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Encyclopedia > Sprechgesang

Sprechgesang and sprechstimme (German for spoken-song and spoken-voice) are musical terms used to refer to an expressionist vocal technique that falls between singing and speaking. Though sometimes used interchangeably, sprechgesang is a term more directly related to the operatic recitative manner of singing (in which pitches are sung, but the articulation is rapid and loose like speech), whereas sprechstimme is closer to speech itself (not having emphasis on particular pitches)[1]. Expressionism as a musical genre is notoriously difficult to exactly define. ... Harry Belafonte singing, photograph by C. van Vechten Singing is the act of producing musical sounds with the voice, which is often contrasted with speech. ... Bold text This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy. ... Recitative, a form of composition often used in operas, oratorios, and cantatas (and occasionally in operettas and even musicals), is melodic speech set to music, or a descriptive narrative song in which the music follows the words. ...

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Sprechstimme

The earliest known use of the technique is in Engelbert Humperdinck's opera Königskinder (1897)[citation needed], but it is more closely associated with the composers of the Second Viennese School. Arnold Schoenberg asks for the technique in a number of pieces: the part of the Speaker in Gurre-Lieder (1911) is written in his notation for sprechstimme, but it was Pierrot Lunaire (1912) where he used it throughout and left a note attempting to explain the technique. Alban Berg adopted the technique and asked for it in parts of his operas Wozzeck and Lulu. Engelbert Humperdinck (September 1, 1854 – September 27, 1921) was a German composer, best known for his opera, Hänsel und Gretel (1893). ... The Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy. ... Königskinder (English: The Kings Children) is an opera by Engelbert Humperdinck. ... The Second Viennese School was a group of composers made up of Arnold Schoenberg and those who studied under him in early 20th century Vienna. ... Schoenberg redirects here. ... The Gurre-Lieder form a massive oratorio for 5 soloists, reciter, chorus and orchestra, composed by Arnold Schoenberg, on poem texts by Danish novelist Jens Peter Jacobsen (translated from Danish to German by Robert Franz Arnold). ... Dreimal sieben Gedichte aus Albert Girauds Pierrot lunaire, (three times seven poems from Albert Girauds Pierrot lunaire), commonly known as Pierrot Lunaire (Moonstruck Pierrot or Pierrot in the moonlight), Op. ... Portrait of Alban Berg by Arnold Schoenberg, c. ... Wozzeck is the first opera by the Austrian composer Alban Berg (1885-1935). ... Lulu is an opera by the composer Alban Berg. ...


History

In the foreword to Pierrot Lunaire (1912), Schoenberg explains how his sprechstimme should be achieved. He explains that the indicated rhythms should be adhered to, but that whereas in ordinary singing a constant pitch is maintained through a note, here the singer "immediately abandons it by falling or rising. The goal is certainly not at all a realistic, natural speech. On the contrary, the difference between ordinary speech and speech that collaborates in a musical form must be made plain. But it should not call singing to mind, either."[2] For the first performances of Pierrot Lunaire, Schoenberg was able to work directly with the vocalist and obtain exactly the result he desired, but later performances were problematic. Schoenberg had written many subsequent letters attempting to clarify, but he was unable to leave a definitive explanation and there has been much disagreement as to what was actually intended. Pierre Boulez would write, "the question arises whether it is actually possible to speak according to a notation devised for singing. This was the real problem at the root of all the controversies. Schoenberg's own remarks on the subject are not in fact clear."[3] Schoenberg would later use a notation without a traditional clef in the Ode to Napoleon Bonaparte (1942), A Survivor from Warsaw (1947) and his unfinished opera Moses und Aron, which eliminated any reference to a specific pitch, but retained the relative slides and articulations. Dreimal sieben Gedichte aus Albert Girauds Pierrot lunaire, (three times seven poems from Albert Girauds Pierrot lunaire), commonly known as Pierrot Lunaire (Moonstruck Pierrot or Pierrot in the moonlight), Op. ... Pierre Boulez Pierre Boulez (IPA: /pjɛʁ.buˈlɛz/) (born March 26, 1925) is a conductor and composer of classical music. ... A Survivor from Warsaw, Op. ... Moses und Aron (Moses and Aaron) is a two-act opera by Arnold Schoenberg with a third act unfinished. ...


Notation

In Schoenberg's musical notation, sprechstimme is usually indicated by small crosses through the stems of the notes, or with the note head itself being a small cross. The beginning of the vocal part in Pierrot Lunaire looks like this: This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...


Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ...


Schoenberg's later notation (first used in his Ode to Napoleon Bonaparte, 1942) replaced the 5-line staff with a single line having no clef. The note stems no longer bear the x, as it is now clear that no specific pitch is intended, and instead relative pitches are specified by placing the notes above or below the single line (sometimes on ledger lines). Figure 1. ...


