Macquarie University
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Exploring melismatic singing and the effects of emotional expression in contemporary music

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posted on 2022-03-28, 13:28 authored by Mirrae Youssef
The technique and use of melisma is an under researched area in contemporary vocal studies. Melisma refers to the singing of several notes on one syllable and is a popular vocal technique or device used in a variety of genres. This thesis explores the way melisma may be communicated in Contemporary Popular Music (CPM). This includes the types and contexts of melisma. The thesis is divided into two stages of data collection and analysis. The first stage analyses stylistically different songs from two popular artists, Jessica Mauboy and Justin Timberlake. The purpose of this analysis was to explore the way melisma may be used by CPM artists and to determine whether the use of melisma is influenced by stylistic changes, vocal ability and/or song context. The analyses included a comparison of studio recordings and live recordings from various media platforms. The second stage comprised of semi - structured interviews that were conducted in order to identify the attitudes, views, and understandings of professional singers who engage with melisma in their performance practice. The thesis concludes with a discussion of emergent themes derived from the findings.


Table of Contents

Chapter one -- Chapter two -- Chapter three -- Chapter four -- Chapter five -- Chapter six.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 81-96

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of MMCCS

Department, Centre or School

Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Diane Hughes


Copyright Mirrae Candice Nora Youssef 2017. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (111 pages)

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