Page 53 - Classical Singer magazine 2019 Fall University Issue
P. 53

H ow does IP A help, and why do I need to memorize it?
IPA was developed to  nd common ground in pronunciation by assigning symbols to sounds in languages studied—usually Italian, French, and German. Think of
IPA as a written version of S tar
T rek’s universal translator, but for sounds. IPA is an accessibility tool for singers, to help with di cult words always found in art song
and opera. As for memorization of IPA, a singer should grasp common practices and rules and then go to a book or online resources to  nd the exceptions.
Why doesn’t [insert artist’s name here] follow the rules even in their native language?
Understand that the way we speak a language can be di erent than how we sing it. For example,
“There are some wonderful textbooks and programs available to help teachers and students alike learn diction, but no one really talks about how to effectively present the materials in the classroom.”
sung French (français-chanté) is drastically di erent than spoken French (français-parlé). A native singer can use their mastery of the language for better interpretation. Also, sometimes particular vowels can sound more open or closed than expected due to pitch, rhythmic length, and word stress, among other factors.
Isn’t all English the same?
No, it’s not all the same!
For example, look up the song “Reunited” by Peaches & Herb and
imagine singing it the same way you would sing something out of Handel’s M essiah. I have broken down English into three distinct lyric styles based on text, time period, and historical perspective:
• Transatlantic: used in English up to the period between the two world wars
• Contemporary American: found in modern art song/opera, musicals, and standards
• Received pronunciation: sung and spoken in the oeuvre of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas
Faculty perform at the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, Covent Garden and more Access to New York City, just 45 minutes away
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