Musicology Seminar (a)


Week 3: Voices, especially countertenors

Essay Title

  1. Discuss the symbiosis between the male falsetto voice and the so-called early music revival. To what extent can modern falsetto singing be shown to have replicated historical practices?


  1. Patrick Barbier, The World of the Castrati: The History of an Extraordinary Operatic Phenomenon, transl. Margaret Crosland (London: Souvenir, 1998) (library)

  2. Giuseppe Gerbino, ‘The Quest for the Soprano Voice: Castrati in Sixteenth-Century Italy’, Studi musicali, 32 (2004), 303–57

  3. Peter Giles, The History and Technique of the Counter-Tenor: A Study of the Male High Voice Family (Aldershot: Scolar Press, 1994) (library)

  4. Timothy J. McGee, The Sound of Medieval Song: Ornamentation and Vocal Style According to the Treatises (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998) (library)

  5. Laura E. DeMarco, ‘The Fact of the Castrato and the Myth of the Countertenor’, The Musical Quarterly, 86 (2002), 174–85  (jstor)

  6. Nicholas Clapton, ‘The singularity of Alfred Deller (1912–1979)’, Early Music, 40 (2012), 291–6 (jstor)

  7. Christopher Page and Andrew Parrott, ‘False Voices’, Early Music, 9 (1981), 71–5 (jstor)

  8. Andrew Parrott, ‘A Brief Anatomy of Choirs, c. 1470–1770’ in The Cambridge Companion to Choral Music, ed. André de Quadros (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012) (library)

  9. John Potter, ‘The Tenor-Castrato Connection, 1760–1860’, Early Music, 35 (2007), 97–110 (jstor)

  10. Simon Ravens, The Supernatural Voice (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2014) (library)

  11. Richard Sherr, ‘Gugliemo Gonzaga and the Castrati’, Renaissance Quarterly, 33 (1980), 33–56 (jstor)

  12. Rebecca Stewart, ‘Voice Types in Josquin’s Music’, Tijdschrift van de Vereniging voor Nederlandse Muziekgeschiedenis, 35 (1985), 97–193 (jstor)

  13. Mauro Uberti, ‘Vocal Techniques in Italy in the Second Half of the 16th Century’, Early Music, 9 (1981), 486–98 (jstor)