The Voice Culture

Singing in Languages You Don't Speak Ep. 7

Episode Summary

We examine the whys and hows of the foreign language requirements in voice degree programs, and the issues around singing and listening to songs that you cannot digest without a translation.

Episode Notes

Singers that attain degrees in higher education often have to go through the experience of singing in a foreign language. But shouldn’t we question this paradigm, especially when the communication of the text suffers as a result? If we hold singing as an act of communication, shouldn’t attainment of language proficiency in speaking occur before singing in a language one doesn’t understand? Precedent exists for songs and opera in translation, so perhaps consideration should be made for singing well in one’s own language as a priority in the vocal training of young singers. For those wishing to train in languages, discussion of diction resources by Cheri Montgomery and David Adams are covered.