs are historical texts where social interactions are reflected, and the past, the present and the future are constantly negotiated. The book also addresses the subject of performance practice of the Latin American song and ends with a proposal for its interpretation.

Blue book cover with a reproduction of a Romantic era painting depicting three people looking at a ship on the sea from a rocky shore.

The Cambridge Companion to the Lied

Beginning several generations before Schubert, the Lied first appears as domestic entertainment. In the century that follows it becomes one of the primary modes of music-making. By the time German song comes to its presumed conclusion with Richard Strauss's 1948 Vier letzte Lieder, this rich repertoire has moved beyond the home and keyboard accompaniment to the symphony hall. This is a 2004 introductory chronicle of this fascinating genre. In essays by eminent scholars, this Companion places the Lied in its full context - at once musical, literary, and cultural - with chapters devoted to focal composers as well as important issues, such as the way in which the Lied influenced other musical genres, its use as a musical commodity, and issues of performance. The volume is framed by a detailed chronology of German music and poetry from the late 1730s to the present and also contains a comprehensive bibliography.

Book cover with a color photograph of a Black woman performing in the center.

So You Want to Sing Spirituals: A Guide for Performers

With their rich and complicated history, spirituals hold a special place in the American musical tradition. This soul-stirring musical form is irresistible to singers seeking to diversify their performance repertoire, but it is also riddled with controversy, especially for singers of non-African descent. Singer and historian Randye Jones welcomes singers of all backgrounds into the style while she explores its folk song roots and transformation into choral and solo vocal concert repertoire. Profiling key composers and pioneers of the genre, Jones also discusses the use of dialect and other controversial performance considerations. Contributed chapters address elements of collaborative piano, studio teaching, choral arrangement, voice science, and vocal health as they apply to the performance of spirituals. The So You Want to Sing series is produced in partnership with the National Association of Teachers of Singing. Like all books in the series, So You Want to Sing Spirituals features online supplemental material on the NATS website.

Book cover with a pink, white, and pale blue background and text in black.

The Singing Teacher's Guide to Transgender Voices

The Singing Teacher's Guide to Transgender Voices is the first comprehensive resource developed for training transgender and non- binary singers. This text aids in the development of voice pedagogy tailored to the needs of transgender singers, informed by cultural competence, and bolstered by personal narratives of trans and non- binary singing students. The singing life of a transgender or non-binary student can be overwhelmingly stressful. Because many of the current systems in place for singing education are so firmly anchored in gender binary systems, transgender and gender nonconforming singers are often forced into groups with which they feel they don't belong. Singers in transition are often afraid to reach out for help because the likelihood of finding a voice teacher who is competent in navigating the social, emotional, physical, and physiological challenges of transition is minimal at best. This text equips teachers with a sympathetic perspective on these unique struggles and with the knowledge and resources needed to guide students to a healthy, joyful, and safe singing life. It challenges professional and academic communities to understand the needs of transgender singers and provide evidence-based voice education and real-world opportunities that are authentic and genuine. The Singing Teacher's Guide to Transgender Voices is the first book of its kind to provide thorough, organized information on the training of trans singers for educators in both the academic and independent teaching realms.

Red and black book cover with a black and white photograph of Talma at the piano.

The Art Songs of Louise Talma

The Art Songs of Louise Talma presents some of Talma's finest compositions and those most frequently performed during her life. It includes pieces appropriate for beginning, intermediate, and advanced singers and collaborative pianists. The songs include text settings of American, English, and French poets and writers, including Native American poems, works by W. H. Auden, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Emily Dickinson, e. e. cummings, John Donne, Gerald Manley Hopkins, William Shakespeare, and Wallace Stevens, as well as poems from medieval France and religious texts. Because of the popularity of Talma's choral works and the fact that her works for voice and piano were performed often, this sourcebook will be useful to singers at all stages of their careers, as well as scholars of twentieth-century music as a whole. The diversity of compositional approaches Talma used provides a snapshot of American trends in composition during the twentieth century; during the course of her career, Talma moved from neo-classicism to serialism and finally to non-strict serial-derived atonality in her works. Inclusion of performance and reception histories of the songs helps trace changing public taste in American art song and the repertoire of performers, particularly those interested in contemporary music.

Blue book cover with text in white.

Translating Song

This engaging step-by-step guide prescribes effective strategies and tactics for translating a wide range of songs and other vocal music, from classical to contemporary. Focusing on best practice and with a variety of language examples, the book centres on four key themes: translating songs for a range of recipients and within different contexts (skopos theory) translating songs for reading on paper or on screens (surtitles and subtitles) "singable translations" and the Pentathlon Approach translating expressive texts. With a substantial introduction, six insightful chapters, further reading and a glossary of key terms (also available at and on the Routledge Translation Studies Portal), this lively and clear student-friendly guide is essential for students, researchers and practitioners involved in or studying the practice of translating music. This will also be an engaging read for musicians and all those interested in the study of music.

Book cover with a line drawing of a person recording on a wax cylinder and a row of black and white stills of a singer.

Voice Lessons: French Melodie in the Belle Epoque

Language, education, science, and song come together in surprising ways in Katherine Bergeron's new history of music in the Belle Epoque. Voice Lessons examines the modern musical art known as la melodie francaise and its rise to prominence in the years around 1900 - a period when France was pouring resources into national literacy and French scholars were beginning to grasp the nuances of the spoken tongue. Bergeron explores the relationship between the free, secular, and compulsory school system of the Third Republic, and the experimental sciences of language that grew alongside it,to observe the ways in which both science and school redefined the verbal arts in France at century's end.The music of Faure, Debussy, and Ravel; the writings of Mallarme, Rimbaud, and Verlaine; the performances of Maggie Teyte, Reynaldo Hahn, and Sarah Bernhardt; the linguistic studies of Paul Passy and Abbe Rousselot: all these sources offer evidence of the new ideas of expression that proliferated during one of the most idealistic moments in French musical history, when poets, composers, actors, singers, and scientists all learned to imagine - and to speak - their language in new ways. Through close readings of songs, poems, sound recordings, and other historical records, Voice Lessons narrates the development of a rare musical art, seeking to explain why this art emerged, why it mattered, and why it eventually disappeared.

Pale taupe book cover with paisley background and text in red.

Recent American Art Song: A Guide

"Recent American Art Song: A Guide is devoted to songs with English texts by American composers written for solo voice and piano. The book focuses exclusively on art song since 1980, a substantial period largely ignored by scholars. This is the first study to examine this repertory in detail, and many of the songs and composers are covered in print for the first time." "Keith E. Clifton has examined approximately one thousand songs by nearly two hundred composers; Many songs employ musical idioms well beyond traditional classical styles, including jazz, musical theater, rap, and rock and roll, and several songs blur the boundaries between recital and stage works. Organized alphabetically by composer, entries contain complete biographical and bibliographical information, with major works and links to print resources and composer websites when available. In addition, Clifton provides detailed information on the vocal range, musical style, and appropriate voice type for individual songs. The book concludes with a full discography and bibliography, as well as indexes listing the works by poet, song cycle, title, voice type, and level of difficulty."--BOOK JACKET.

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Online Resources for Voice:

National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) - The largest international professional organization for teachers of singing.