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Vocal colour in English sixteenth~century polyphony

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 July 2009

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Genetical factors cannot be excluded from the forces which determine vocal colour. There is no reason to suppose, therefore, that English singing should resemble that of any other nation in all respects. The facility for falsetto singing (by adult male, boys' and women's voices), the paucity of ‘true’ tenor voices and the ‘duller’ tone production all may be cited as characteristic of English singing, and might have a genetical basis. Vocal quality would also be affected by the time at which boys' voices changed, and if Latin were superseded by the somewhat duller English language.

© The Plainsong and Medieval Music Society 1979

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