Project Resources

Martha Feldman

“Castrato Acts,” The Oxford Handbook of Opera, ed. Helen M. Greenwald. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014, Pp. 395-418.

The Castrato: Reflections on Natures and Kinds, Ernest Bloch Lectures, no. 16. Berkeley: The University of California Press, February 2015.

“The Interstitial Voice: An Opening,” in Colloquy Why Voice Now?. (Martha Feldman, convenor, editor, and contributor.) Journal of the American Musicological Society 68, no. 3, Fall 2015.

The Voice as Something More (co-editor). The University of Chicago Press. In preparation.

“Voice, Gap, Break, Crack,” in The Voice as Something More. In preparation.

The Castrato Phantom: Encryptions and Voice, from Moreschi to Fellini. In preparation.
   Provisional title; an ethnography and critical history of the castrato aftermath as seen through family, new media, urban memory, and psychoanalytic theory of transgenerational trauma.

"The Courtesan's Voice: Petrarchan Lovers, Pop Philosophy and Oral Traditions." In The Courtesan's Arts: Cross Cultural Perspectives, ed. Martha Feldman and Bonnie Gordan. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. Pp. 105-123.

The Castrato: Reflections on Natures and Kinds. Berkeley: University of California Press, Autumn 2014. Chapter 3, "Red Hot Voice"
     The Castrato is the first book to explore in depth why thousands boys were castrated for singing between the mid-sixteenth and late-nineteenth centuries. It shows that although the practice formed the foundation of Western classical singing, it was birthed from an unlikely and historically unique set of desires, public and private, aesthetic, economic, and political. In Italy castration for singing was understood through the lens of Catholic blood sacrifice as expressed in idioms of offering and renunciation and, paradoxically, in satires, verbal abuse, and even the symbolism of the castrato’s comic cousin Pulcinella. Sacrifice also encompassed a logics of reproduction, involving teachers, patrons, colleagues, and relatives. Yet what lured audiences and composers, from Cavalli and Pergolesi to Handel, Mozart, and Rossini, were the extraordinary capacities of castrato voices. The phenomenon was ultimately unsettled by Enlightenment morality, which castrati failed to survive. But their musicality and vocality, central role to this study, persisted long after their literal demise in traditions that extend to bel canto repertories and beyond.

"Shadow Voices, Castrato and Non". School of Music, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. March 7, 2014.

Judith Zeitlin

Co-faculty sponsor of the graduate workshop in Theater and Performance Studies

Publications 
The Culture of Entertainment in Early Modern China: Voice, Text, Instrument, University of Chicago Press.

Co-Editor, The Voice as Something More, University of Chicago Press. In preparation.

“New Introduction” to K’ung Shang-jen, The Peach Blossom Fan, translated by Chen Shih-hsiang and Harold Acton with Cyril Birch.  New York: NYRB Classics, 2015.

"'Notes of Flesh' and the Courtesan's song in Seventeenth-Century China." In The Courtesan's Arts: Cross Cultural Perspectives, ed. Martha Feldman and Bonnie Gordan. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. Pp. 75-102.

Talks
“Theories of the Sounding Voice in Early Modern China,” for A Voice as Something More, University of Chicago, Neubauer Collegium, Nov. 20-22, 2015. In preparation.

Seth Brodsky

The Composer's Voice in the Age of Post-humanism. In preparation. 
    New large-scale book project, plus large-scale digital data collection project.

“The Composer's Voice in the Age of Post-humanism,” for A Voice as Something More. In preparation.

Mladen Dolar

A Voice and Nothing More. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2006.

"The Object Voice." In Gaze and Voice as Love Objects, ed. Renata Salecl and Slavoj Žižek. Durham: Duke University Press, 1996.

“The Burrow of Sound.”  In Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 22, No. 2-3. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011.

Tom Gunning

“A Voice that Is Not Mine,” for A Voice as Something More, University of Chicago, Neubauer Collegium, Nov. 20-22, 2015. In preparation for talk and published volume.

Sarah Hamilton Nooter

Publications (in preparation)
The Mortal Voice in the Tragedies of Aeschylus (book under contract with Cambridge University Press, to be published late in 2016)

Sound and the Ancient Senses, co-edited with Shane Butler (under contract with Routledge Press, to be published in 2017), part of a six-book series called The Senses in Antiquity

Talks
“The Mortal Voice in Aristophanes,” Thinking the Greeks: A Conference in Honor of James M. Redfield, May 2015

“Voice and Sound in Classical Greece,” panel organized for Society for Classical Studies, New Orleans, January 2015

“Choral Voices and Ventriloquism,” SCS meeting, January 2015; Orality and Literacy XI: Voice and Voices, Emory University, September 2014; Bryn Mawr College, December 2015

“The Mortal Voice on the Ancient Greek Stage,” for A Voice as Something More, Neubauer Collegium conference, Nov. 20-22, 2015

James Lastra

Sound Technology, and the America Cinema: Perception, Representation, Modernity. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000.

