School of Music


Master of Arts in Music Education (MA)


Wayne Kompelien


lyric diction, vocal pedagogy, classical singing, vocal technique, singer's formant




There is a widely accepted view by voice teachers at all levels that the English language poses significant challenges for the classical singer in both diction and technique. For the native speaker, this notion may be puzzling and frustrating. This study aims to research and provide pedagogical strategies to assist the teacher and aid the student in singing English successfully and with effective classical technique. The primary research question is: What are the main challenges of singing English diction with classical technique? Other sub-questions include 1) How do period and style affect how the language is sung? 2) To what extent do regionalism and dialect affect language delivery? 3) What pedagogical strategies aid the singer in conquering these technical challenges? The research will look at prominent diction and technical pedagogues in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries for insight. The peculiar qualities of the language, the vast array of musical literature throughout the eras, and the variety of forms the language takes on via differing countries, regions, and dialects provide a set of challenges that can easily confuse or overwhelm any singer, particularly the developing one. This research applies to singers seeking consistency and excellence in their English diction and any teacher pursuing effective pedagogical strategies in their students' vocal development.

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