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Do You Know the Storm? The Forgotten Lieder of Franz Schreker

Description: Franz Schreker (1878-1934) was a Jewish-Austrian composer of great success during the first decades of the twentieth century. Schreker’s reputation diminished after 1933 when Hitler came to power and, in 1938, his compositions were labeled Entartete Musik (“degenerate music”) by the Nazis in a public display in Düsseldorf. The Third Reich and post-war Germany saw Schreker as a decadent outcast, misunderstanding his unique style that combined elements of romanticism, expressionism, impressionism, symbolism, and atonality. This study of Schreker’s Lieder will pursue two goals. First, it will analyze the Mutterlieder (before 1898), the Fünf Gesänge (1909), and the first piece from Vom ewigen Leben (1923) stylistically. Schreker composed nearly four dozen Lieder, incorporating a wide range of styles and ideas. By studying and performing these songs written at various points in his career (including early songs, songs written after he met Schoenberg, and his last songs during the height of his fame), I hope to develop a clearer understanding of how Schreker synthesized the many cultural forces and artistic movements that seem to have influenced his compositional style. Second, this study will consider the sociopolitical circumstances that fueled the disintegration of his reputation. This disintegration occurred not just during the Third Reich, but also afterwards, notably in an often discussed essay by Theodor Adorno. Only in the last thirty years have scholarly voices critical of such rejections of Schreker emerged. My ultimate goal, then, is to join this reevaluation, studying and contextualizing this repertory to develop a new understanding of an oft-neglected chapter in the history of the German Lied.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Wallace, Alicia D

The Recorded Legacy of Enrico Caruso and its Influence on the Italian Vocal Style

Description: This dissertation presents evidence for the influence which tenor Enrico Caruso had on the Italian Vocal Tradition. This impact was clearly boosted by the revolution realized in the fledgling recording industry, and the recordable disc. In the years of 1902-1920 gramophones became commonplace, and collecting recordings became an interest for many. This new technology required specialized skills, and was especially suited to certain qualities of voice. Caruso enjoyed immense success in this medium, in recording over 250 records. Italian vocal style at the turn of the century was changing, and Caruso employed a new "modern" style in his singing. His interpretive decisions, vocal method, and repertoire which he championed had an impact on the vocal tradition of future generations. Comparison of his recordings with tenors Fernando de Lucia, Giuseppe Anselmi, and Alessandro Bonci shows a marked contrast in styles of "the old school" and Caruso's "more straightforward" approach. A collection of historical documents for those who succeeded him include many biographies, reviews, and quotes to demonstrate the extent of his influence. Recordings also show a movement toward "the Caruso Sound." Jussi Bjoerling, Franco Corelli, Richard Tucker, Mario Lanza, and Luciano Pavarotti were all influenced by the great Caruso. Almost 100 years have passed since he sang his last performance. He continues to inspire singers to this day, through his recordings and legacy passed on by many generations. He is the ideal, the measuring stick for all tenors to follow, and continues even to today.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Garst, John Dee

Clinical Symptoms and Signs Related to Voice Disorders among Collegiate-Level Singers: A Retrospective Study

Description: The objectives of this research were to (1) characterize the demographics and vocal health history of collegiate-level singers, particularly those with a voice disorder and (2) describe and compare self-reported symptoms of singers across diagnostic categories of vocal fold disorders. Clinical reports of 56 collegiate-level singers (15 male and 41 female) who visited the Voice Diagnostic Clinic at the University of North Texas for voice evaluations between 2010 and 2015 were reviewed. Information was extracted from clinical records including demographic data, vocal health history, self-reported voice-related symptoms, and voice diagnosis confirmed by strobolaryngoscopic examinations and phonatory function testing. Diagnoses of voice disorders were grouped under three categories: normal (i.e., no perceptible pathology), benign lesions and irritation/inflammation. Seven singers were diagnosed as normal, 27 (51.8%) with benign lesions, and 22 (39.3%) with irritation/inflammation. All singers diagnosed as normal were females. Female singers have twice as many benign lesions as irritation/inflammation whereas males presented the opposite pattern. Nodules, polyps, cysts and irritation/inflammation were the most common voice disorders. Singers with allergies and a past history of voice problems demonstrated a higher incidence of voice disorders. The top five self-reported vocal symptoms were worse voice in the morning (50%), pain in throat (46.4%), voice worse with prolonged use (44.6%), vocal fatigue (42.9%), and breathiness (41.1%). Self-reported symptoms are not a reliable screening tool to determine presence or absence of vocal pathology. Voice teachers must be familiar with the singing and speaking voice of each student, so as to perceive early onset of vocal attrition symptoms and encourage the student in seeking medical attention.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Mohr, Caitlin

