Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Performance Guide to Mandarin-Chinese Diction and Selected Art Songs by Yiu-Kwong Chung
by Sun, Yung-Wei, D.M.A., The Ohio State University, 2012, 118; 10631287
Abstract (Summary)

Over the past few decades, many social and cultural avenues from different countries have opened up, creating an emergence of singers from new cultures. This has allowed singers more opportunities to sing their national vocal repertoires in public concerts, placing new talents and repertoire on international stages. Some languages in these repertoires traditionally have been rare, such as Spanish, Russian, and Czech, and their introduction began to catch audiences' imaginations. Take American singers as an example; they are excited to sing their new nationalistic repertoire for international competitions or concerts. As the repertoire's texts and libretti related to the diction of that repertoire are published, the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) which is the universally recognized tool for singers to learn how to pronounce languages is becoming prevalent. This provides non-native speakers of those languages a more accurate and clearer mechanism in which to sing in those languages, which in turn allows these new vocal pieces to immediately become more popular.

The artistry found in Mandarin-Chinese art songs is just as high as the vocal works in other languages, such as the French Mélodie or the German Lied. However, it is very difficult for non-native speakers of Mandarin-Chinese to sing the Mandarin-Chinese art songs because of their unfamiliarity with the language and the absence of literature related to the diction of Mandarin-Chinese.

This study uses a singer's point of view to explain pronunciations of Mandarin-Chinese IPA. By using the English, Italian, German, and French IPA systems, four of the most familiar languages for singers, it describes the pronunciations of Mandarin-Chinese which would give singers easier and accurate access to Mandarin-Chinese diction. It also provides the IPA for ten songs by one of the most well-known composers in Asia, Yiu-Kwong Chung. Each song provides not only the IPA translation of the texts of the Mandarin-Chinese songs, but also a word-for-word translation, and a poetic translation. The study offers a valuable bridge that provides countless non-native speakers of Mandarin-Chinese singers a clear, understandable, and efficient way to learn and sing Mandarin-Chinese diction, thereby opening a new world of repertoire.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rice, Robin
Commitee: Chan, Marjorie K. M., Duchi, Joseph, Forsythe, Jere
School: The Ohio State University
Department: Music
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-A 78/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Music
Keywords: Lyric diction, Mandarin-chinese art song, Mandarin-chinese diction, Yiu-kwong chung, Zhimo xu
Publication Number: 10631287
ISBN: 9780355015515
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