Survey of Vocal Styles

Course Number

This course is an interactive historical study of the development of contemporary, U.S.-based vocal styles, examining the social, aesthetic, technological, and commercial forces that shaped this music. Students engage in close listening, transcription, style analysis, and discussion of assigned audio/video recordings; and perform in class to demonstrate understanding of material studied. Starting from African chant, work songs, field hollers, and spirituals, students explore the roots of blues by studying such artists as Bessie Smith; the roots of jazz by delving into the vocal stylings of Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday; and the roots of gospel through the recordings by Mahalia Jackson and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. From this foundation, students continue to explore artists who have shaped the music they perform today. Upon completion of the course, students will understand the cultural and aesthetic sources of styles studied. They will be able to demonstrate fundamental attributes of these styles in a culturally viable manner, and use this knowledge to inform their own artistic decision-making.

Required Of
Voice principal PERF majors
Electable By
All B.M. and P.D. students
Semesters Offered
Fall, Spring
Course Chair
Anne Peckham
Courses may not be offered at the listed locations or taught by the listed faculty for every semester. Consult to find course information for a specific semester.