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On the Art of Singing$
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Richard Miller

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780195098259

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195098259.001.0001

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How Singing Is Not Like Speaking

How Singing Is Not Like Speaking

16 How Singing Is Not Like Speaking
On the Art of Singing

Richard Miller

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses some of the major differences between singing and speaking. Two adages that have long been a part of the useful reservoir of pedagogical language are “si canta come si parla” (one sings as one speaks) and “chi pronuncia bene, canta bene” (who enunciates well, sings well). They embody the conviction that the mechanism of singing is not an entity separate from the mechanism of speech, and remind us that the supraglottic resonator system is a phonetic instrument that permits vowel definition, consonant formation, and general language perception. These functions are as necessary in singing as in speaking, and the same basic acoustic factors apply in song and in speech. In any discussion of the relationship of the speaking voice to the singing voice, differences in regional and individual speech characteristics must be taken into account.

Keywords:   singing, speaking, speech, vowel definition, consonant formation, language perception, song, speaking voice, singing voice

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