Red Hot Voice
Red Hot Voice
Chapter 3 takes a radically material turn away from the historical questions of chapters 1 and 2 and to the musically embodied castrato voice, now vexingly lost. While acknowledging the acoustic problem, it shows that castrato voices can be better understood than heretofore. The chapter uses vocal production and emission to rethink the historical voice as sound, line, envelope, spectrum, frequency, and register. By amassing evidence from castrato scores, embellishments, pedagogical teachings, vocal exercises, anecdotes by fellow musicians, and heirs to castrato performance, and combining it with modern-day strobes, dissections, and MRIs, as well as acoustic analysis of the early recordings of the castrato Alessandro Moreschi and contemporaries, it shows that extraordinary castrato vocality accessed a high chest-dominant register with far-reaching musical consequences. The inferential evidence thus produced builds new methodological ramparts for musicology.
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