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date: 19 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Of all musical sounds clearly none are more intimately related to the men and women and children who produce them than singing. How might the relationship between singers and singing styles be studied? What sources might be drawn on to illuminate this relationship? This chapter examines the peculiar and distinctive choral tradition of English cathedral choirs, a style distinguished by the “whiteness” of the sounds, the absence of vibrato, and the control, restraint, and reserve. It attempts to relate the sounds the men and boys make to the lives they lead and the ideas and ideals by which they lead them. What is the value of such an exercise in cultural history?

Keywords: singing styles, English cathedral choirs, vibrato, absence of vibrato, cultural history

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