The Shrinking Opera Diva: The Impact of Sociocultural Changes upon the Casting of Women in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Description: For most of the twentieth century, opera singers were not beholden to the ideal physical standard of women dictated by popular culture, but rather focused on serving the music and perfecting their artistry. Unprecedented sociocultural changes throughout the twentieth century exposed the shifting ideals of each generation and how they were promoted through mass media and advertising. This thesis surveys the time period of the 1890s to the present day for the purpose of analyzing cultural trends, philosophies and technologies that shaped the century. Societal pressure to make the body a project and the focus of one's own intense attention now reflects back onto the opera stage where audience members expect to see what society has dictated to be an acceptable female form. Artistic and stage directors are influenced by society's decree that only thin is beautiful, imbedding into the mindset of the art form notions that now affect how female professional opera singers are depicted and even employed.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Feldman, Lauren Nicole McNeese

Spanish Diction in Latin American Art Song: Variant Lyric Pronunciations of (s), (ll), and (y)

Description: Latin American art song is a genre primarily of the first half of the twentieth-century, when popular folklore served as the voice and inspiration of many poets and musicians. The nationalist movement served as a means of expression, each Latin American country with its own identity. There is great benefit for singers to study Spanish diction at an academic level, since it is a language already familiar to most U.S.A residents. There is a significant amount of unknown repertoire that would be very useful in the singing studio because of the language's open vowels. This repertoire can also serve as a confidence-builder to young Spanish-speaking singers at the beginning of their training. I will be focusing on the (s), (ll), and (y) sounds as pronounced in the diverse regions of Latin America; in particular, why they matter when coaching singers, and the articulators involved in each. The purpose of this study is to discuss diction differences in the repertoire, expound on its benefits for voice pedagogy, all while informing about varied options for recital programming.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Ortiz-Lafont, Camille

The Use of Classic Musical Theatre Repertoire for Training Bel Canto Techniques in the Undergraduate Baritone Voice

Description: For applied teachers of the bel canto method of singing, classical musical theatre repertoire provides an abundant resource of material for teaching the undergraduate baritone voice. Select classic musical theatre repertoire, fitting within the parameters of suitable range, tessitura, duration, and thematic material for an undergraduate baritone, will be used to demonstrate the application of bel canto techniques such as: glottal onsets, the connection between the speaking voice and singing voice, suitable vowels in building the upper range, and teaching sostenuto and legato. This dissertation serves as a guide for teaching sound vocalism through classic musical theatre repertoire.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Johnson, Brock

A Guide to Suitable Bass Solo Vocal Repertoire by J. S. Bach for Collegiate Baritone

Description: In the Baroque period, the baritone voice was not yet well-defined, but many composers wrote vocal pieces with a range appropriate for the modern baritone voice. Composers used the general categories of soprano, alto, tenor, and bass for solo voice in their compositions. Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) was no different from other Baroque composers in writing solo works to be performed by one of the four main voice types. The various ranges and tessituras of J. S. Bach's vocal works for bass solo voice are not limited to being sung by low basses, but may also be sung by more medium ranged baritones. The purpose of this research is to guide collegiate voice teachers and their baritone students in selecting appropriate repertoire from the works of Bach on the basis of each students' level of development and to categorize four groups of bass solos by Bach for collegiate baritone students: beginning level for freshmen, intermediate level for sophomores, advanced level for juniors and seniors, and pre-professional level for seniors and graduate students. This research was prepared in conjunction with a DMA lecture-recital of eight bass solos for collegiate baritone voice, selected from the study; two vocal works for each proficiency level.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Chang, Chul Woong

Understanding the Lirico-Spinto Soprano Voice through the Repertoire of Giovane Scuola Composers

