Dominick Argento’s Miss Manners on music: A performance guide for singers
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This document is a resource for singers to aid in performance preparation for Argento’s song cycle, Miss Manners on Music. Based on the texts of journalist and etiquette expert Judith Martin, this cycle of seven songs addresses proper behavior in musical settings. Beginning with a biographical introduction to both Argento and Martin, this study examines each song in depth and provides guidelines for performance. Each song in the cycle represents a different style of performance. It is the intention that presenting contextual information will help singers to better understand Argento’s musical themes within this cycle. In addition to addressing each relevant performance genre, this guide will also offer resources for character exploration and development. The process of researching the composer, examining original text, analyzing the music itself, and exploring character will be helpful to singers looking for structure when approaching new music. This document includes advice on the practice and performance of Miss Manners on Music in particular, but this methodology can be applied to any vocal work.