Belting Beauties and Soaring Sopranos: Vocal Pedagogy to Address the Wide-Ranging Needs of Musical Theatre Females
Trudeau, Jared L.
- American musical theatre is an art form whose origins lie in the light-operetta of the late 19th century. Since then the influences of blues, jazz, ragtime, torch singing, crooning, Romantic period opera, rock, country, pop, R&B, gospel, and folk have been mixed together to create a truly eclectic dramatic art form. The vocal demands placed on actresses today include singing classically-influenced... read morecoloratura soprano lines in one show to belting a pop-rock score the next. Only in the past two decades has legitimate discussion of musical theatre vocal pedagogy been a topic of serious academic investigation, and it is still limited in scope and application. Classical vocal pedagogy has been developed and explored since the first voice manual was published in 1723. Most teachers of singing are well aware of the basic tenants of classical pedagogy: breath management, legato line, open pharyngeal space, low larynx, and chiaroscuro timbre, to name a few. While many of these fundamentals are useful to singers of many genres, classical pedagogy as it is practiced fails to prepare singers for all of the demands of musical theatre. The contemporary roles of Clara (The Light in the Piazza), Glinda (Wicked), and Natalie (Next to Normal) present the technical requirements of female ingenues ranging from legit singing to contemporary belting. In this thesis, issues of breath management, body alignment, registration, acoustics, and resonance are addressed through these specific roles, blending classical and contemporary vocal pedagogy. Proper training promotes health vocal function and a sustainable technique that meets the diverse needs of musical theatre actresses.read less