More than Just Style: A Profile of Professional Contemporary Gig Singers

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Bartlett, Irene
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Scott Harrison and Jessica O'Bryan

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2014
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Professional contemporary gig singers (PCGS) - you've heard their voices and watched their performances in restaurants, at corporate events and conference dinners; at social functions such as weddings and parties; in bars and pubs; at outdoor food and music festivals and as 'support' acts for 'star' performers at stadium and theatre concerts. They are the backbone of the entertainment industry 'gigging' wherever music is used for entertainment; yet we know very little about them empirically as a population of professional voice users. The few existing studies that include contemporary commercial music (CCM) singers in their participant samples have been narrow in scope with focused laboratory-based testing of small samples, investigations with homogenized groups of singers, or clinic-based studies of singers seeking treatment for voice disorders. With the latter group there appears to be a presupposition of inevitable, style-driven vocal damage linked to a belief that CCM singers are for the most part 'untrained'. These views may be attributed to authors' backgrounds in classical singing and their aesthetic preferences for a tone and quality based on an implicit stylistic hierarchy favouring classical voice; the emic (insider) viewpoint suggests that the picture is really quite different.

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Teaching Singing in the 21st Century

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Music Performance

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