Singer’s Diction I



Professor D. Talley

MUS 233 NA



Fall 2010


Course Day and Time:  Thursday 4:30-6:25 PM


Room: B600


Credits: 2


Office Hours:  4:00-5:00 Monday, 6:00-8:00 Tuesday, 4:00-5:00, 4:00-5:00 Wednesday, 3:30-4:30 Thursday, and by appointment: Please see my schedule, which is posted on the door of my office. If you need to schedule an appointment, please call our administrative assistant, Autumn Nova, (212) 625-0500 ext. 6188. 


Phone: (212) 927-1015 Home

            (917) 825 8697 cell

            (212) 625-0500 ext. 6187 Office

E-Mail dana.talley@nyack.edu


COURSE DESCRIPTION:  This class will give a basic understanding of singer's Italian, English, French, and German pronunciation, so that one may sing in those languages without necessarily having further knowledge of them.  Also it will establish the critical importance of knowing English translation when singing in a foreign language as a basic tool of interpretation and communication.


REQUIRED TEXTS: (You absolutely MUST use the text to pass the class):


Moriarty, John. Diction. E. C. Schirmer Music Company, 1975.

ISBN: 0911318097

Three pocket dictionaries for: French, German, & Italian/English. Each MUST have standard IPA.  Please check with the teacher for approved dictionaries.

You must have access to a computer and also visit the following website to download song IPA texts. http://www.ipasource.com/




Adams, David.  A Handbook of Diction for Singers, New York, Oxford University Press, 1992. ISBN: 0-19-512077-9


ANTHOLOGY OF ITALIAN SONG OF THE 17th  AND 18th  CENTURIES, by G. Schirmer.  (In Medium Low or Medium High keys)

CDSheetMusic of Operatic Arias  or Art Songs in your Fach [Soprano, Mezzo-soprano/Alto, Tenor, or Baritone/Bass]

Marshall, M. The Singer's Manual of English Diction. New York: Schirmer Books.

Faure. 30 Songs, ed. S. Kagen. New York: International.

Schubert. 100 Songs, ed. S. Kagen. New York: International.

Colorni, Evelina. Singers' Italian. Schirmer Books, 1970.

Wall, Joan.  International Phonetic Alphabet for Singers, 1992.




Student Learning Goals
The Student will:

Music Program Goals

Core Goals

Assignments &/or Assessments Used

1. To cause students studying singing to become thoroughly familiar with the International Phonetic Alphabet, the standard tool for singers in dealing with matters of proper pronunciation.

1a, 2b, 3b, 3e, 4d

 1b, 2a, 2b, 2c,3a, 3b, 4a, 5b

Readings, class drills, written exams, listening and working with peers

2. To lay a foundation for on-going growth and ever-increasing ease in using the four 'standard' singing languages of the Western classical tradition: English, Italian, French and German.

1c, 3b, 3e, 5a, 5b

1a, 2a, 3b, 4a, 5b

Class drills, online listening, research projects

3. Basic knowledge of general pronunciation rules for each language,   as well as attempting to capture the flavor and color of each language when singing.

1c, 2a, 3b, 3c

1b, 2a,  3a, 4a

Readings, class lectures, written exams, listening drills, assigned YouTube examples

4. Standard approaches to diction problems, such as connecting words, using consonants while preserving legato, etc.

1a, 1b, 4d, 5a, 5b

1a, 2a, 3a, 3b, 4a, 5b

Readings, class drills, class lectures, assigned YouTube examples

5. Use various search systems to retrieve information in a variety of formats (IL Standard 2, 3a) – see section below.



Visit a website related to the course and print out a relevant article



Information Literacy Requirement:  You will be required to access the following websites for further information to aid you in your study of singing:  


1. The student will visit the following website: http://www.ipasource.com/

and submit at least one song with the IPA attached that you will sing in class.

2. The student will develop a Webliography to aid in the study of diction and submit at least 5 new links by December 1, 2010 via e-mail not found on the class website or this syllabus. 

3. Visit one of the following links http://www.recmusic.org/lieder/, http://www.aria-database.com/, or http://www.songsofpeace.com/ncmcmusic/voice/mus234.htm,  in addition to those above for additional information about your assigned repertory.