Jessica Peritz (graduate intern)

"The Tale of the Castrato and the Cantimbanco: Language, Narrative, and Authenticity in the Late Settecento Singing Voice, " Transnational Opera Studies Conference (TOSC@), University of Bologna, Italy, June 30 - July 2, 2015. Talk. 

“The Lyric Mode of Voce: Song and Authenticity from Orfeo to Ossiano, 1769-1815.” Dissertation in progress.

Marcelle Pierson

"The Voice under Erasure: Singing, Melody and Expression in Late Modernist Music." Dissertation in progress

“Voice and Techné in Music for 18 Musicians,” National Meeting of the American Musicological Society and Society for Music Theory, Milwaukee, November 2014. Talk.

Steven Rings

Publications
“Analyzing the Popular Singing Voice: Sense and Surplus.” Journal of the American Musicological Society 68/3. Forthcoming, fall 2015.
    Colloquium contribution on methodological issues related to the analysis of the popular singing voice. 

A Foreign Sound to Your Ear: Bob Dylan in Performance, University of Chicago Press. In preparation.
   This book project presents a longitudinal study of the fascinating transformations in Dylan’s live performances of a small handful of songs over the first five decades of his career and develops new music-theoretical technologies to engage the sonic trace of his performances in all of their granular detail. Of particular relevance to the Voice Project is a chapter that contends with the diverse voices Dylan has employed over his career, voices saturated with echoes of countless other singers, from Odetta to Elvis Presley to Umm Kulthum. Rings draws on recent theories of voice, identity, and meaning to theorize two dialectics at the heart of Dylan’s vocal practice. The first, between phoné and logos, emerges in the friction between Dylan’s celebrated words and their often inscrutable sonic delivery, while the second turns on the paradox that Dylan often sounds most like “Bob Dylan”—that familiar vocal caricature—when he is most strenuously imitating others. 

Talks
“Analyzing the Popular Singing Voice: Sense and Surplus.” Annual Meeting of the Society for Music Theory and the American Musicological Society, Milwaukee, November 8, 2014. Conference paper on methodological issues related to the analysis of the popular singing voice. 

“’Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right’: A Genealogy.” Talk presented for the Franke Institute for the Humanities, Franke Forum Lecture Series, Gleacher Center, Chicago, February 4, 2015. 
    Lecture on the influences that shaped Dylan’s song, with attention to thematics of voice. 

“Speech and/in Song,” for A Voice as Something More, Neubauer Collegium conference, Nov. 20-22, 2015    

Neil Verma 

Publications
“The Huge Listening Contraption.” The Cine-Files 7 (May, 2015). Link

 “Wall of Sound: Listening to Game of Thrones,” Critical Quarterly 56 (2015): 1-15. Link

“Creaturely Vernacular: Mighty Beast as Radio Feature,” RadioDoc Review 1 (2015). Link

 Anatomy of Sound: Norman Corwin and Media Authorship, co-edited with Jacob Smith (currently under review by the University of California Press)

Talks
“Podcasting 2014 / Broadcasting 1937,” The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, Feb. 19, 2015. Invited by Susan J. Douglas.

“Bertolt Brecht’s Huge Listening Contraption.” Golden Ages, Annual conference of Film & History, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Oct. 29, 2014.

“Screamlines,” for A Voice as Something More, Neubauer Collegium conference, Nov. 20-22, 2015Theater of the Mind : Imagination, Aesthetics, and American Radio Drama. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2012.

Welles on the Radio Plus War of the Worlds, On October 27, 2013 UChicago Professor Neil Verma gave a talk on Orson Welles and radio drama to mark the "War of the Worlds" 75th anniversary broadcast at the Music Box Theatre.

Additional

“Why Voice Now?” Joint formal panel presented at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society and the Society for Music Theory, Hilton Hotel and Milwaukee Convention Center, 6-9 November 2014; Martha Feldman, organizer; panelists: James Q. Davies, University of California at Berkeley, Nina Eidsheim, UCLA, Martha Feldman, University of Chicago, Brian Kane, Yale University, Steven Rings, University of Chicago, Emily Wilbourne, CUNY Graduate Center.

“Inside/Out: Jeff Buckley and the Voice Interior,” with Steven Rings, in connection with The Voice Project, sponsored by the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, The University of Chicago, in preparation for University of Southampton, February 20, 2016

“Shadow Voices, Castrato and Non." Talk. University of Chicago, 18th and 19th Century Studies Workshop, June 4, 2015; New York University, Department of Music, December 11, 2014; University of British Columbia, Vancouver, October 8, 2014.

