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Making an English Voice: Performing National Identity during the English Musical Renaissance

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jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:pThis article examines constructions of national musical identity in early twentieth-century Britain by exploring and contextualizing hitherto neglected discourses and practices concerning the production of an ‘English’ singing voice. Tracing the origins and development of ideas surrounding native vocal performance and pedagogy, I reconstruct a culture of English singing as a backdrop against which to offer, by way of conclusion, a reading of the ‘English voice’ performed in Ralph Vaughan Williams's song ‘Silent Noon’. By drawing upon perspectives derived from recent studies of song, vocal production, and national and aesthetic identity, I demonstrate that ‘song’ became a place in which the literal and figurative voices of performers and composers were drawn together in the making of a national music. As such, I advance a series of new historical perspectives through which to rethink notions of an English musical renaissance.</jats:p>


This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Cambridge University Press via


3603 Music, 3604 Performing Arts, 36 Creative Arts and Writing

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Twentieth-Century Music

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Cambridge University Press (CUP)