Building Bridges Between

the Contemporary Composer and the Classically-Trained Singer

-       Aesthetical oxymoron or fruitful relationship?





1.    Introduction


       1.1. Spotting the problem

              1.1.1.   Singing the ‘unsingable’

              1.1.2.   An instrumental metaphor/ analogy

                                  Or - which instrument am I writing for?

              1.1.3.   Research Question


       1.2. Personal background

              1.2.1.   Why me?

              1.2.2.   What do I do?

              1.2.3.   What to do now? or, how to build a bridge?


       1.3. The process - Is research just what I do anyways?

             1.3.1.   The two worlds – an inner need to unite

             1.3.2.   Setting borders, choosing frames

             1.3.3.   Chosen methods - What to expect?

             1.3.4.   Where could it lead? - A guide for composers and singers


2.    The relation of Composer and Singer – a broken bridge or a cliff


       2.1. A short look through of a long relationship

       2.2. The ‘break’

       2.3. Famous couples


3.    The Singers Side


       3.1. Interview subject: Noa Frenkel, the modern classical singer

              3.1.1.   Introducing Noa

              3.1.2.   The classical vocal training – what is a classically trained singer?


       3.2. Modern vocal music – similarities, difficulties, preparation

             3.2.1.   Where and when does modern music come in the picture?

             3.2.2.   Different genres, different techniques?

             3.2.3.   First Thinking, then Singing – how to prepare modern music?


      3.3. Collaboration with composers

             3.3.1.   ‘No,no,no’ – why am I here then? Limitations or opportunities

             3.3.2.    ‘Not well written’? - Problems with notation and/or not vocal writing

             3.3.3.   ‘Tailored for my voice’ – collaboration with a composer

             3.3.4.   Subtext, intention, character

             3.3.5.   Singing everything – the sports analogy


4.    The Composers Side


      4.1. Interview subject: Martijn Padding, the Modern Composer


      4.2. ‘What do I feed it with?’ Education in vocal composition

                      – how much do composers know about  singers in general?

             4.2.1.   Mapping the voice

             4.2.2.   Vocal Composing in education, and in the field nowadays

             4.2.3.   The aesthetics of the preferred voice


      4.3. Composing – always a collaboration with the performer

             4.3.1.   Writing for a singer or an instrumentalist     

             4.3.2.   Modern opera – a hybrid

             4.3.3.   Actor or singer? A matter of taste

5.    Case study

           Singing the tenor solo of ‘De Materie’ by Louis Andriessen


       5.1. The piece

       5.2. The role – a vocal challenge

       5.3. Preparing – solving the problems

       5.4. The outcome 

       5.5. Conclusions


6.    When in the middle – being a singer and a composer 

       6.1. My own singers’ ideal as composer - before starting to learn singing

       6.2. Voice – the subconscious connection

       6.3. Private or personal

       6.4. Singing with a composer’s ear playing a synthesizer or piano? 

       6.5. Composing with a singer’s ear – after tasting your own pudding

       6.6. The last scene of Twin Peaks – ‘Second years’ Vocal Project’


7.    When in-between – two experiments for being a mediator


       7.1. The specialist


       7.2. Vocal coaching at Young Composers’ Meeting

              7.2.1.   Project background

              7.2.2.   Helping the singers

              7.2.3.   Indicating changes with composers

              7.2.4.   A lecture for composers

              7.2.5.   Results


      7.3. Teaching ‘Composing for Vocal Ensemble’

              7.3.1.   Project background                                                                              

              7.3.2.   Preparing the composers

              7.3.3.   Working with the singers

              7.3.4.   Results


8.    Conclusions – a guide for composers and singers who work together


      8.1. Suggestions to singers, wishing to sing modern music

      8.2. Suggestions to composers, writing for the classically trained voice

      8.3.  Closing thoughts

9.    Bibliography, sources





First chapter