Decoded: Lilli Lehmanns How to Sing

Dirk Bogarde
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Skip to main content. You're using an out-of-date version of Internet Explorer. By using our site, you agree to our collection of information through the use of cookies. To learn more, view our Privacy Policy. Log In Sign Up. Voice as a technology of selfhood: Towards an analysis of racialized timbre and vocal performance Nina Eidsheim. Voice as a technology of selfhood: Towards an analysis of racialized timbre and vocal performance. To mi esposo, Luis, I also dedicate this work.

From Anne McClintock I have found in undertaking diverse scholarly and creative projects, and even in a seemingly solitary enterprise such as writing a dissertation, that it is the connections with people made possible by the project that continuously reward and feed me. The ways in which George challenges and triggers my imagination as a musician and a thinker have been essential to the path I have taken: his perceptive qualifying exam prompt in response to my topic on African-American opera singers is in fact the genesis of the direction this dissertation has taken. My first year seminar with Professor Jann Pasler was as mind opening as her questions are today.

Her inquiry into the ways we might think about history as women and as post-modernists continues to offer crucial lessons. My numerous independent studies with Professor Adriene Jenik Visual Arts Department have been a steady source of support, and have been especially helpful in terms of getting my head around some theoretical corners——specifically French poststructualism, gender and queer theory, and issues regarding human interactions with and through technological media.

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Professor Miller Puckette provided much guidance in my early project on interfaces for musicians. John, you have been the kind of mentor I one day hope to be. Andy Fry and Emily Hicks helped me formulate some of my early questions. Special thanks must go to Professor Carol Plantamura for working with me for six years, and for reminding me to keep singing even when I felt overwhelmed with writing and research. I have grown tremendously as an interpreter under her expert guidance.

I am also grateful to Stefani Walens for her beautiful coaching, accompaniment and support. A special thanks goes to her for making time for an independent study with me during my last quarter at UCSD, and for so diligently reading drafts and giving extensive comments. I owe so much in terms of friendship and lessons shared in writing and in life to Alex, with whom I have clocked hundreds of hours of dissertation writing, and Tildy Bayar, my dear friend and colleague. Thank you to all the teachers, students and voice researchers who have taken time to talk with me.

I have grown so much working with both of you. Friends and colleagues who don't quite fit into the previous categories, but to whom I owe a debt of gratitude, include Michelle Kisliuk, whose challenging research and evocative writing have guided me from the very beginning; Alejandro Madrid, who has given invaluable advice and support; Gaelyn Aguilar, whose writing has been a beautiful and profound read, and who helped me to grow as a writer. For the past six years Artsbridge and the Mapping the Beat project have also been an important part of my life.

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And, finally, to my husband Luis, who changed my life, and who consistently helps me to keep the big picture in mind. Special issue on Music and Performance Studies. Alejandro Madrid. Peer-reviewed, accepted. With Jacqueline Bobak and Paul Berkolds. New York: Acoustic Levitations. San Diego: Henceforth Records. Sounds from the Source. Los Angeles: Nine Winds. University of the West Indies.

July November Invited speaker. Norwegian Theater Academy, Fredrikstad, Norway. March February Lewis, Co-Chair In this dissertation I examine the production of race through sound in general and vocal timbre in particular, and investigate how the construction of the black voice—against the backdrop of the normative white—in opera, spirituals, and popular music reflects deeply-held American ideas about race. Which processes have contributed to the racialized perception and reification of timbre?

What are some of the social and political processes embedded in the cultural capital possessed by certain vocal timbres in specific cultural contexts and various historical periods? Investigating the vocal synthesis software Vocaloid, I uncover the macro politics of race and gender as they are materialized in the micro politics of sound: dominant race and gender relations are reproduced through electronic music products and tools. My study of the ways in which producers have framed the African-American jazz and ballad singer Jimmy Scott——as, most saliently, a woman, and as symbolizing death——offers insights into how nonconforming African-American masculinities are desired and consumed.

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This dissertation ultimately investigates the performative and corporeal aspects of the singing voice, considering these phenomena in terms which involve both performers and audiences. As a consequence, I have shifted the focus of inquiry from the sound of singing——which I term timbre sonic——to the physical act of forming that sound——timbre corporeal——and proposed an investigation of the choreography of vocal timbre.

Trinh T. Minh-ha2 Introduction Vocal timbre is commonly thought of as a given material with which words are formed or pitches are sung. In other words, vocal timbre is thought of as something indelible like a fingerprint. Using case studies, I reveal the tie that binds specific vocal timbres and the nature and significance of those meanings thereof.

And, using performance theory I take issue with the premise that the body with 1 California v. Orenthal James Simpson Quoted in Baugh Her emphasis.

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As a result the vocal folds were forced to deal with a high level of airflow, and in response the larynx resisted the excess airflow by fixing the vocal folds in a single position. Christina Shewell. This boundary corresponds to the stresses and anxieties produced by our mental processes. Many of our works include explanations of the printing and construction processes, and we even have books designed to elicit inspiration for budding artists. See Plate B.

In effect, vocal timbre is not viewed, legally or commercially, as unique. I argue that, unlike a fingerprint, vocal timbre is the sound of a habitual performance that has shaped the physical body. In other words, I claim that vocal timbre is not an elementary sound of an essential body, but rather that both timbre and body are shaped by unconscious and conscious training that are cultural artifacts of attitudes towards gender, class, race and sexuality. Therefore, I investigate racialized vocal timbre in order to assess both the creation of vocal timbre and the construction of individualized meaning and personal affectation through vocal timbre.

