What the voice can do

Lately I’ve been think­ing a lot about com­pos­ing for the voice.¬† I typ­i­cally look for a text and rec­og­nize quickly if I think it will work for me as a com­poser. And I set about writ­ing it and I can hear it in my inner ear.

But the voice I hear is always a clas­si­cally trained voice.¬† The voice, of course, is capa­ble of so much more than just singing in an oper­atic way. It can coo, hum, shout, talk, growl, soothe, howl, and whisper.

In clas­si­cal music, of course, there is Sprech­stimme. And there are some wild avant-garde pieces for voice as well. Still, I think rock music (or punk or soul, etc.) tends to explore much more of what the voice can do than does clas­si­cal music. It’s good to stretch your bound­aries from time to time.

Just some­thing to think about when you start writ­ing your next vocal piece.

About Richard D. Russell

This was written by Richard D. Russell, New York City based composer of fine music.