Description: How much importance do we ascribe to text, and how much of this understanding do we communicate to our singers? To what extent do we involve them in the text so that both textual understanding and expression come alive within the music? Robert Shaw said, “There is no such thing as beauty of tone — only dramatic integrity of tone.” A text inspires the music and thus defines the tone. A textual approach ensures a tone whose quality represents the musical/textual thought and character within each composition. The interpretive level of good diction moves beyond initial levels of pronunciation and enunciation to a sensitivity of language in which words possess their own innate shape and expression. This attention to the expressivity of language shapes the choral tone, molds the musical phrase, and creates an aesthetic union of words and music.

Location: Truett Seminary, Baylor University – Waco, Texas

Session Handout: The Expressivity of Language (PDF)