We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more

A Handbook of Diction for Singers

Italian, German, French

Third Edition

David Adams

Publication Date - August 2022

ISBN: 9780197639511

344 pages
7 x 10 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $29.95

This third edition of A Handbook of Diction for Singers is an exceptional text for courses in diction and a valuable reference source for all vocalists


Now in its third edition, A Handbook of Diction for Singers is a complete guide to achieving professional levels of diction in Italian, German, and French. Combining traditional approaches in the teaching of diction with new material not readily available elsewhere, author David Adams presents the sounds of each language in logical order, along with essential information on matters such as diacritical marks, syllabification, word stress, and effective use of the variety of foreign-language dictionaries. A Handbook of Diction for Singers places particular emphasis on the characteristics of vowel length, the sequencing of sounds between words, as well as the differences between spoken and sung sounds in all three languages, all while taking care to clarify concepts typically difficult for English-speaking singers. This revised third edition offers significantly expanded coverage of each language as well as a new chapter that introduces readers to the specific sounds unique to those languages. The result is a concise yet thorough treatment of the three major languages of the classical vocal repertory, and an invaluable reference for vocalists and voice teachers.

New to this Edition

  • Features a new chapter on the phonetic signs and vocal positions necessary for the specific sounds of each language


  • 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 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


"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

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