Academic journal article Journal of Singing

Settle the Score: Performer's Analysis for the Classical Singer

Academic journal article Journal of Singing

Settle the Score: Performer's Analysis for the Classical Singer

Article excerpt

Skelton, Kevin. Settle the Score: Performer's Analysis for the Classical Singer. Charleston, SC: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013. Paper, 148 pp., $29.95. ISBN 978-1-49093-573-7 http://kevin skelton.com/settlethescore/

Kevin Skelton has studied singing, conducting, and musicology at major universities in Canada, the United States, and England. He draws upon this experience to offer singers a method of learning music that encompasses both vocal production and musical construction. Skelton begins the volume with an overview of the primary components of vocal technique, and suggestions for establishing a vocal warm up routine. This emphasis upon technical issues underlines Skelton's focus upon learning a piece with good vocal production while simultaneously making interpretive and expressive choices. The author uses three contrasting pieces to illustrate his approach: "Amarilli, mia bella," by Giulio Caccini, "Die Nacht," by Richard Strauss, and "Dans un bois solitaire," by W. A. Mozart. After presenting the scores in their entirety, Skelton provides direction for analysis. He advocates a two-step process. The first is deconstructive analysis: translating and transcribing the text into the IPA, and dissecting the score. Three perspectives-textual, melodic, and harmonic-are standard. A fourth form of analysis, which is seldom included in discourse on music learning processes, is vocal analysis. Shelton recommends that singers identify the types of vowels and consonants (such as voiced fricative consonants) to facilitate technical prowess in their production. Finally, he offers specific steps for learning coloratura passages.

The second step in the process is reconstructive analysis. …

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