This entertaining and innovative book focuses on vocal performance styles that developed in tandem with the sound technologies of the phonograph, radio, and sound film. Writing in a clear and lively style, Jacob Smith looks at these media technologies and industries through the lens of performance, bringing to light a fascinating nexus of performer, technology, and audience. Combining theories of film sound, cultural histories of sound technologies and industries, and theories of performance, Smith convincingly connects disparate and largely neglected performance niches to explore the development of a modern vocal performance. Vocal Tracks: Performance and Sound Media demonstrates the voice to be a vehicle of performance, identity, and culture and illustrates both the interconnection of all these categories and their relation to the media technologies of the past century.
PART ONE: FLOODING OUT
1. Recorded Laughter and the Performance of Authenticity
2. Erotic Performance on Record
PART TWO: A FINER GRAIN OF THE VOICE
3. The Nearness of You; or, The Voice of Melodrama
4. Rough Mix
PART THREE: BUGGING THE BACKSTAGE
5. The Act of Being Yourself
6. Phony Performances
Jacob Smith is Lecturer in the Institute of Film and Television Studies in the Department of American and Canadian Studies, University of Nottingham.
“Vocal Tracks offers just the sort of multimedia approach that we desperately need. Smith leaves no sound untuned: the phonograph, cinema, microphones, radio, television, and even prank phone calls. A great read for anyone interested in the cultural history of sound.”—Rick Altman, author of Silent Film Sound