Welcome to The International Association for the Study of Popular Music UK and Ireland Branch

Singing Out: The Musical Voice in Audiovisual Media

Posted: April 20th, 2021 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

From the musical numbers of The Jazz Singer and the reality drama of BBC 2’s The Choir, through to the playback stars of commercial Hindi cinema and the competitive performance of karaoke video games, singing has and continues to play a central and special role in multimedia. The act of singing emphasises the gendered, raced, aged, and classed body, and the identifying markers of the voice itself. It draws attention to vocal production in a way that is not only sonically compelling, but also often emotionally acute. It can heighten communication, act as an aid to memory and product placement, and invite judgement from both professional and armchair critics – something the TV talent show has commodified as entertainment in itself. Singing both demarcates and breaks down textual and conceptual boundaries: between narrative and number; professional and amateur; transparency and manipulation; authenticity and the performative; and pathos and camp. As Laing (2000) argues, song ‘transfigures’ speech: it offers both performers and listeners an intensity of experience, of emotion, of being that gives it a special status both on the soundtrack and in the circulation of musical texts  outside it.

The collection will explore a broad range of singing voices and sung moments, from lavish musical sequences to the ‘artless’singing discussed by Gorbman (2011), and from television and cinema through to video games, online and mobile platforms, advertising, and multimedia installation work.

This is an all-singingand open call for submissions, but possible topics might include:

  • Voice casting (especially in animation)
  • Vocal pedagogy and training for multimedia work
  • Dubbing/playback singing(from both aesthetic and technical perspectives)
  • Star voices and vocal recognisability
  • Historical and cultural shifts in singing style
  • Drag as vocal performance
  • Singingi n reality media
  • Singing as musical and audiovisual genre marker (vocal styles, musicals, singing cowboys, film noir)
  • Choruses and communal singing on screen
  • Singing as mimicry or uncanny singing
  • Participatory singing forms and genres
  • Singing as and in entertainment
  • Technologies of the singing voice
  • Singing as narrative device, structural marker, or element of characterisation
  • Sung voices as signifiers of identity
  • Singing and singers as creative impetus or stimulation
  • Singing and songs as idents, jingles, and theme tunes
  • Singing across cultural and national borders

We invite contributions from film, media, cultural studies, and music researchers, creative practitioners, and industry professionals, and are keen to hear from as broad and representative a range of voices as possible.

Formal proposal (c. 300 words) to be submitted by 1st May, 2021 to [email protected]. The final timeline for the project will be confirmed after discussion with the publisher, but chapters will be due during spring 2022.

Informal enquiries can be sent to either of the co-editors: Dr Catherine Haworth ([email protected]) and Dr Beth Carroll ([email protected]).

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