Whose Voice Is It Anyway?

Rachel Griffiths

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    CALL FOR PAPERS SONG, STAGE AND SCREEN XII 19 – 22 JUNE 2017 At GUILDFORD SCHOOL OF ACTING, UNIVERSITY OF SURREY, GUILDFORD, UK. MUSICAL MULTIPLICITY In recent years the influence of singer-songwriters, tv shows, jukebox musicals and politics have challenged the perceived homogeneity of musical theatre, showtunes and the Hollywood musical. in a period in which societal diversities are under threat, musical theatre and film exhibits new multiplicities of subject matter, modes of storytelling, and production styles. Simultaneously, artists with varied backgrounds from singer-songwriters to practitioners in verbatim or physical theatre are creating musical theatre which challenges accepted methodologies for creating musicals. Additionally, digital media allows for new platforms for the performance, delivery and marketing of musical theatre; raising a challenge to the very nature of the artform. This conference considers and celebrates all facets of multiplicity in musical theatre and musical film; from staging concepts challenging the traditional proscenium, to musical styles from Hamilton to La La Land. Papers might consider how diversities have created developments in musical storytelling throughout history, and how revivals are informed by later innovations unimaginable at the time of the original production. Topics for papers and presentations may include, but are not restricted to: • Musical multiplicities • Diversities of platform; beyond the stage and screen • Staging diversities • Choreographic multiplicities • The challenge to societal diversity and the response of musical theatre/film • Gender diversities in the musical, • The challenge to the traditional ‘showtune’ • Diverse methodologies of developing musicals; beyond the workshop • Developing new audiences in musical theatre Papers should be designed to last no more than 20 minutes. Please send an abstract of no more than 200 words for blind peer review (your name should not appear anywhere in the proposal) to the conference convenor, Julian Woolford, Head of Musical Theatre at GSA: [email protected] with the subject heading “Song, Stage and Screen XII”. The deadline for proposals is Saturday, February 18 2017. ‘Whose Voice Is It Anyway’? ‘We may feel so in awe of the seeming vocal perfection of our idols that we become immensely critical of our own voice for what it naturally is.’ Brophy, B (2012) The Singers Instinct. BBVS, Toronto, p108 Just as nearly all modern popular music recordings are heavily edited, mixed, compressed, and equalized before release, so too are the vast majority of musical theatre cast recordings. The clarity of digital sound magnifies every small imperfection of the natural voice. Compression, reverb, delay, equalization, and in extreme cases, auto-tune are used to combat this. The implications are wide-reaching in terms of both performance and pedagogical practices. The digital alteration of voices on musical theatre soundtracks and cast recordings for both stage and screen is influencing the vocal habits and development of potential musical theatre performers, as particularly young women, attempt to mimic this compressed, artificial recorded sound, emulating what they consider to be perfection. This paper addresses two inter-related key questions: How might this influence the development of musical theatre performance in terms of professional industry practice? What are the implications of these developments in pedagogical terms and how do we address them? Although there are several works which present analyses of these developments, none of these works seek to address the implications in terms of pedagogical/training practices or from an industry perspective. None of the existing research presents this analysis within a critical framework which allows us to consider this in terms of gender. This paper will consider why more women are influenced and how this should be addressed within a pedagogical context, both in practice and theory. Bibliography Brophy, B (2012) The Singers Instinct. BBVS, Toronto, p108 Edwards, M (2016) Audio Equipment and Vocal Health, Manual of Singing Voice - Rehabilitation, CCC-SLP, Plural Publishing LeBorgne, W and Rosenberg, M (2014) The Vocal Athlete, Plural Publishing. Jan Švec, Harm K. Schutte, and Donald G. Miller, ‘On Pitch Jumps between Chest and Falsetto Registers in Voice: Data from Living and Excised human Larynges’, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Vol. 106, No. 3, Pt. 1 (September 1999, 1523-29), 1523. Screlting: a combination of the words screaming and belting, reserved for performers forcefully singing at the top of their range.4 Sep 2014. The Directory of Contemporary Musical Theatre Writers, found online at https://contemporarymusicaltheatre.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/screlting-or-please-dont-stand-so-close-to-me-vol-1/
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusAccepted/In press - 30 Mar 2017
    EventSong Stage and Screen XII - Guildford School of Acting, United Kingdom
    Duration: 19 Jun 201723 Jun 2017


    ConferenceSong Stage and Screen XII
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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