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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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Reality and Art

Reality and Art

36 Reality and Art
On the Art of Singing

Richard Miller

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers how singing transforms reality into art. Every singer should realize that art is not reality; rather, art consists of the disciplining of reality for the portrayal of emotion without succumbing to emotion. It simply is not possible to experience deep levels of pain, joy, or sexual arousal in public and to sing about them at the same time. Art is knowing how those experiences would feel and how to translate them into communicable representations. The true artist-singer has long since learned to pull the private emotional plug, to climb out of the bath of personalized sentiment, and to dress raw emotion in the clothing of skillful artistry. The singer's task is not to experience emotional highs in performance but to transform sentiment through artistic means so successfully that the audience can share with the performer in the portrayal. The artistic imagination learns to simulate dramatic situations never experienced in life. Raw emotion is not art. Art is not raw emotion.

Keywords:   singing, reality, art, singer, emotion, performance, sentiment

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