A History of Singing

A History of Singing

3.66 (6 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Electronic book text
By (author)  , By (author) 

List price: US$96.01

Currently unavailable

We can notify you when this item is back in stock

Add to wishlist

AbeBooks may have this title (opens in new window).

Try AbeBooks


Why do we sing and what first drove early humans to sing? How might they have sung and how might those styles have survived to the present day? This history addresses these questions and many more, examining singing as a historical and cross-cultural phenomenon. It explores the evolution of singing in a global context - from Neanderthal Man to Auto-tune via the infinite varieties of world music from Orient to Occident, classical music from medieval music to the avant-garde and popular music from vaudeville to rock and beyond. Considering singing as a universal human activity, the book provides an in-depth perspective on singing from many cultures and periods: Western and non-Western, prehistoric to present. Written in a lively and entertaining style, the history contains a comprehensive reference section for those who wish to explore the topic further and will appeal to an international readership of singers, students and scholars.show more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 1139210823
  • 9781139210829

Table of contents

Introduction; Part I. Imagined Voices: Mythology and Muses; Part II. Historical Voices: 1. The genesis of the Western tradition; 2. The emerging soloist and the primacy of text; 3. The age of the virtuoso; 4. The nineteenth-century revolution; Part III. Recorded Voices: 5. A great tradition: singing through history - history through singing; 6. Classical singing in the twentieth century: recording and retrenchment; 7. Post-classical: beyond the mainstream; 8. The emancipation of the popular voice; 9. Sung and unsung: singers and songs of the non English-speaking world; Part IV. Sources and Reference: 10. Sources; Bibliography.show more

About Dr John Potter

John Potter's first book, Vocal Authority, was published by Cambridge University Press in 1998, and he is the editor of The Cambridge Companion to Singing (2000). His book Tenor: History of a Voice was published in 2009. He has contributed articles to many academic journals and chapters to other books, including The Cambridge History of Medieval Music (forthcoming) and The Cambridge History of Musical Performance, published in 2012. He is Reader Emeritus in Music at the University of York (having stepped down from his lectureship in 2010 to focus on his portfolio of freelance projects). As a singer John has partnerships with instrumentalists in various parts of the world, notably the Argentinian lutenist and vihuelist Ariel Abramovich, the American medieval harpist Jan Walters and the British electro-acoustic composer Ambrose Field. He also sings with Red Byrd, The Dowland Project (which will release a fourth album in 2012), the Gavin Bryars Ensemble and the German group The Sound and the Fury. His most recent venture is Cantum Pulcriorum Invenire, a research project at the University of Southampton, which will see the release of three CDs of twelfth-century music on Hyperion and a multimedia live version with tenor Christopher O'Gorman and video artist Michael Lynch. John spent 18 years with the Hilliard Ensemble (whose CDs include the million-selling Officium); his complete discography runs to some 150 titles. He also coaches vocal ensembles all over the world, and chairs the ensemble contest jury at the Tampere Vocal Festival (Finland). Neil Sorrell is Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of York. He specialises in Asian music and has written, broadcast and lectured extensively on Indian and Javanese music. He is the author (with the sarangi player, Pandit Ram Narayan) of Indian Music in Performance: A Practical Introduction (1980) and is a recipient of the 1999 Hafiz Ali Khan Award, an international award in recognition of contributions to Indian classical music. He co-founded and directed the English Gamelan Orchestra, the first group of British musicians dedicated to the study, composition and performance of music for the Javanese gamelan. He has composed several pieces for the gamelan and is the author of A Guide to the Gamelan, 2nd edition (2000).show more

Review quote

'A fascinating book ... the authors are good at suggesting the social and political factors that influenced how singing evolved. And they vividly evoke those seminal moments when Western art-singing changed for ever.' Richard Morrison, The Times 'Fascinating ... Potter and Sorrell are imaginative and acute with sometimes fugitive evidence.' The Guardian '[Adopts] an attractive narrative style.' Opera 'This isn't just a good book for anyone interested in vocal music: it is an essential one.' Literary Review '... it quickly becomes clear that the joint authors share an engaging prose style ...' Gramophone Magazine 'Compulsive reading for anyone who wants to see and appreciate singing on a world stage.' Methodist Recorder 'The book is an impressive achievement ... fascinating fragments of knowledge are dispensed.' Classical Guitar '... there is something to fascinate in every paragraph ...' BBC Music Magazine 'Considering a vast scope of subject matter that is difficult to cover in a single volume, this book provides important historical perspectives on many aspects of singing.' Choice '... bristles with facts. Though written for the expert, it is equally accessible to the amateur alto.' The Economistshow more

Rating details

6 ratings
3.66 out of 5 stars
5 33% (2)
4 33% (2)
3 0% (0)
2 33% (2)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X