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Mus.‐making by the human v. either solo or with others. Styles of singing and methods of v. prod. have varied over the centuries. In 14th and 15th cents., use of falsetto was favoured, hence high range of much mus. of that era; in 17th and 18th cents., the castrati imparted special brilliance, purity, and flexibility to operatic roles, qualities inherited by the bel canto singers of early 19th cent. opera (Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini, etc.). In the 19th cent. the growing expressive and dramatic nature of mus., e.g. the works of Beethoven, Berlioz, Verdi, Wagner, led to a new style of singing in which vocal characterization was regarded as of more importance than mere technical agility. In 20th cent., with jazz, Sprechstimme, and a host of effects required by avant‐garde composers, the demands on singers' virtuosity and versatility became even heavier. At the same time, revival of interest in early and baroque mus. restored styles of earlier centuries.

Subjects: Music.

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