Singing and Imagination: A Human Approach to a Great Musical Tradition

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This book is written on the belief that the essential basic principles underlying good singing are in themselves rather few, and very simple, but that their application is amazingly varied in light of the individual's needs. It is not intended as a manual of voice production, and does not concern itself with medical matters, nor directly with anatomy, physiology, and acoustics.

While not belittling the value of appropriate scientific investigation, Thomas Hemsley believes that modern methods of training have gone too far in the direction of the materialistic approach; that singing in all its aspects and at all times should be guided by the imagination, the feelings, and the intuition; that we have become so pre-occupied by voice per se and the vocal function since the advent of vocal science, that we too easily forget that singing is not voice, but modification of voice - "not only a language through which we understand the emotions of others, but also a means of exciting our sympathy with such emotions," (H. Spencer). This book can be seen as an attempt to redress the balance.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book is one of the clearest, friendliest, and sanest books about singing and singing teaching that I have ever read. It matches a holistic integrity on the conceptual and spiritual level (something often lacking in such publications) with a simplicity of detailed explanation about practicalities. The ability to refer a wide range of singers (student, amateur, and professional) to this book will make my life a lot easier and more productive."—Robin Bowman, Head of Vocal Studies and French Consultant, National Opera Studio, London
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198790167
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 6/28/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 1,303,280
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

As a concert singer, Thomas Hemsley has performed a very extensive repertoire and has appeared as a soloist with symphony orchestras throughout Europe. He has sung under some of the greatest conductors of our time, and for such composers as Vaughan Williams, Hindemith, Stravinsky, Britten, Walton, Tippett, and Henze. He was Professor at Guildhall School of Music and Drama (1987-96) and Trinity College of Music (1988-92), and guest Professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Music.

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Table of Contents

I: The Basic Principles
Readiness to sing - The Raw Material
Posture - Hints
The Impulse
The Intention
Intention - Hints
The Anacrusis
The Importance of Good Diction
The Singer's Ear
The Pitch-Intensity Effect
II: Words and Music
The Works of the Imagination - Words and Music
Legato and Tessitura
The Pulse
III: Performance

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