Posts Tagged ‘PeterPears’

Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and… Benjamin Britten

I think it started with Whitney Houston. Then Mariah Carey. And then it spread to any R&B singer with a record deal. And then American Idol. And now, just about every YouTube video you see.

It’s melisma. In singing, it’s any discrete changing of pitch while sustaining a single syllable. A common technique in baroque vocal music as well as ancient church practices of all western religions, it has become the hallmark of virtuosity. “Good” singing has become measured in extraneous flourishes, grace notes, and the extending of a phrase well past any reasonable proportion.

So what is there to do? Read the rest of this entry →


Nov 2010