The purpose of this research is to extend my performance as a jazz vocalist by including a previously unexplored element in my practice as a composer and vocalist: the spoken voice. After listening, transcribing and analyzing examples of spoken voice as they already existed in composed and improvised music, I undertook a vast series of quasi experiments and evaluated those in connection to the continuous feedback by my experts. By doing so, I got deeply informed about the consequences of including spoken voice techniques in my compositions and improvisations.
This Master Research project brought me to two main conclusions. The first conclusion is that implementing my speaking voice in my improvisations in a jazz context required the development of my own method, where the action of speaking is harmonically and rhythmically supported and enhanced by the action of extemporaneously playing the piano. The second conclusion I draw is that including the spoken voice in my compositions and improvisations required theatrical training in order to perform them convincingly.
A vast number of video files is added to this report to show the steps I took to result in my final outcome. This final artistic result is documented in the recorded video of my original composition “The Tell-Tale Heart” for voice, piano and contrabass clarinet. In this composition, my ultimate and highly individual application of the spoken voice both influenced the process of creation and shaped my way of performing the piece.
This research is supposed to resonate between singers, composers and musicians and encourage them to widen their compositional palette through including new unexplored elements, stretch the boundaries of their interpretational skills, experiment with crossovers between artforms in their music, develop their own improvisation methods. Finally, I would like to encourage jazz singers to go beyond the role that is unconsciously being given to them.