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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 December 2020

Sentiment or Sentimentality?

Sentiment or Sentimentality?

(p.112) 34 Sentiment or Sentimentality?
On the Art of Singing

Richard Miller

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that there is a fine line to be drawn between true sentiment and superficial sentimentality during singing. Sensitive singers avoid the unimaginative concentration on sound solely for tone's sake that characterizes some singing. An opposite peril for the singer, however, lies in trying to prove to audiences and to judges how “musical” he or she is. Distortion of the music by putting on it one's personal stamp, in “underscoring” each nuance, is just as disturbing as monotonous vocalization. Unfortunately, some well-schooled singers have not yet found the important distinguishing border between true sentiment and superficial sentimentality. Part of the problem comes from attempting to put into practice the subtle suggestions offered by some coaches and teachers of “interpretation” regarding singing style, and the singer takes these principles to excess, thus diminishing the intrinsic instrumental beauty of the singing voice. Talented young singers sometimes mistake sentimentality for subtlety and finesse.

Keywords:   sentiment, sentimentality, singing, singer, music, vocalization, singing style, singing voice, interpretation

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