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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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Singing the Recitative

Singing the Recitative

35 Singing the Recitative
On the Art of Singing

Richard Miller

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the recitative as a distinct vocal style. The origins and the development of the recitative as a distinct vocal style offer an intriguing historical view of the art of singing itself. It is not possible to speak of performance practices in the recitative without taking into account its existence over a period of four centuries and its integral relationship to those more static moments in opera served by the aria. It is apparent that the term stile recitativo has its etymological source in the verb recitare, which means “to recite” and “to perform.” A cursory look at several forms of recitative can help clarify confusion that sometimes surrounds contemporary performance practices of recitatives. A singer who is serious about stylistic authenticity must keep in mind the differences between various types of recitative, and the fact that they are all written for the singing instrument.

Keywords:   recitative, vocal style, singing, performance, opera, aria, stile recitativo, singer, singing instrument

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