Diction in Context is a unique and highly practical textbook for singers learning to sing in English, Italian, German, and French. Each chapter is designed for use in diction courses in academic music and voice programs, helping students learn through pronunciation, articulation, enunciation, punctuation, and cultural context in each language.
Students and teachers of singing will benefit from the text’s pertinent biographical, historical and literary sources along with diction rules and textual examples of English, Italian, German and French song. For each language, there is a section on sentence structure and syntax intended to assist readers with poetic analysis and word-by-word translations. Representative song texts are provided for the purpose of comparative listening and phonetic transcription. Comparative listening reveals subtle differences in expression and diction. In addition, the texts are presented in a workbook format, allowing space for IPA dictation practice.
Diction in Context provides singers with the tools needed to delve deeply into the poetry and music they sing, to pronounce text accurately and to feel confident in expressing it. By combining English, Italian, German, and French into one easy-to-use textbook, students will benefit from a comparative perspective of singing in each language.
- Repertoire lists are provided for each language and are designed to be used for class presentations and assessments
- Discussion questions to challenge reader comprehension of key concepts and songs
- Word-by-word translations to accompany foreign language texts
- An end-of-book glossary featuring definitions of terms in the text as well as terminology encountered in related literature
- Three practical appendices, including:
- Practice drills, quizzes, and assessment forms
- A list of additional resources for diction learning
- An Index of Works Cited featuring all poems and songs referenced in the book in one easily accessible list
- Access to a PluralPlus companion website with PowerPoint lecture slides, lesson plans, exercises, electronic versions of the appendices and supplementary resources
"Brenda Smith’s Diction in Context is a unique and worthwhile resource for teachers and students of undergraduate diction. It is evident that an enormous amount of experience and research went into the creation of this text, and yet at fewer than 400 pages it is a manageable length for a year of diction study. The organization and content are such that diction and interpretation are inextricably linked throughout, a message that is of the utmost importance for young singers. As stated in the first chapter, 'If the singer does not thoroughly grasp the text, the singing will be a vocal sound event without pathos and artistry.' Smith has created a resource that promotes knowledge and artistic expression from the earliest stages of vocal study, and it is a welcome contribution to the vocal literature canon."
—Jeanette Fontaine, Mississippi State University, in Journal of Singing (May/June 2020)
Brenda Smith, DMA teaches voice, singer's diction and pedagogy at the University of Florida. Dr. Smith holds degrees in vocal performance and pedagogy from the University of Evansville, Westminster Choir College, and the University of Maryland with further study at the Hocschule für Kirchenmusik der Ev. Kirche-Herford and the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst/Hamburg in Germany. Dr. Smith works regularly with choirs and is active in singing in singing voice research related to the aging process.