Date of Completion
Voice, Vocal Repertoire, Isabelle, Aboulker, French
Dr. Constance Rock
Dr. Alain Frogley
Dr. Ronald Squibbs
Field of Study
Doctor of Musical Arts
Throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, voice teachers, tasked with encouraging healthy, productive vocal development through appropriate repertoire selection, have been wary of assigning more contemporary pieces to young singers due to the canon’s justifiable reputation for difficult vocal lines. The music of Isabelle Aboulker (b. 1938) provides voice teachers with contemporary French repertoire that not only promotes good vocal technique but also introduces young singers to the French musical canon.
This dissertation is intended not only to recommend Aboulker and her works to a wider audience but to illuminate her works’ suitability for the voice, thus encouraging thoughtful voice teachers to consider assigning her music to undergraduate singers. In order to make the case, I first establish a definition for “good” vocal writing. Secondly, to determine what makes a piece well suited for a young singer, I examine the technical demands placed on the singer by various compositional elements such as range, tessitura, text/melodic setting, harmony, and use of legato and leaps. To determine how these compositional elements apply to Aboulker’s vocal work, I create a rubric which I apply to her set of songs Femmes en Fables, a collection of four fables written by the seventeenth-century poet and fabulist Jean de la Fontaine: “La jeune veuve,” “La femme noyée,” “La chatte métamorphosée en femme,” and “La cigale et la fourmi.”
Zimmerman, Janet, "Isabelle Aboulker's Femmes en Fables: Contemporary French Music and the Young Singer" (2020). Doctoral Dissertations. 2411.