Colour and timbre

Well a New Year and a remembrance of an old idea but i think I must get down and write that book before I forget what I want to say!!!

I am listening to Anne Schwanewilms and Susan Gritton and thinking what amazing colours they find to bring to their singing. I guess it was a pianist that made me realise how one could achieve so much from one instrument. Richard Goode was the pianist who I heard live in Bath some years ago. He played or rather ‘orchestrated’ the piano with so many nuances of colour I could not believe it was the same instrument. Last year I wrote an article for Contemporary Review and I am now planning to do some workshops to illustrate what I try to teach my students about employing more colours. I teach principally University singers, young voices with lots of potential but with whom I have to take great care as their instruments are not yet fully grown and stable and so it seems a good idea to me, at least, to work on opening up their ears to the possibility of the nuances of colour in languages and text.

Languages, vowels and consonants, tuning, texture, harmony, resonance all contribute to the colours we can make with our voices but are our ears really open to the perceptual skills we need to imagine the colour before we sing. That is what I want to explore in the workshops and in writing the book. There are many wonderful books on teaching singing and I cannot repeat those ideas but I do think there is a bit of a gap in the market when it comes to Vocal Perception and giving singers the tools to explore their timbre and enrich their voice.

So I had better get on with it….

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