“Voice Gap Crack Break,” The Voice Project, Faculty Seminar, May 21, 2015; A Voice as Something More, conference, University of Chicago, Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, Nov. 20-22, 2015.

“Mechanism of Laughter: The Devices of Slapstick”  in Slapstick Comedy ed. Tom Paulus and Rob King (AFI, 2010), pp. 137-151.

"Heard Over the 'Phone: The Lonely Villa and the De Lorde Tradition of Terrified Communication." Screen, 32/2, Summer 1991.

 

2013-2015 Meetings

Please click the dates below to view meeting resources and summaries

Curator: Martha Feldman, Music, University of Chicago

Discussion material:
Voice, Gap, Crack, Break: Toward a Transactional Theory of Voice

Curator: Nicholas Harkness, Anthropology, Harvard University

Discussion material:
An Evangelical Conduit of Voice

Workshopping of abstracts of papers for fall 2015 conference and volume in preparation for A Voice as Something More, session 2 of 2.

Curator: Jacob Smith, Radio, Television, and Film; Communications, Northwestern University

Discussion material:
Eco-Sonic Media

Workshopping of abstracts of papers for fall 2015 conference and volume in preparation for A Voice as Something More, session 1 of 2.

Curator: Sarah Hamilton Nooter, Classics, University of Chicago

Discussion material:
So Sudden and Swift and Strong: Body, Voice and Song in Aeschylus

Curator:  James Chandler, English, University of Chicago

Discussion material:
Poetic Voice in Wordsworth’s “The Power of Sound” and “Intimations Ode”

Curator: Judith Zeitlin

Discussion materials:

Ruru Li, The Soul of Beijing Opera: Theatrical Creativity and Continuity in a Changing World. (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2010), pp. 83-105, 106-119.

Aria by Chen Yanqiu

Meeting summary:

We discussed the relationship between voice and cultural context in Peking Opera, as well as issues of gender and embodiment.

Curator: Tom Gunning

Discussion Materials:

Dead of Night (1945) (ventriloquist dummy vignette)

“Doing for the Eye What the Phonograph Does for the Ear” in The Sounds of Early Cinema ed. Rick Altman and Richard Abel (Bloomington: University of Indiana Press: 2001), pp. 13-31.

Steven Connor, Dumbstruck: A Cultural History of Ventriloquism  pp. 338-393.

Meeting Summary:
Discussion focused around the disembodied voice and the question of whether recording a voice makes you immortal, or kills your voice the moment it happens.
 

Curator: Steve Rings

Discussion Materials:

(1)   Text of talk by Steve Rings

(2)   Quicktime video of slideshow to accompany talk

(3)   An article by Asif Agha, "Voice, Footing, Enregisterment"  (skim)

(4)   Optional: the Agha may also resonate with this famous radio interview that Dylan did with Chicago's own Studs Terkel in 1963.

Meeting Summary:

We discussed Dylan’s many voices, from the 1960s through his “never ending tour” and up to the present day. 

Curator: Martha Feldman

Discussion Materials:
Fellini, And the ship sails on

Meeting Summary:
In our first meeting of the winter quarter, we watched Fellini’s And the Ship Sails On and talked about the many ways in which the voice is leveraged to create meaning in the film.

Curator: Neil Verma

Discussion Materials
Gregory Whitehead, "Pressures of the Unspeakable". Click on image that looks like notebook. 

Artaud, "To Have Done with the Judgment of God" (1947/48). ubuweb or the pacifica radio archive version

Allen Weiss

Antony Ellis' "Zero Hour" (based on a story by Ray Bradbury)

Wyllis Cooper's "The Thing on the Fourble Board"

Meeting Summary:

We discussed the voice in radio drama--acting techniques, changing technologies, and programs that have thematized the voice.

Curator: David Levin

Discussion Materials
Diva, directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix

Meeting Summary

We discussed the voice as an object of commodification and fetishization. 

Curator: Mladen Dolar

Discussion Materials:
Mladen Dolar, “The Burrow of Sound.”  In Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 22, No. 2-3. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011.
Franz Kafka, “The Burrow.” In Selected Short Stories of Franz Kafka. Translated by Willa and Edwin Muir. New York: Modern Library, 1952.

Meeting Summary:

We discussed Mladen Dolar’s essay in some depth, making particular reference to the Kakfa story that anchors it. We also had a lively discussion about technology and the acousmatic voice.

Curator: Martha Feldman

Discussion Materials:
Roland Barthes, "The Grain of the Voice"
Mladen Dolar, A Voice and Nothing More (2006), Introduction and Chapter 3, "The Physics of the Voice," just through the first part on the "Acousmatics of the Voice"

Meeting Summary:

Primary topics of discussion included acousmatic sound, the relationship between sound and voice, and the voice as a marker of authenticity.