Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Bel Canto - 500 Years Young: A study in the practical application of ​bel canto​ technique to twentieth-century vocal works in English

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posted on 2021-12-08, 01:45 authored by Orchard, Pasquale

As a young singer, it is inevitable that one is bombarded with the history of singing. ​Not only are we asked to listen to vocalists of previous ages, but we are also encouraged to analyse their methods and scrutinise their seminal performances in order to better identify the strengths of each singer​. Curious about the extent to which the lauded seventeenth and eighteenth-century ​bel canto vocal techniques hold relevance to contemporary classical singing and newer compositions, my research focused on whether these well-tried techniques are transferable. While the application of ​bel canto principles to the ​bel canto repertoire are clearly pertinent, my investigation concentrated on the feasibility and applicability of transferring these vocal techniques to modern repertoire, specifically songs and arias written in English, my mother tongue. This exegesis details my exploration of the application of such techniques to these two different sets of repertoire, and aims to shed light on the experience of the process of applying the ​bel canto ​principles to such works, and the potential benefits afforded by the practice of them.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Classical Voice Performance

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Musical Arts

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

New Zealand School of Music


Wollerman, Jenny; Medlyn, Margaret