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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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Let’s Build a Straw Man! (The Technique-versus-Artistry Debate)

Let’s Build a Straw Man! (The Technique-versus-Artistry Debate)

81 Let’s Build a Straw Man! (The Technique-versus-Artistry Debate)
On the Art of Singing

Richard Miller

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the technique-versus-artistry debate in singing. The increasing interest in functional aspects of the singing voice may be expected to cause a degree of apprehension among teachers who have not yet had an opportunity to acquaint themselves with the developing body of literature on the use and care of the professional voice. This comes largely because of an understandable concern that some long-held assumptions may be called into question. Such anxiety has led, in some quarters, to the setting up of a pedagogical “straw man,” a caricature of functional vocal instruction that can be toppled easily. This straw-man construction consists of the notion that vocal technique based on physiology and acoustics should be mastered before turning to musical and artistic factors. A crucial question that arises is whether vocal technique should be taught independently of artistry, one that creates a “science” versus “art” dichotomy in vocal pedagogy.

Keywords:   singing, singing voice, vocal instruction, vocal technique, physiology, acoustics, artistry, science, art, vocal pedagogy

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