As such, this work examines the modalities implicated and vested through the production of vocal timbre. Driving all the discussions in this work is the goal of enhancing the understanding of the interlocking relationship between the body, the act of singing and the medium of vocal timbre through mapping the interaction between the discursive and corporeal, thereby distangling the process of the construction of meaning through vocal timbre and distilling its individual elements thereof.

The desired course of study is grounded in my conviction that by locating the mechanisms involved in the production, reception, and naming of vocal timbre we will also identify and thereby denaturalize the devices used in the construction and maintenance of race.

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However, interdisciplinarity on these pages refers not only to the academic fields from which I gathered knowledge about the voice but also to the avenues of questioning that have been raised. Inter is used in reference to the manner in which I have allowed knowledge of one area to feed over into another, or, perhaps more accurately, the ways material and experience have combined to force me to consider discipline in a larger context. One situation in which I had to face my own obstinacy to controlling the cross- feeding of knowledge took place at my last independent study meeting with Deborah Wong.

At the time of the meeting we had worked together for a quarter, and Deborah had read about half of the dissertation chapters, along with some more poetically written stories I had not yet decided what to do with. Each time I was elaborating one of the theoretical points I had made in the concluding chapter, I drew on examples from my experience as a singer and teacher of voice, examples that had not been included in the chapters themselves. A voice lesson is something I myself have taken and given for decades. Yet, when trying in conversation to explain some of the most important theoretical concepts that have been developed through this work, I always tend to revert to stories from voice lessons. The context broadened to a consideration of what narratives I deemed worthy of learning from. And subsequently, what narratives do I deem worthy of drawing upon in forming this story?

Did I weed out material sufficient and faithful to the goal of creating a proper, worthy, and official lesson? The functional implication of the plural voice lessons then encompasses more than the lessons I teach or the lessons in which I am being instructed.

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Through this study, I have learned that I myself had set stark limitations for my own interdisciplinarity. Without being aware of it, I had been conditioned to be taught by semiotics, critical theory, cultural studies, race studies and so on, as opposed to my own experience as a singer. For this study, I deemed improper and chose not to include the discoveries upon which most of my theoretical work rests, discoveries I had made as a voice teacher and singer.

I therefore use the term voice lessons to describe the lessons taught us in the moments when we are not ready, when we think we can censor…when we may not be at our best behavior and when we are off guard about our own reactions. Voice lessons are the pictures being taken when we do not know and do not pose. Voice lessons are the lessons taught when we are not consciously monitoring whether or not we are the kind of student that conforms to pre-conceived images.

For me, to be a vulnerable observer means full disclosure of all sources and modes of musical action that inform my research in seeking to fully reveal how the process of singing has been instructing and guiding this study. But in positioning my study within the root of vocal timbre, I am providing anchor for questions of musical embodiment and social articulation and an inquisitive logic leading outward to multiple lines of inquiry without allowing too much deviation.

Lilli Lehmann Sings "Ah, Fors'è Lui," From La Traviata 1906

This dissertation draws upon a range of sources, critical modalities and musical experiences in an attempt to understand the 5 Timbre is a parameter that never ceases to intrigue me as a singer and composer as it has constantly challenged and fed my musical praxis. In a professional symphony orchestra it is not uncommon that only one to two members of an 85 to member orchestra are African-American—about one percent.

Not only is the symphonic environmentally unfriendly towards non-white players, but also potentially in the practice of inviting women into their lines. Trombonist Abbie Conant fought well and long for her solo trombone chair in the Munich Philharmonic. Excerpts from beautiful performances by Reri Grist, Barbara Hendrix, Jessye Norman and others let the viewer and listener herself hold that information up against any narrative lines.

The main discussion within the opera world regarding race and voice takes place in the terms of the question of racialized type casting. This issue is discussed by both the team of Story and Schmidt-Garre and Schroeder.

How to Sing, While Only Slightly Overthinking It

Also African-American tenor Jason Oby takes these issues on fully in a series of interviews and a survey of African- American male opera singers. His findings reveal how African-American male opera singers experience racial type casting, indicating that works such as Porgy and Bess are mixed blessings Oby These works illuminate the fact that the issue regarding race and casting plays out differently for male and female performers.

Jason Oby and Lisa Barg discuss the ambiguous standing of all-black performer works such as Porgy and Bess and Four Saints in Three Acts by which the control and positioning of black bodies and voices is at stake.


Decoded: Lilli Lehmann's "How to Sing" - Kindle edition by Kendrick Jacocks. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Greatly condensed, the book focuses on the salient crux of what Lilli Lehmann had in mind and how she might have expressed it in a more contemporary era.

What bodies and voices should sing particular repertoires and roles? What bodies and voices are being chosen to represent certain characters? Both movies and film studies raise the question of what bodies are being paired with what vocal sounds. In Illusions , a short film that deals with the issue of racial passings, writer and director Julia Dash shows this dilemma in the reverse situation.

In the research process, Smith spends time in a location such as a neighborhood to interview various community members. Her plays are directly based on quotations from these interviews. Smith embodies each of the figures included in the play and moves fluidly between embodying the many and often strikingly contrasting characters. Observing vocality in film lets us examine how visual perception of a character formulates, shapes or affects the way we hear their voices.

Beyond the narrative and situational elements staged for film, everyday measures such as age, gender, and nationality or geographic locality determine our perception of the voice.