The Singing Voice in Contemporary Cinema - Diane Hughes

The Singing Voice in Contemporary Cinema - Diane Hughes

Singing a Life in Bondage: The Case of 12 Years a Slave

The Singing Voice in Contemporary Cinema - Diane Hughes

Gianpaolo Chiriacò [+-]
Freie Universität Bozen
Gianpaolo Chiriacò is Professor of ethnomusicology at the Freie Universität Bozen. His work as a scholar aims to engage students and general public through essays, workshops, public lectures, and sound installations. He has been research fellow at the Center for Black Music Research (Columbia College, Chicago) for three years, where he curated and organized two symposia titled ‘Black Vocality: Cultural Memory, Identities, and Practices of African-American Singing Styles.’ His area of interests is positioned at the intersection of history and anthropology of the black singing voice within the Atlantic diaspora. He uses different case studies, such as the vocality in the slave narratives, singing as agency among African-American vocalists in the Midwest, and vocal performances of blackness in Italy. Chiriacò has been awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship for the research project ROTVOSCIAME (The Role of Traditional Vocal Styles in Reshaping Cultural Identities Related to African Diasporas in America and Europe). Results of his research, publications, and multimedia materials can be found on the website of the project, Chiriacò has received a Ph.D. from the University of Salento (Italy, 2010).


This volume focuses on the singing voice in contemporary cinema from 1945 to the present day, and rather than being restricted to one particular genre, considers how the singing voice has helped define and/or confuse genre classification. Typically heard in song, the singing voice is arguably the most expressive of all musical instruments. This volume celebrates the ways in which singing features in film. This includes the singing voice as protagonist, as narrator, as communicator, as entertainer, and as comedic interlude. Whether the singing voice in film is personally expressive, reflexive and distant, or synchronized for entertainment, there is typically interplay between the voice and visual elements. Extending beyond the body of literature on ‘the musical’, the volume is not about musicals per se. Rather, The Singing Voice in Contemporary Cinema discusses the singing voice as a distinct genre that focuses on the conceptualization and synchronization of the singing voice in the post-War era. It explores the relationship between screen, singing, singer and song; it celebrates the intersection of the singing voice and popular culture. In doing so, the volume will cross multiple disciplines including vocal studies, film studies, film sound studies, and music production (vocal processing).

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Chiriacò, Gianpaolo. Singing a Life in Bondage: The Case of 12 Years a Slave. The Singing Voice in Contemporary Cinema. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Mar 2021. ISBN 9781781791127. Date accessed: 16 Dec 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.35462. Mar 2021

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