A Different Voice, a Different Song: Reclaiming Community Through the Natural Voice and World Song

A Different Voice, a Different Song: Reclaiming Community Through the Natural Voice and World Song

By: Caroline Bithell (author)Hardback

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A Different Voice, A Different Song traces the history of a grassroots scene that has until now operated largely beneath the radar, but that has been gently gathering force since the 1970s. At the core of this scene today are the natural voice movement, founded on the premise that "everyone can sing", and a growing transnational community of amateur singers participating in multicultural music activity. Author Caroline Bithell reveals the intriguing web of circumstances and motivations that link these two trends, highlighting their potential with respect to current social, political and educational agendas. She investigates how and why songs from the world's oral traditions have provided the linchpin for the natural voice movement, revealing how the musical traditions of other cultures not only provide a colourful repertory but also inform the ideological, methodological and ethical principles on which the movement itself is founded. A Different Voice, A Different Song draws on long-term ethnographic research, including participant-observation at choir rehearsals, performances, workshops and camps, as well as interviews with voice teachers, choir and workshop leaders, camp and festival organisers, and general participants. Bithell shows how amateur singers who are not musically literate can become competent participants in a vibrant musical community and, in the process, find their voice metaphorically as well as literally. She then follows some of these singers as they journey to distant locations to learn new songs in their natural habitat. She theorises these trends in terms of the politics of participation, the transformative potential of performance, building social capital, the global village, and reclaiming the arts of celebration and conviviality. The stories that emerge reveal a nuanced web of intersections between the local and global, one which demands a revision of the dominant discourses of authenticity, cultural appropriation and agency in the post-colonial world, and ultimately points towards a more progressive politics of difference. A Different Voice, a Different Song will be an essential text for practitioners involved in the natural voice movement and other vocal methodologies and choral worlds. As a significant study in the fields of ethnomusicology, music education and community music, the book will also be of interest to scholars studying the democratisation of the voice, the dynamics of participation, world musics in performance, the transformative power of harmony singing, and the potential of music-making for sustaining community and aiding intercultural understanding.

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About Author

Caroline Bithell is Senior Lecturer in Ethnomusicology at the University of Manchester, UK. Her book Transported by Song: Corsican Voices from Oral Tradition to World Stage was published by Scarecrow Press in 2007. Her edited collection The Past in Music appeared as a special issue of the journal Ethnomusicology Forum (2007). Most recently she has co-edited The Oxford Handbook of Music Revival (2013/2014). Other recent work has focused on polyphonic singing from the Republic of Georgia.


Contents ; List of illustrations ; About the companion website ; List of illustrations on the companion website ; List of video tracks on the companion website ; Acknowledgements ; Introduction ; 1 The Natural Voice, Community Choirs and World Song: Setting the Scene ; Singing for Water ; The Bigger Picture: Definitions and Perspectives ; Singing in the Spotlight ; Research Contexts: Surveying the Literature ; Voice and Voicework ; Singing and Choirs ; Community Music and Community Music Therapy ; Ethnomusicology and World Musics in Education ; Musical Tourism ; Digging Deeper: Themes, Issues and Concepts ; Networks, Scenes and Movements ; Global Flows, Cosmopolitan Cultures and Transnational Connections ; World Music, Cultural Appropriation and Intercultural Engagement ; The Politics of Participation and the Art of Celebration ; Dancing in the Streets ; 2 In Search of the Natural Voice ; The Original Instrument ; Frankie Armstrong and the Natural Voice Practitioners' Network ; The NVPN Philosophy and Concepts of Music in Society ; The Giving Voice Project, Theatrical Roots and the Natural Voice in Performance ; Kristin Linklater and Michele George ; Alfred Wolfsohn and Roy Hart ; Jerzy Grotowski and W?odzimierz Staniewski ; Giving Voice as Culture and Community ; A Meeting of Worlds: Giving Voice and the Natural Voice Network ; The Natural Voice in Perspective ; 3 Natural Voice Practitioners and their Journeys: Histories and Connections ; A Gathering of the Natural Voice Clan ; The Roads that Lead to the Natural Voice ; Frankie's Singing Journey ; Meetings with Voice Practitioners: Contexts and Continuities ; Musical Lives ; The Folk Connection ; The Political Connection ; The Theatre Connection ; The Classical Connection ; The Community Music Connection ; The Therapy Connection ; The Circle Dance, Summer Camp and Alternative Community Connection ; The World Music Connection ; The NVPN as Community of Practice ; 4 From Principles to Practice: The Culture of Natural Voice Choirs and Workshops ; If You Can Talk, You Can Sing ; Working with the Voice ; Preparing to Sing: The Function of Warm-up Exercises ; Arriving and Tuning In ; Voice, Body, Breath, Mind ; Paving the Way for Singing in Style ; How Times Have Changed ; The Aural Method: Teaching and Learning by Ear ; Repertoire: Songs from the Oral Tradition ; Resources for Teachers ; Expanding Horizons ; Of Learning and Living ; 5 Singing the Songs of Others ; A World of Song ; The Attraction of Songs from Elsewhere ; Entering New Sound Worlds ; Entering the Lives of Others ; Deeper Resonances: Lost Pasts and Present Yearnings ; The Politics of Unintelligibility ; Songs from Taize ; Text and Meaning in the Vernacular ; Vocables in Georgian Song ; Ours or Theirs? Of Boundaries and Crossings ; 6 Performing the Other: Appropriations and Transformations ; Framing Intercultural Encounters ; The African American Continuum and Gospel's Global Journeys ; Back to Africa ; Songs and Dances from South Africa ; Songs of the Aka and Baka ; Balkan Bridges ; Gifts from Georgia ; Authenticity, Alterity and Possession ; 7 Singing Communities: The World of Community Choirs ; Singing in the Streets ; Choirs, Choirs Everywhere ; Choirs in the British Media ; Amateur Choirs in Britain: Social and Political Legacies ; International Perspectives: Building Bridges through Song ; Locating the Community Choir: Worlds within Worlds ; The Choir in the Community and the Community in the Choir ; Singing, Health and Happiness ; The Place of Performance ; Opening Doors ; 8 Scenes from the Global Village: Singing Camps and Travels ; The Singing Village ; Reclaiming Paradise: Of Fields, Festivals and Foreign Shores ; Tapping into the Festival Current ; Theorising Travel and Tourism ; A Village in a Field: The Unicorn Natural Voice Camp ; The Unicorn Experience ; The Unicorn Repertoire ; The Unicorn Community ; Choirs on the Move ; The Village on the Move: Village Harmony's Overseas Camps ; Village Harmony in Corsica ; Village Harmony in Bosnia ; Village Harmony and other Travels in Georgia ; Of Refashioning Identities and Living Differently ; 9 The Voice of the Future ; Gathering the Threads ; Fallacies and Other Truths ; A Quiet Revolution ; A River of Music ; Appendix: NVPN Philosophy and Working Principles ; References ; Index

Product Details

  • publication date: 25/09/2014
  • ISBN13: 9780199354542
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 376
  • ID: 9780199354542
  • weight: 670
  • ISBN10: 0199354545

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