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A Handbook of Diction for Singers


Italian, German, French

Third Edition

David Adams

13 October 2022

ISBN: 9780197639511

296 pages

Price: £19.99


Featuring updates, expansions, and a new chapter on phonetic symbols and unique sounds in Italian, German, and French, this third edition of the widely adopted A Handbook of Diction for Singers is a complete guide to achieving professional levels of diction in the three major languages of the classical vocal repertory.

  • Includes numerous practical exercises and suggestions for execution of difficult sounds
  • Features hundreds of musical examples illustrating each point
  • Provides performance practice information for each of the three languages

About the Author(s)

David Adams, Professor Emeritus, College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati

David Adams is Professor Emeritus of the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, where he served on the voice faculty from 1980 until 2015. He also served as administrative head of the Performance Studies Division for 27 years. He sang as lyric tenor in operas and concerts in Italy, Austria, Germany, and the United States. He was artistic director of the summer programs Opera Theater and Music Festival of Lucca and CCM Spoleto. Former students of his have enjoyed professional careers in North America, Europe, and Asia

Table of Contents

    Chapter 1 An Introduction to Individual Sounds
    Chapter 2 Italian Diction
    Chapter 3 German Diction
    Chapter 4 French Diction
    Index of Sounds by Spelling
    General Index


"It's hard to believe, but Mr. Adams has actually improved this comprehensive text for its third edition. Anything and everything one needs to understand and execute beautiful, authoritative diction can be found in this book....and in three languages! Get it!" - Martin Katz, G. Koldofsky Distinguished University Professor, Earl V. Moore Collegiate Professor in Music, Artur Schnabel Collegiate Professor in Piano, University of Michigan

"David Adams presents vast knowledge in a very clear and organized fashion. There are multiple fine points that spice up the teaching throughout. The handbook is a very practical book filled with details illustrated by numerous musical examples. This book is a must for all singers, coaches, conductors, and language majors." - Pierre Vallet, The Metropolitan Opera, The Juilliard School

"A valuable introduction to vocal diction, this book offers a clear, no-nonsense guide that will be extremely useful to singers, teachers and coaches." - Brian Zeger, Artistic Director, Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts at The Juilliard School

"Wow! No need to bother with other reference works for these three languages-it's all here and then some! I'm so impressed with Mr. Adams' thoroughness, clarity, and his ability to keep what could be a dry subject interesting, entertaining and stimulating. Any singer, voice teacher or collaborative pianist needs this on a very handy shelf." - Martin Katz, Pianist, Coach, and Conductor

"A Handbook of Diction for Singers will make an invaluable addition to any singer's library. The clarity and simplicity of Mr. Adams' approach to lyric diction is wonderful to read, and his years of teaching and the depth of his understanding only underscore his clear and clean explanation of the many aspects of this discipline. Bravo, David!" - Warren Jones, Pianist

"David Adams' contribution to the singer's bookshelf is invaluable. He not only provides a clear, pragmatic guide to diction for singers and pianists but approaches the topic with a fine ear for music and a deep understanding of the challenges singers face in uniting music and text." - Brian Zeger, collaborative pianist and Director of Vocal Arts, Juilliard School