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Shuo Chang (说唱): Giving voice to and through Xinyao (新谣), a musical practice in Singapore
shuo chang
voiced sounds
music and text
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Dairianathan, E., & Chia, W. K. (2010). Shuo Chang (说唱): Giving voice to and through Xinyao (新谣), a musical practice in Singapore. Journal of Multi-Disciplinary Research in the Arts, 2(1)
Singing – as a natural human expressive outlet – is a phenomenon both assumed and understated and a few reasons are offered to account for this ambivalence. First, the act/tivity understood as ‘singing’ disguises its psychoacoustic reality as ‘voiced sounds’ (Sundberg 1991) as well as its secondary biological function (Vennard 1967, p. 37) in human endowment. Secondly, as sound ‘personifies’ (Ihde 2007, p. 21), ‘voiced sounds’ personify the confluence of individual and social identities. Finally, as a combination of sonorous and lyrical textuality, ‘voiced sounds’ interpret sonorous outcomes such that words, vowels, and phonemes are so many ways of singing the world (Merleau-Ponty 2004, p. 217).

Our study of新谣 (Xinyao) as a musical practice in Singapore (Groves 2001) examines the assertions of singing ‘as a natural human expressive outlet’. Following the accounts of a prominent voice in the practice for whom singing is 说唱 (shuo chang) – speech singing, we suggest an understanding of shuo chang first as voiced sounds and second as a practice involving voiced sounds.

Much of the research material for this paper was obtained with funds from a research grant awarded by the National Arts Council of Singapore in 2002.
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