Berg's sprechstimme is notated with a single stroke through the stems of the notes.


In modern usage, it is most common to indicate sprechstimme by using "x"'s in place of conventional noteheads.[4]


Uses

  • Kurt Weill adopted sprechstimme to accommodate Lotte Lenya's distinctive, though non-lyric, voice for her part as Jenny in Die Dreigroschenoper. Macheath's part also employs the technique.
  • The technique was used by child actor Sally Hamlin in her 1917 recordings of poetry by Eugene Field, and also to some extent by the actor Rex Harrison in the stage and film versions of the musical My Fair Lady, where he played Professor Henry Higgins, to cover up the deficiencies of his singing voice.
  • Playwright Melvin Van Peebles wrote a number of musical plays in which the lyrics were performed with the sprechgesang technique, in addition to his debut album, Brer Soul.[5]
  • Mr. Doctor of Devil Doll performs a unique sprechgesang, changing his voice to sound completely different.
  • Frank Zappa used the sprechstimme technique on a number of songs, including "Trouble Every Day" (from the album Freak Out!), "I'm The Slime" (from Over-Nite Sensation), "Dumb All Over" (from You Are What You Is) and on "Dangerous Kitchen", "The Radio Is Broken" and "The Jazz Discharge Party Hats" (from The Man from Utopia).
  • Fred Schneider of the B-52's frequently uses sprechstimme, adding a stark contrast to the melodic, high voices of lead singers Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson.
  • British guitarist Mark Knopfler's singing style in certain songs such as the Dire Straits' songs "Money for Nothing", "Sultans of Swing" and "Fade to Black" may be considered by some to be sprechstimme.
  • Iconic musician Bob Dylan uses the technique in almost every song.
  • In Germany today, since the early 1990s, the term Sprechgesang has been given a new, more popular meaning of "German-language rap music."
  • Bon Scott and Brian Johnson of AC/DC heavily uses Sprechstimme.
  • John McCrea of the band Cake uses the Sprechstimme technique on many songs.
  • Jimmy Pop of Bloodhound Gang makes use of Sprechstimme in almost all of the band's songs.
  • William Shatner's album Has Been is composed of spoken word and Sprechgesang pieces, including covers of songs that were not originally in the Sprechgesang style.
  • The genre of rap and rapping itself is entirely a Sprechgesang. A rap verse will indubitably fall within the boundaries of singing and speaking.

Kurt Julian Weill (March 2, 1900 – April 3, 1950), born in Dessau, Germany and died in New York City, was a German and in his later years, a German-American composer active from the 1920s until his death. ... Lotte Lenya (October 18, 1898 – November 27, 1981), singer and actor, born Karoline Wilhelmine Blamauer, in Vienna, Austria. ... The Threepenny Opera (Die Dreigroschenoper) was a revolutionary piece of musical theatre written by the German dramatist Bertolt Brecht in collaboration with the composer Kurt Weill in 1928. ... The term child actor is generally applied to a child acting in motion pictures or television, but also to an adult who began his or her acting career as a child; to avoid confusion the latter is also called a former child actor. ... Sally Hamlin (born Sarah Emery Hamlin, 1902, Brooklyn, New York, USA) was a child actor and recording artist. ... 1917 (MCMXVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 13-day slower Julian calendar (see: 1917 Julian calendar). ... Eugene Field, American writer Eugene Field (September 2, 1850 - November 4, 1895) American writer, best known for poetry for children and for humorous essays. ... Sir Reginald Carey Rex Harrison (b. ... My Fair Lady is a musical with a book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, based on George Bernard Shaws Pygmalion. ... Melvin Van Peebles, circa 2001, as seen in the documentary The Real Deal (What it Was. ... Brer Soul is a 1969 album by Melvin Van Peebles. ... Mr. ... Mr. ... Frank Vincent Zappa[1] (December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993) was an American composer, musician, and film director. ... Freak Out!, released June 27, 1966 on MGM/Verve Records, is the debut album of The Mothers of Invention, led by Frank Zappa. ... Over-Nite Sensation is an album by Frank Zappa and the Mothers, released in 1973 (see 1973 in music). ... You Are What You Is is an album by Frank Zappa. ... The Man from Utopia is a 1983 album by Frank Zappa. ... Fred Schneider, solo album, 1996. ... The B-52s are a rock band from Athens, Georgia, the first of many from the college town that has become one of the most important centers in alternative rock. ... Kate Pierson in the R.E.M. music video Shiny Happy People Kate Pierson (born 27 April 1948, in Weehawken, New Jersey) is one of the lead singers of The B-52s. ... Cindy Wilson, born Cynthia Leigh Wilson on February 28th, 1957. ... Mark Freuder Knopfler OBE (born August 12, 1949, Glasgow, Scotland) is a English-Hungarian guitarist, singer, songwriter, and film score composer. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Money for Nothing is a song by Dire Straits, which first appeared on their 1985 album Brothers in Arms and subsequently became an international hit when released as a single. ... Sultans of Swing was the first single release of the British rock band Dire Straits. ... This article is about the recording artist. ... Hip hop music is a style of popular music. ... Ronald Belford Bon Scott (July 9, 1946 – February 19, 1980) was a Scottish born Australian rock musician. ... Brian Johnson (born October 5, 1947 in Dunston, Gateshead, England) is an English singer and songwriter, best known as the lead vocalist for the Australian hard rock band, AC/DC. He currently lives in Sarasota, Florida. ... This article is about about the band. ... John McCrea (born 1966 in Belfast, Northern Ireland) is a comic book artist best known for his collaborations with writer Garth Ennis. ... Cake (properly written as CAKE) is a band from Sacramento, California, formed in 1991. ... FAWK Jimmy is a Red Sox Fan and an University of Kentucky fan as evidenced in his video with the Bloodhound Gang titled Mope Jimmy Pop made an appearance in the CKY series of films, during a shopping cart race scene. ... “The Bloodhound Gang” redirects here. ... William Alan Shatner (born on March 22, 1931) is a Canadian actor who gained fame for playing James Tiberius Kirk of the USS Enterprise in the television show Star Trek from 1966 to 1969 and in seven of the subsequent movies. ... Has-been A has-been is somebody who used to be famous or popular, but their career/reputation has gone down since that time. ... RAP may mean: the IATA airport code for Rapid City Regional Airport Rassemblement pour lalternative progressiste, a Québecois political party. ...

