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

ISBN : 9780199354542

Caroline Bithell
376 ページ
162 x 237 mm

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.


List of illustrations
About the companion website
List of illustrations on the companion website
List of video tracks on the companion website
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


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.