Exploring melismatic singing and the effects of emotional expression in contemporary music
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 13:28 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.