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The voice athlete: the lyric singer and the relationship with his body

Grant number: 14/20054-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2015
Effective date (End): April 02, 2017
Field of knowledge:Interdisciplinary Subjects
Cooperation agreement: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal Investigator:Marilia Velardi
Grantee:André Azevedo Marques Estevez
Home Institution: Escola de Artes, Ciências e Humanidades (EACH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):16/12887-8 - Somaesthetics: thinking about body and voice, BE.EP.MS

Abstract

By talking to singers what one can notice in their speeches is that, usually, the body of the singer is considered an instrument through which the craft of singing is produced. This thought seems to emerge from an attempt to compare his musical practice to that of the other musicians - the instrumentalists, which indeed must perform with an instrument. The body as an instrument makes us have the sensation of it as a tool that may accomplish something that is outside of it, thereby, we may imply that our being is made up of one mind that uses the body as its instrument to turn ideas into action. According to Le Breton in his work L'adieu au corps, there is in our time a strong tendency to consider our body as something empty, that may be corrected, fixed, rectified. A body in which prevail the organs. To the author, this idea of body is based on the scientific speech of our time; the body as raw material, that may be improved, refined or modified. There are, increasingly, publications of papers that seek to study motor, functional and physiological functions in singing, what may be observed in recent publications in the field of speech therapy and medicine. As a consequence of the almost hegemonic way of knowledge production, the role models that intend to teach lyric singing introduce us, frequently, to the idea of teaching supported by the biological perspective of the body, what, probably, reinforces the idea of body as an instrument. In my point of view, the singing is not something that 'gets out' of the singer, but something that happens in him. His history, his experiences, his relations do not leave his body so a part of it can produce the sound; therefore, it is necessary to find ways of understanding how the vocal emission relates with the whole and not exclude it. Supported by a mechanical point of view, the vocal pedagogy seems to be more interested in the section than in the whole, more in the physiological aspect of the larynx than in the sensation and body perception, its corporeality. It is here that I find myself as a questioner. Studying singing under a systemic paradigm, I found authors that explore this art in a fashion that seemed to me more interesting and correlated to what I have been experiencing, like François Delsarte and his singing philosophy, Valborg Werbeck-Svärdström supported by anthroposophy, Richard Corbeil using the Feldenkrais Method for vocal development and Janice Chapman with her holistic approach to singing. It was in the somatic education that I found my holistic way to develop my vocal technique. Supporting my own perception and experience, I found in the literature studies indicating the relevance of the somatic education systems in the field of arts as something that enhances perception, autonomy and body and mind flexibility, generates benefits to expressivity, communication, eliminating excessive tensions and sensitizes us to the body-voice-emotion integration. Supported by my reflections nourished by the practice of somatic education, I find myself in a place where questioning the traditional approach to singing seems to me not only a call, but an urgency. However, I realize that more than a different way of thinking about vocal technique, what my experience instigates me to research is something even further in the bottom, it is an existential question of perception: how does the singer relate to his own body? Thus, it seems coherent to ask, in this paper, if lyric singers really identify their body as their instrument and, in this way, what is the role of motor practices (body practices and physical activity) in their performance development? Do these practices help to configure a concept of body analogous to the instrument or do they allow a construction of the meaning of corporeality? (AU)

Academic Publications
(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)
ESTEVEZ, André Azevedo Marques. The voice athlete: the classical singer and the body. 2017. Master's Dissertation - Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Escola de Artes, Ciências e Humanidades São Paulo.

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