Voice Syllabus

Freshman Year

Repertoire: Songs in English and Italian: 17th and 18th century Italian songs by composers such as Caccini, Caldara, Giordani, Monteverdi. Early American songs by Foster, Hopkinson; folk songs and ballads collected by John Jacob Niles and others; folk songs of Ireland, England and Wales; spirituals from the Black tradition. Shaker songs and songs by the American Moravians; simple pieces by Haydn, Arne, Pergolesi, Gluck, Handel, etc.

Technical: Vocalises such as Sieber: 36-eight measure vocalises; Vaccai: Practical Method (early exercises based on scale line and particular intervals in increasing difficulty); Marchesi, S. Op. 15 (each exercise focuses on one element of technique, e.g. chromatic scales, arpeggios, triplets in succession, minor scales, octave leaps, repeated notes, portamento, messa di voce, etc. with increasing difficulty) .

Musical/Vocal Skills: An understanding of how to practice correctly. Demonstrated understanding of the basics of breath support. Muscular relaxation and coordination leading to tonal freedom. Clarity of vowel production. Introduction of International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). Basics of Italian and English diction. Work on an even scale line ­balance of registration. Ability to sing a legato line. Elements of stage presence and recital etiquette. Translation of all non-English pieces.

Sophomore Year

Repertoire: Concentration on American and British art songs and German Lieder. Music of Barber, Vaughan Williams, Bernstein, Hageman, Duke, Ireland, Carpenter, Persichetti, MacDowell, etc. Introduction to Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Grieg, Dvorak. Continuation of songs in Italian, adding Donaudy, Scarlatti, Tosti. Early English music by Morley, Purcell, Dowland and others; arias by Mozart, Haydn, Handel. Gilbert and Sullivan operettas and works by Lehar, Friml, Rodgers, Gershwin.

Technical: Continuation and refinement of vocalises done the previous year.

Musical/Vocal Skills: Re-emphasis on the basics of technique: breathing, relaxation and coordination, freedom and ease of tone production, even scale line, legato technique. Experimentation with resonance and awareness of projection. Exercises for flexibility and range extension. Greater emphasis on clarity of enunciation, consonant production. Elements of German diction. Greater rhythmic complexity in songs and awareness of harmonic integration with accompaniment. Mastery of texture skills: legato, staccato, marcato. Awareness of phrasing. Translation of all non-English pieces.


Junior Year

Repertoire: Concentration on French melodies and more complicated Romantic and contemporary literature. Songs by Faure, Debussy, Duparc, Bizet, Chausson, Berlioz, Ravel, Offenbach. Songs by Bellini, Donizetti, Vivaldi, Schutz, Wolf, R. Strauss. Folk song material set to contemporary accompaniment such as settings by Copland and Britten. French folk song based material, such as Bergerettes arranged by Weckerlin or Cantaloube's arrangements of Songs of the Auverne. Awareness of music by Bartok, Kodaly, de Falla, Obradors, Granados, etc. Arias from opera and oratorios. Dramatic music by Weill, Ives, J. Strauss, Menotti, Barber, Gounod. Duets from song literature, opera, musical comedy, oratorio. During the junior or senior year, voice majors are expected to perform a song cycle.

Technical: Increasing mastery of more difficult vocalises focusing on specific needs of the student. Isolation of difficult passages within repertoire the student is learning to make this into an etude. Addition of more difficult vocalises, such as those by Mathilde Marchesi and Lamperti.

Musical/Vocal Skills: Re-emphasis on solid foundation of good vocal technique. Work to extend pitch range and greater emphasis on dynamic range throughout the compass of the voice. Greater attention to interpretive elements-mood, dramatic presentation, body involvement. Musical complexity: meter changes, modulations, less reinforcement of vocal line from accompaniment. Phrasing. Careful attention to markings in score. Understanding more musical terms and incorporating them into performance. Elements of French diction. Translations of all non-­English compositions. Understanding of vocal warmup and ability to devise simple exercises to meet their own technical needs.


Senior Year

Repertoire: More difficult contemporary songs in English; moderately difficult arias; art songs in German, French or Italian; songs and arias with added instruments, including Bach arias; contemporary American arias and duets; song cycles. Spanish songs. Arias by Copland, Moore, Floyd, Menotti, Barber, Weill, Gershwin. Songs by Tschaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Liszt, Poulenc, Rodrigo, Hindmith, Verdi, Puccini. Arias by Rossini, Donizetti, Massenet, Smetana, Britten. Song cycles by Beethoven, Schumann, Schubert, Argento, Rodrigo, etc. Folk songs with contemporary accompaniment. Works by less performed composers such as Cowell, Foss, Dello-Joio, Marx, Ginastera, Kilpinen, Distler, Hovhaness, Satie, Villa-Lobos, Fine.

Technical: Reinforcement of solid technique and musical awareness through increasingly difficult vocalises and repetition at new levels of familiar material accumulated through four years. For advanced students, perhaps the addition of Panofka: Art of Singing.

Musical/Vocal Skills: Awareness of vocal coloring. Greater independence of the vocal line from the accompaniment. Ability to incorporate atonal intervals into a melodic line and make sense of it. Understanding of what a cadenza is and how to approach it. Ability to sustain (dramatically and vocally) an extended work. The musicianship to conduct a rehearsal with a pianist and added instruments. Understanding of baroque ornamentation applied to the returping A section of a piece. proficiency (basic) in French, German and Italian (also English) diction. Ability to perform music of various periods and styles and make the transition successfully from one to another.

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