A Blaze of Light in Every Word: Analyzing the Popular Singing Voice

ISBN : 9780190052218

Victoria Malawey
224 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Aug 2020
Oxford Studies in Music Theory
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The human singing voice holds immense power - to convey mood, emotion, and identity in songs, provide music's undeniable "wow" moments, and communicate a pop song's meaning perhaps more than any other musical parameter. And unlike the other aspects of musical content - like harmony, form, melody, and rhythm, for which generations of scholars have formed sophisticated analyses - scholarly approaches to vocal delivery remain grossly underdeveloped. An exciting and much-needed new approach, A Blaze of Light in Every Word presents a systematic and encompassing conceptual model for analyzing vocal delivery. Author Victoria Malawey focuses on three overlapping areas of inquiry - pitch, prosody, and quality - while drawing on research from music theory and pedagogy as well as gender studies and philosophy to situates the sonic and material aspects of vocal delivery among broader cultural, philosophical, and anthropological approaches to voice. Malawey develops a much-needed and innovative set of analytical tools through in-depth analyses of popular song recordings in genres spanning from hip hop to death metal. A Blaze of Light in Every Word brings new clarity to the relationship between the voice's sonic content and its greater signification, helping us understand the complexity and uniqueness of singing voices.


Chapter 1: Introduction: Why Voice? Why Voice Analysis?
Chapter 2: Pitch
Chapter 3: Prosody
Chapter 4: Quality
Chapter 5: The Area in Between: Mediation with Technology
Chapter 6: Synthesis, or Why Covers of Elliott Smith Songs Don't Work
Works Cited

About the author: 

Victoria Malawey is Associate Professor of Music at Macalester College. Her articles have been published in scholarly collections and journals such as Popular Music, Music Theory Online, The Journal of the Royal Musical Association, and Indiana Theory Review.

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