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Sing: Language

I am currently working on From The Diary of Virginia Wolff by Dominic Argento. A work I have performed many times before. Besides the fact that I feel rusty still (thanks, pandemic), it feels like putting on a favorite coat. What I have enjoyed the most so far is rediscovering the language.

When we are working on music, especially art songs, we know that language is important. We strive for clarity to make certain we are imbuing the performance with meaning. We also want to make certain that the words are well understood by all. What we can sometimes forget is that clarity in the language can make the singing itself, easier.

I am navigating this myself in the second piece of the cycle, Anxiety. It moves at a frenzied pace and it can start to make one actually anxious instead of just evoking it. I have spent some quality time really slowing it all down and moving from vowel to vowel by excising the consonants altogether. The reward has come in a renewed energy and ease in the singing itself. Of course, the language is also more vibrant for the effort.

What are your favorite ways to engage with the language in your pieces? And, does your process change when singing in languages that you do not speak? I’d love to hear from you on these questions and any others you may have. Feel free to email me or comment wherever you see this post.


Gina Razón is the Founder and CEO at GROW Voice LLC, a full-service verbal communication studio in Boston’s Back Bay.  She has over two decades of experience as a teacher of voice and speech, is a communication and change facilitator, and is a voraciously curious voice user.  Gina has worked professionally as a classical singer for over a decade and more recently as a professional public speaker.  For more information on the studio or to book Gina visit www.growvoice.com.

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