Journal of interdisciplinary voice studies


Launched by Intellect in 2015, Journal of interdisciplinary voice studies provides a platform for academics and practitioners involved in voice studies.

Voice is understood here as a phenomenon of different disciplines such as communication and performance, but also as a methodological tool and analytical mechanism. This journal aims to represent the wide variety of voice scholars and hopes to reflect the multifaceted nature of this subject.

Below, a project by the interactive theater collective non zero one, the subject of one of the articles in the inaugural issue.

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Gunther Schuller and the third stream


The term third stream was coined by Gunther Schuller in the late 1950s to describe the outcome of the merger of the African American improvisational tradition with Western art music.

Since then, the definition has been broadened to view third stream as a process rather than a style, in which the music is primarily improvised and becomes a deeply personal vehicle for soloists or collaborators.

This according to “Third stream and the importance of the ear: A position paper in narrative form” by Ran Blake (College music symposium XXI/2 [fall 1981] pp. 139–46).

Today would have been Schuller’s 90th birthday! Above, delivering the Cleveland Institute of Music’s commencement address in May 2015 (a video of the address is here); below, conducting his Monk, Bunk, and vice versa in 1989.

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Filed under 20th- and 21st-century music, Jazz and blues

Tommy Dorsey hits the screen

Tommy Dorsey's Band in Las Vegas Nights

Unlike his older brother Jimmy, who got his start in films with uncredited background music, Tommy Dorsey shrewdly bided his time until his band was famous enough to command a significant fee.

Unfortunately, his first film, Las Vegas nights, was a disaster. “A picture like that can come back and haunt you” admitted the film’s star, Bert Wheeler. Still, its place in history is assured as the first film appearance by Dorsey, Buddy Rich, and—as an uncredited chorus member—Frank Sinatra.

This according to “The Dorsey brothers: Filmdom’s favorites” by Robert L. Stockdale (The IAJRC journal XLI/2 [May 2008] pp. 46–57).

Today is Tommy Dorsey’s 110th birthday! Above, a still from Las Vegas nights showing Sinatra, far right in the back row (click to enlarge); below, an instrumental piece from the film.

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Filed under Jazz and blues, Performers, Popular music

Paul Hindemith, visual artist

Apparently Hindemith seized every opportunity to draw, from early childhood until his last December, when he completed that year’s entry in a series of Christmas cards that spanned more than 20 years.

He used any medium that came to hand—including menus, advertisements, and paper napkins—and clearly never considered his drawings to be very important; they were carelessly preserved, and almost never dated or titled.

Most of Hindemith’s drawings are whimsical, often to the point of grotesquerie. He characteristically filled all the available space, often with impossible conglomerations of people, animals, and machines. The richness of his ideas and the skill of their expression bear witness to a truly original talent.

This according to Paul Hindemith: Der Komponist als Zeichner/Paul Hindemith: The composer as graphic artist (Zürich: Atlantis, 1995).

Below, part of Hindemith’s tribute to a great visual artist—the Renaissance painter Matthias Grünewald. Herbert Blomstedt conducts the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester in Grablegung, the second movement of Symphony: Mathis Der Maler.

BONUS: Hindemith must have rotated the above drawing several times as he worked on it; it can therefore be viewed with any edge on top. Copy it into a picture editor and rotate it yourself to see the four different angles!

Related articles:


Filed under 20th- and 21st-century music, Humor, Visual art

Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel’s biography

Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel

The idea that Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy prevented his sister, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, from publishing her compositions is not a feminist reinterpretation of her life; it can be traced to 19th-century publications by the Mendelssohn family that portray both siblings within socially acceptable gender roles. Centering Hensel’s biography on her brother’s influence oversimplifies the historical situation for women composers, replacing issues surrounding gender and class with a single male villain.

Current treatments of Hensel rely on Romantic stereotypes of the neglected genius; her life reveals a need for a feminist biography that balances larger cultural constraints with recognition of individual female agency.

This according to “The ‘suppression’ of Fanny Mendelssohn: Rethinking feminist biography” by Marian Wilson Kimber (19th-century music XXVI/2 [fall 2002] pp. 113–129).