More than 50% of the class will be in-class drills with the teacher and your peers.  We will also have practice IPA drills with all students daily using the white board.

The semester will be divided into three units. Each one will cover applicable IPA and principles of its application to song texts, pronunciation rules for the language (Latin and Italian, French, or German, as the case may be) and consist of the study of the poetry of the song texts and translation of same.

For each language studied, every student will prepare at least one song within that language.  The songs used in this class will be either the songs on the CD given at the third class or an alternate selection chosen with Prof. Talley’s approval for each language. (You may ask your vocal teacher for suggestions.) Your final exam will consist of both a short IPA test on French, Italian and German and a class concert where each student will sing songs in the three studied languages. You must bring your own accompanist. You may work on your assigned songs with your vocal teacher if they wish but this assignment is not a requirement for repertoire assignments of your vocal teacher. Each student must prepare the performance song with correct IPA written outside of class the week before the final exam and these will be duplicated and used in class in the final exam.  If you wish you can visit the following websites: www.ipasource.com and www.freetranslation.com and submit both a word for word translation and diction guide for each of your 4 songs.

You will be required to rewrite, using the IPA symbols, eight songs; you will perform one song in each language in class.  For each song to be performed, you will provide for each student and the instructor a typewritten, triple-spaced copy of the text, along with an IPA transcription underneath each line. All songs must be approved by the instructor.

In addition to quizzes for each language on IPA, there will be a midterm and a final.  Each student is expected bring a tape recorder to class to record sounds.  Practice should include vowel and consonant drills, repertoire, and language and diction study. All students are encouraged to study with a partner.  Diction is an aural experience and should not be studied alone.


Songs Selected: (A song of your choice or one in each language of the following)


ITALIAN:    “Se tu m’ami, se sospiri”  by Pergolesi

                  “Caro mio ben” by Giordani


GERMAN:  “An die musik” by Schubert

                  “Widmung” by Schumann

                  “Zueignung” by Strauss

                  “Verborgenheit” by Wolf


FRENCH:  “Apres un reve”  by Faure

                 “Chanson triste”


Extra Credit:


ENGLISH:  “Selected Hymns”


LATIN:   “Panis Angelicus”  by Franck or  “Ave Maria” by Schubert

Approximate Class Calendar: This is a lab class.  You will be required to read and recite and sing from the text every class.


September 9 Introduction and review syllabus, IPA, and diphthongs.

September -26- October: 14  Italian, English and Latin

October: 21- November 11 German 

November 11 Mid-Term  Begin French

November  18-  December 09   French

December 17 Final Exam and class project performances.




Your grade will be reduced after one un-excused absence.  Students are to arrive on time.  If you are 15 minutes late, it will be considered half an absence.  Students are expected to attend every class.


In the unusual event that an absence is unavoidable, it is the student’s responsibility to obtain the relevant notes, materials, videos, or recordings. Missed exams or tests can be made up at the Instructor’s discretion. Excessive absence (greater than 25% of class meetings) will result in a failing grade.


STUDENT HANDBOOK REQUIREMENT: In addition to the information in the college catalog, all students are responsible for the requirements, regulations, and information in the NCMC Music Handbook.  Please put the following link in your browser:




Class participation and attendance and in class drills:  45%

Three Quizzes: 30%

Final: 25%


Online Vocal Resources:

You will be required to access the following website for further information to aid you in your study of singing:  




In addition to this syllabus, there will be resources for Vocal Literature, reference material, repertoire, and many links will be posted

Also: To print out the IPA you’ll need additional fonts.

download IPA SILManuscript font from www.sil.org

go to http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?site_id=nrsi&item_id=encore-ipa-download#f4e13eeb

read the document that comes up VERY carefully and follow its instructions. The fonts you want are the 'SIL Encore IPA93 Fonts. [the '93' is important] (Even if it says it is obsolete!