Sprechgesang

The term sprechgesang is more closely aligned with the long used recitative or parlando techniques than sprechstimme. Where it is used in this way, it is usually in the context of the late Romantic German opera in the 19th and early 20th century. Thus sprechgesang is often simply a German alternative to recitative. [6] Recitative, a form of composition often used in operas, oratorios, and cantatas (and occasionally in operettas and even musicals), is melodic speech set to music, or a descriptive narrative song in which the music follows the words. ... The era of Romantic music is defined as the period of European classical music that runs roughly from the early 1800s to the first decade of the 20th century, as well as music written according to the norms and styles of that period. ... Mozarts German singspiel The Magic Flute (1791) stands at the head of a German opera tradition that was developed in the 19th century by Beethoven, Weber, Heinrich Marschner and Wagner. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999...


Sprechgesang was not a term used by Arnold Schoenberg himself, but it is frequently used by others to refer to his sprechstimme. As such, the two terms have become interchangeable in this context.


References

  1. ^ Wood, Ralph W.. Concerning "Sprechgesang", Tempo, new series no. 2, December 1946. (pp. 3-6)
  2. ^ Schoenberg, Arnold. Verklärte Nacht and Pierrot Lunaire. Dover Publications. New York, 1994. ISBN 0-486-27885-9 (p. 54)
  3. ^ Boulez, Pierre. Orientations. Faber and Faber. London, 1986. ISBN 0-571-14347-4 (From the essay Speaking, Playing, Singing, written 1963, pp. 330-335)
  4. ^ Read, Gardner. Musical Notation. Taplinger Publishing, New York, 1979. ISBN 0-8008-5453-5 (p. 288)
  5. ^ James, Darius (1995). That's Blaxploitation!: Roots of the Baadasssss 'Tude (Rated X by an All-Whyte Jury. ISBN 0312131925. 
  6. ^ Wood, 1946: "'Sprechgesang' means a 'parlando' manner of singing, and indeed is translated in standard dictionaries as 'recitative,' whereas 'sprechstimme' in itself simply means 'speaking voice'".

See also

Recitative, a form of composition often used in operas, oratorios, cantatas and similar works, is described as a melodic speech set to music, or a descriptive narrative song in which the music follows the words. ... For the English folk dance, see Rapper sword. ... Talking blues is a sub genre of the blues music genre. ...

External link

  • A translation of Schoenberg's foreword to Pierrot Lunaire

  Results from FactBites:
 
Sprechgesang - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (288 words)
Sprechgesang (German for "speech song") or Sprechstimme ("speech voice") is a technique of vocal production halfway between singing and speaking.
Schoenberg asks for the technique in a number of pieces: the part of the Speaker in Gurrelieder (1911) is in Sprechgesang, almost all of Pierrot Lunaire (1912) uses the technique, and it is also employed in his opera Moses und Aron (1932).
In Schoenberg's musical notation, Sprechgesang is usually indicated by small crosses through the stems of the notes, or with the note head itself being a small cross.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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