Wednesday, February 06, 2008

More exam readings

Below is list number 2 for my comps. This one focuses on issues of voice and race. There is a huge amount of material on race and music, but in the interests of producing a list I can actually get through by April 11, I am focusing explicitly on singing voices. The anomaly, then, occurs at the final two entries on the list, which deal with speaking voices, but in such a literalist, hard-science way, that I couldn't resist adding them. I did a vaguely tongue-in-cheek experiment with my students last semester, playing them the same piece of music sung by a counter tenor, a female soprano, a treble and a digitally constructed combination voice, and asking them to guess which was which. I once joked that a similar experiment with singers of various races would be interesting. And now I find someone has done it! And written a PhD thesis on it!!

And just because I think it is worth saying, the article by Grant Olwage called "The Class and Colour of Tone" is, in my opinion, the strongest writing on this topic available at present. Well worth a read.

Racialized voices bibliography

Antelyes, Peter. “Red Hot Mamas: Bessie Smith, Sophie Tucker and the Ethnic Maternal Voice in American Popular Song.” In Embodied Voices: Representing Female Vocality in Western Culture, ed. Leslie C. Dunn and Nancy A. Jones, 212–29. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

Averill, Gage. Four Parts No Waiting: A Social History of American Barbershop Harmony. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Hardy, Sarah Madsen, and Kelly Thomas. “Listening to Race: Voice, Mixing, and Technological ‘Miscegenation’ in Early Sound Film.” In ClassicHollywood, Classic Whiteness, ed. Daniel Bernardi, 415–41. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001.

Lavitt, Pamela Brown. “First of the Red Hot Mamas: ‘Coon Shouting’ and the Jewish Ziegfeld Girl.” American Jewish History 87/4 (December 1999): 253–90.

Leonard, Neil. Jazz and the White Americans: The Acceptance of a New Art Form. London: Jazz Book Club, 1964.

Lhamon, W. T. Raising Cain: Blackface Performance from Jim Crow to Hip-Hop. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1998.

Mann, Geoff. 2008. “Why does country music sound white? Race and the voice of nostalgia” in Ethnic and Racial Studies Vol. 31 No. 1 January 2008 pp. 73_100

Olwage, Grant. 2002. “Scriptions of the choral : the historiography of black South African choralism” in SAMUS: The South African Journal of Musicology Vol. 22, pp. 29-45.

___. 2004a. Music and (post)colonialism : the dialectics of choral culture on a South African frontier. PhD Thesis, Rhodes University. Grahamstown: South Africa.

___. 2004b. “The Class and Colour of Tone: An Essay on the Social History of Vocal Timbre” in Ethnomusicology Forum Vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 203-226.

Michael Rogin. 2002. “Blackface, White Noise: The Jewish Jazz Singer Finds His Voice” in Critical Inquiry, Vol. 18, No. 3. (Spring, 1992), pp. 417-453.

Rubio, Phil. “Crossover Dreams: The ‘Exceptional White’ in Popular Culture.” In Race Traitor, ed. Noel Ignatiev and John Garvey, 148–61. New York: Routledge, 1996.

Stras, Laurie. 2007. “White Face, Black Voice: Race, Gender, and Region in the Music of the Boswell Sisters” in Journal of the Society for American Music Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 207–255

Walton, Julie H. 1992. Speaker race identification from acoustic cues in the vocal signal. Ph. D. Thesis, Memphis State University.

Walton, Julie H. and Robert F. Orlikoff. 1994. “Speaker Race Identification From Acoustic Cues in the Vocal Signal” in Journal of Speech and Hearing Research Vol.37 738-745 August 1994.


Estrella said...

What a fascinating study. Thanks for posting the bibliography here. My choir director is a strong advocate of varying tonal color to make our repertoire sound as authentic as possible, and I imagine the descriptions of tone and timbre in these articles will help me to approach our repertoire from a different perspective too.

choirgirl said...

I'm glad you find it useful, Estrella. I'd be very interested to read any thoughts or comments you may have about specific texts