•    http://my.nyack.edu/ (Registration, grades, and other information)

•    http://www.ncmcmusic.com   (School of Music Academic Website)

•    http://www.nyackcollege.edu/content/files_3 (Nyack College catalog)

•    http://www.nyack.edu/music/nyc (School of Music Website including Facebook)

•    www.ipasource.com resource for pronunciation and diction [required]

•    www.freetranslation.com Word for word translations

•    http://www.recmusic.org/lieder/ Thousands of songs with translations

•    http://www.aria-database.com/ The same as above for opera arias

•    http://www.ncmcmusic.com/links.htm  (127 links for the study of music)



Electronic Devices: It is expected that ALL electronic devices be MUTED during class time.  Do not answer phone calls or text messages during class. ALL cell phones are to be kept off for all exams. If you are a health care worker, policeman, fireman, or other profession that requires that a cell phone be on, please inform the professor at the beginning of the semester.



Reasonable Accommodation


Any student eligible for and requesting academic accommodations due to a disability is required to provide a letter of accommodation from the Office of Disabilities Support Services within the first two weeks of the beginning of classes. Any student who has a learning disability is encouraged to speak privately Professor Adelaide Pabon the 504 coordinator for Nyack College/New York City. 



1. To graduate students who have acquired and developed the academic skills of reading carefully and critically, communicating clearly and cogently, thinking analytically and synthetically.



1a. By designing into the music history sequence a comprehensive overview of western music and related religious, philosophical, political, scientific, and social developments.

1b. By designing into music literature courses the appreciation and understanding of non-Western music of the church, including research components and the analysis of contemporary phenomena in these areas.

1c. By fostering the aural development, kinesthetic processes, and aesthetic sensitivities which form the basis of professional caliber musicianship.


2.  To graduate students who have achieved a broad understanding of human learning.

2a. By fostering in our students the skills and motivation for life-long learning and participation in music.

2b. By encouraging all students to value the creativity of the human spirit and the aesthetic dimension of life.

2c. By promoting involvement in campus life through participation in aesthetic and cultural activities.

3. To graduate students who have achieved an in-depth understanding of one  field of study by meeting the requirements of at least one major


3a. By training our students to acquire the theoretical and practical skills required by music educators, church       musicians, performers and composers.  

3b. By fostering a broad knowledge of music literature, both sacred and secular, through study and performance.

3c. By employing a competency-based approach for course design and requirements throughout the program while       encouraging artistic creativity.

3d. By cultivating career programs and awareness in the various music and music- related fields.

3e. By utilizing the cultural resources of various metropolitan New York area institutions.

4. To graduate students who have achieved a basic Christian worldview understanding which can serve as a basis for interpreting experience


4a. By providing experiences in Christian ministry involving music in the Christian and  Missionary Alliance and      other churches.

4b. By promoting a sense of Christian love and caring throughout the endeavors of the School of  Music.

4c. By building the self-esteem of the individual through musical achievement in the Christian context.

4d. By fostering a respect for diverse forms of music, worship, and culture.

5. To strengthen a sense of civic responsibility to the community


5a. By promoting in our students an appreciation for the opportunities and responsibilities which exist in a democratic society concerning the arts.

5b. By encouraging involvement in civic affairs through music and the allied arts



1- Socially Relevant

1a. Students will recognize the value of economic, political, social, and systems as tools for positive change.

1b. Students will apply a foundation of compassion and integrity to their chosen field of study.

1c. Students will demonstrate servant leadership as they engage the community and marketplace.


2- Academically Excellent

2a. Students will attain an educational foundation in arts and humanities, science, mathematics, and social science.

2b. Students will be able to communicate in oral and written form and demonstrate information and technological literacy.

2c. Students will demonstrate critical thinking, problem-solving, and research skills across the curriculum.


3- Globally Engaged

3a. Students will understand the interplay of historical, cultural, and geographical realities of the global community.

3b. Students will value diversity through an understanding of worldviews, languages, cultures, and peoples.

3c. Students will engage in service opportunities within the global community.


4- Intentionally Diverse

4a. Students will understand the heritages and traditions of diverse peoples and cultures.

4b. Students will appreciate the need to promote biblical principles of social equality.

4c. Students will engage in interactions and relationships with those from diverse backgrounds.


5- Emphasizing Personal Transformation

5a. Students will grow in their faith as they pursue God’s purpose in their lives.

5b. Students will integrate their Christian worldview into learning and service.

           5c. Students will apply discipleship principles to assist in the personal transformation of others.