Todays is Hensel’s 210th birthday! Below, Claudie Verhaeghe sings her Nachtwanderer.

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Neil Young and “Storytone”

In a 2014 interview, Neil Young discussed the making of his 35th studio album, Storytone.

“It was a great experience. I was in a room with all these musicians. We did it all at once. There’s no overdubs. ‘Be great or be gone’, that’s what my producer David Briggs always said. You only have one shot at a time and you can’t go fix it.”

“I knew where I wanted to go with the songs, and the orchestra had charts and an arranger and everything…It was done with up to a 90-piece orchestra. We did it live in the room like Sinatra.”

This accrding to “12 Things we learned from Howard Stern’s interview with Neil Young” by Andy Greene (Rolling stone 14 October 2014).

Today is Young’s 70th birthday! Above, Young in 2014 (photo by Michael Kovac/WireImage); below, one of the Storytone sessions.

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Bryn Terfel’s physical fitness


In a 2011 interview, Bryn Terfel noted that a strong constitution is essential for the role of Wotan in Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, which he was currently performing at the Metropolitan Opera.

“If you’re not one hundred percent, there’s absolutely no way you can get through a piece like Die Walküre…if Rheingold starts there will probably be three or four performances, and you have to be very careful how you conserve energy during the period you’re there.”

“Mozart, for instance, is sociable—you do go to restaurants and theaters and anything the city has to offer. But with Wagner you seem to lock the door and take the low road. You’re more cautious: ‘No, I can’t come out to dinner—not this time.’”

Quoted in “The wanderer” by Brian Kellow (Opera news LXXV/11 [May 2011] pp. 22–27).

Today is Terfel’s 50th birthday! Above and below, as Wotan at the Met.

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Filed under Opera, Performers

Curios, news, & chronicles

Tristan chord

Established in 2015, Curios, news, & chronicles is the official blog of Répertoire International de la Presse Musicale (RIPM).

Currently posting about once a month, the blog explores topics through RIPM’s content, often with actual page views and illustrations from historical periodicals, and sometimes with whimsical asides.

Above, James William Davison, editor of The Musical World, reacting to the so-called Tristan chord (The Musical World LX/25 [24 June 1882] p. 385).

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Sound of the Faroes

faroe islands

The Faroese people sing a lot. The fact that young people from the Faroe Islands are extremely successful in the multitude of popular singing contests on television is not accidental.

The Faroese have always been diligent singers, especially regarding the various genres of traditional singing, which for centuries have formed an important part of Faroese culture. With the increasingly globalized everyday life of the past 50 years or so, music from all over the world has permeated everywhere, including the Faroe Islands; nevertheless, traditional Faroese singing and dancing are still alive and well in the 21st century.

Following in the wake of four separate volumes of Faroese traditional music, a new edition, Føroya ljóð í kvæðum, vísum, sálmum og skjaldrum/Sound of the Faroes: Traditional songs and hymns (Hoyvik: Stiðin, 2014) is a  single volume covering all of the topics. Part I is on Faroese dance with melodies for both kvæði and Danish ballads, part II is on spiritual singing and Kingo singing, and part III is on skjaldur. Each part describes the genres in question and offers a comprehensive selection of melody examples with an accompanying CD.

Below, the celebrated Faroese chain dance after the total solar eclipse on 20 March 2015.

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Filed under Europe, New editions

L’amorosa caccia

L'amorosa caccia

In 2014 Ut Orpheus issued L’amorosa caccia: 24 five-voice madrigals by Mantuan masters (Venezia 1588/1592), edited by Stefania Lanzo.

All of the Mantuan composers represented in this new edition were distinguished professional people, working within the church, at court, or in the Basilica Palatina di Santa Barbara, and music lovers of noble birth from the area who were connected to the Accademia degli Invaghiti.

The realization in score of the madrigals has made it possible to bring to light this collection, establishing its musical value and proving the remarkable mastery of madrigal writing of these 24 musicians and offering the opportunity to highlight each one’s different skill as a composer.

Below, a sequence of Italian madrigals.

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Filed under New editions, Renaissance