Composing for Voice: Exploring Voice, Language and Music, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Composing for Voice

Exploring Voice, Language and Music, 2nd Edition

By Paul Barker, Maria Huesca


300 pages | 93 B/W Illus.

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Composing for Voice: Exploring Voice, Language and Music, Second Edition, elucidates how language and music function together from the perspectives of composers, singers and actors, providing an understanding of the complex functions of the voice pedagogically, musicologically and dramatically. Composing for Voice examines the voice across a wide range of musical genres (including pop, jazz, folk, classical, opera and the musical) and explores the fusion of language and music that is unique to song. This second edition is enlarged to attract a wider readership amongst all music and theatre professionals and educators, whilst also engaging an international audience with the introduction of new co-author Maria Huesca.

New to the second edition:

  • A review of the history of singing
  • An overview of the development of melisma
  • A chapter to help performers understand each other, as singers and actors often receive disparate educations
  • Case studies and qualitative research around song, lyric and meaning
  • A discussion of the synthetic voice
  • An introduction to the concept of embodied composition
  • Interviews with composers and singers
  • Summaries of various vocal styles
  • A website with links to performances discussed, as well as related workshops:

Composing for Voice: Exploring Voice, Language and Music, Second Edition,articulates possibilities for the practical exploration of language, music and voice by composers, singers and actors.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Words

Chapter 2. Composers and Singers

Chapter 3. The Nature of the Singing Voice: A Composer's Perspective

Chapter 4. Voice/Music/Text I

Chapter 5. Voice/Music/Text II

Chapter 6. The Singer and Actorand Beyond

Chapter 7. Vocal Examples

Chapter 8. Singers on Composers

Chapter 9. Conclusions and a Way Forward

Chapter 10. Educational Activities

About the Authors

Paul Alan Barker is Professor of Music Theatre at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London.

Maria Huesca is Lecturer at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London.

About the Series

Routledge Voice Studies

Voice is everywhere. It is a medium of personal communication, central to technology, and a touchstone in discussions of identity, psychological development, and language acquisition. It offers aesthetic pleasure through the arts, act as a metaphor for authorial, feminist or subaltern voices, or be an umbrella term in politics, activism and religion as “the voice the people” is heard or silenced. Non-human or posthuman voices invite us to listen to animal voices, interactive voice recognition systems, and vocal synthesis effected in robotics labs. How do we account for these many versions, or ideas, about voice? How can something so transient and complex be discussed from a scholarly perspective? How might we move beyond current concepts of the voice in performance studies?

The Routledge Voice Studies series offers an exciting platform to interrogate these questions. Understanding voice as studies as a shifting landscape of questions and concerns, this series builds on current initiatives, seeking to expand and capitalise on the productive debates taking place in the areas of music, theatre, and performance studies, as well as cultural studies, ethnomusicology, sound studies, acoustics and acoustemology. Of equal interest are discussions happening in psychology, fine art, poetics and orality studies, linguistics, media and film studies, robotics and artificial intelligence, history and philosophy, translation and adaptation studies, among others.

To that end, we are delighted to include a variety of formats in the series. We are equally interested in monographs, themed edited collections, student-focused anthologies and sourcebooks, revised and expanded editions of classic texts, and inter-medial and multimedial outputs. These varied structures will attract both practitioners and scholars as contributors, and find a readership among established and emergent researchers, students and artists in the rich and provocative area of interdisciplinary voice studies. We hope you enjoy this fascinating journey with us.

Series editors: Dr Konstantinos Thomaidis and Dr Ben Macpherson

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General
MUSIC / Instruction & Study / Composition
MUSIC / Instruction & Study / Voice