Description: As lirico-spinto soprano commonly indicates a soprano with a heavier voice than lyric soprano and a lighter voice than dramatic soprano, there are many problems in the assessment of the voice type. Lirico-spinto soprano is characterized differently by various scholars and sources offer contrasting and insufficient definitions. It is commonly understood as a pushed voice, as many interpret spingere as ‘to push.' This dissertation shows that the meaning of spingere does not mean pushed in this context, but extended, thus making the voice type a hybrid of lyric soprano voice type that has qualities of extended temperament, timbre, color, and volume. This dissertation indicates that the lack of published anthologies on lirico-spinto soprano arias is a significant reason for the insufficient understanding of the lirico-spinto soprano voice. The post-Verdi Italian group of composers, giovane scuola, composed operas that required lirico-spinto soprano voices. These giovane scuola composers include Alfredo Catalani (1854 –1893), Umberto Giordano (1867 –1948), Pietro Mascagni (1863 –1945), Giacomo Puccini (1858 –1924), and Riccardo Zandonai (1883 –1944). Descriptions of the soprano voices that premiered these roles are included in this document to determine the suitability of the lirico-spinto soprano voice for each role.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Hartgraves, Youna Jang

"A Blossoming Tree": A Study and Interpretive Guide to the Songs of Nan-Chang Chien on Selected Poems of Muren Hsi

Description: According to a recent United Nations report, China's population of 1.4 billion represents 19% of the world's entire population of 7.6 billion. As the distance between east and west contracts in business, so too do the arts. This dissertation focuses on six selected contemporary Chinese art songs composed by Nan-Chang Chien. By providing the references of musical facts, synopsis of the poems, word-for-word translation, IPA transcription, poetic translation, and interpretive and performance guides, singers and pianists will have an overall understanding and detailed directions for learning the Chinese language and Chinese art songs. This dissertation also provides the foundation and model for further exploration and research into Chinese art sing literature by scholars in the west.
Date: May 2018
Creator: Tsai, Wei-Shu

Naples and the Emergence of the Tenor as Hero in Italian Serious Opera

Description: The dwindling supply of castrati created a crisis in the opera world in the early 19th century. Castrati had dominated opera seria throughout the 18th century, but by the early 1800s their numbers were in decline. Impresarios and composers explored two voice types as substitutes for the castrato in male leading roles in serious operas: the contralto and the tenor. The study includes data from 242 serious operas that premiered in Italy between 1800 and 1840, noting the casting of the male leading role for each opera. At least 67 roles were created for contraltos as male heroes between 1800 and 1834. More roles were created for tenors in that period (at least 105), but until 1825 there is no clear preference for tenors over contraltos except in Naples. The Neapolitan preference for tenors is most likely due to the influence of Bourbon Kings who sought to bring Enlightenment values to Naples. After the last castrato retired in 1830 and the casting of contraltos as male heroic leads falls out of favor by the mid-1830s, the tenor, aided by a new chest-voice dominant style of singing, becomes the inheritor of the castrato's former role as leading man in serious Italian opera.
Date: May 2018
Creator: Ekstrum, Dave William

A Countertenor Aria Collection Continuum for Studio Training and Performance

Description: An assessment of the standard voice instructor or performer collection of printed music would likely reveal numerous operatic repertoire volumes in anthology format appropriated to the primary four voice categories. However, thorough investigation divulges little in comparable printed material accessible to the countertenor. This scarcity of systemized collections is especially evident in the territory of comprehensive countertenor operatic repertoire. This project fills that present void by creating a compilation of sixteen countertenor arias drawn from various styles and historical periods for suggested application in studio instruction and performance. Perhaps, a more meaningful project intent is the presentation of a beneficial graded literature continuum resource for the studio teacher who instructs a countertenor in various stages of vocal development. For this purpose, each of the 16 arias is categorized into four difficulty levels based on considerations of range, tessitura, coloratura demands, rhythm, sustained phrase length, tonality, melodic considerations/overall musical difficulty, accompaniment support, and ornamentation requirements. The project also addresses common issues of pedagogy and ornamentation for voice teacher consideration when instructing a developing countertenor.
Date: August 2018
Creator: Stanley, David Thomas

A Detailed Investigation, Comparison, and Analysis of the Practice Habits of Undergraduate Vocal and Piano Performance Majors

Description: For musicians of all kinds, practice is an essential component in establishing and refining their skills. How a musician learns the art of practicing, and at what point in their musical and cognitive development can vary drastically. The purpose of this research is to understand how two groups of musicians, undergraduate vocal performance majors and undergraduate piano performance majors, developed (or consequently failed to develop) their respective knowledge pertaining to effective practice prior to entering the university setting, and how their practice habits changed (or consequently failed to change) after beginning study with a university instructor. This is accomplished by comparing the practice habits of the two groups prior to entering the university setting, and, after gaining admission into the degree program. Findings are supplemented with recent research pertaining to the study of learning and various types of practice.
Date: December 2018
Creator: Radziun, Barrett