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Lecture 11

MUS200H1 Lecture 11: Voice

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James Kippen

MUS200 Lecture 11 Voice • Cultural constructed and deeply meaningful • Voice is often seen as part of the body which is a naturalize of ourselves • we understand different things based on ways people say things • how we have the right to voice out opinion about things [power] • voices –linked to identity o used for protest, politics, communication • singers identities are linked to the quality of their voice o things we interpret to their voices are intricately linked to their identity • exposed ourselves to the world o people make assumptions of who we are based on assumptions of our voice • If we don’t speak right, fit into social norms, our voice becomes open to criticism • Fieldwork example o when you’re in a place where you look like you belong, your voice can put you apart and question your belonging/intention o voice are changeable o significance of recorded sound ▪ before early 1900s, people didn’t have access to recorded sounds or record themselves ▪ privilege to have a sounding device and the significant of this is that voices were recorded became detached from the body they were apart of ▪ led to an increase in imagination of people who were thinking about the voice behind the body of that sound • you start thinking what the person look like and how they’re engaging in the performance ▪ recording also introduced an intimacy of voice ▪ often when we’re speaking to each other, we aren’t that close to each other’s voices and only recently where we listen to voices in intimate ways • How microphone placement changed overtime o placed far from the performer so you’d project your voice • binaries such as tradition and modernity, modest and immodesty, morality and debauchery, East and West o child to adult, your voice changes and people read into different sounds in different ways • Singing voices can be understood in 2 primary ways o musical sound ▪ production of the voice, microphone, technology, how we hear voices and how they are produced o as a cultural construct with a particular history ▪ going back and seeing how history of voices change overtime and learn more about culture, identity, way men and women are divided • “The voice”—identified as a vehicle empowerment o primary ways through which we express ourselves into the world and are able to change and power other people o when people’s voices are taken away, they are without power in some sense • Women’s voices become public voices o women’s history in civil society is new to study and things are always changing o re-writing history, women are often the new approach to learning about the past in different ways • Flamenco voices—understand the physicality of vocal expression and what it takes to produce sound o relate to the grain of the voice o ability of the voice to embody meaning through lyrics and vocal quality • Indian courtesans and Bollywood playback singing voices Grain of the Voice • Roland Barthes (1915-1980): French philosopher with work in structuralism, semiotics, social theory, anthropology and post-structuralism • Image, Music, Text (1977) • Barthes recognized the limitation of language to describe music and looked for another way to use language to describe what Is heard in voice performance o instead of what we hear, we talk about the produce of sound • “The Gran of the Voice”—Barthes focus on “the very precise space (genre) of the encounter between a language and a voice” (181) o looking at the voice as something speaking and producing a musical sound • “The grain is the body in the voice as it sings, hand as it writes, the limb as it performs” (188) o the hand as it writes: producing language when you write, bodily movement that’s trained and constructed o he wants to bring attention to the body as it’s singing • Refers to the entire subjective and intersubjective/shared experience of listening to a voice as it sings o we hear the voice and are able to understand the physical process of that voice through its sound o Flamenco is raw • When we think about grain of the voice—we are listening to body singing, the relationship between producing language and singing sounds and we also think about ourselves as experiencing bodies Case Study #1: Flamenco • Have raw voices which adds to intensity of the lyrics they sing • associated with gypsy/Roman people in Spain o Entered southern Spain in 15 century o are not part of mainstream but people moving around the world but not a part of society o musical practice is now central to Spanish identity between Flamenco and Spain • Flamenco is a combination of o Cante (song) o Toque (Touch) o Baile (dance) • Meant to be a proud aggressive display of self esteem • 1850s, development of the urban café cantantes o bringing Flamenco sounds which allows interaction between middle and upper classes • From 1850-1900s: golden age of Flamenco and development of modern structure • 1930-1960s: decline of practice • 1960s-1980s: revival and they became a staple of the world music scene o people who were part of the periphery culture could now have the job • Listening Example #1: “La Gitana Morena” o accompanied on Guitar by Paco de Lucia o example of bulerias • Bulerias – Boisterous, festive form o “get-together”, finale o rapid tempo, quick rhythms o jaleo (shouts from other performers) o palmas (hand clapping) o palillos (finger-snapping) • Film: “Flamenco” (Carlos Saura, 1995) o energetic, different people coming in and out to dance and sing o interactive process of performance ▪ people listening and responding to what you’re saying o La Paquera de Jarez: 1934-2004 ▪ famous Flamenco singer ▪ passionate when singing • Cante (song) features o rough vocal tones, shouting, sobs and gesticulations ▪ hands, body and dance movement helped communicate the potential in her voice o affective use of pauses, breathes that indicate pain and anguish o emotion dominated the text o strong rhythmic framework • this example help identify the expressive potential of singer’s voices • Relate to Barthes o we hear the body in the voice as it sings o Flamenco voices are raw and expressive o without knowing the meaning of the words we can understand the physicality of the song and appreciate the process of production Case Study #2: India • Gender and how it is a socio-cultural construction o gende
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