Over the years I have found the following books, videos and resources to be influential in my singing and teaching.
The books that I recommend have been grouped according to the area of expertise they represent. You can navigate through this list by clicking on the headings below.
Also, wherever possible, I have provided links to websites that sell these books. Clicking on the photos of the books will automatically open the link in a new window.
This little book is only $8.95 (currently) and provides many thoughts from one of the masters of vocal art in the 19th century.
Training Tenor Voices
Richard Miller's book on training the tenor voice. While some of the information presented in this volume can be found in his "Stucture of Singing" (listed below), this book deals with the difficulties of training the tenor voice and provides explanations on why this voice type is different from others.
The Structure of Singing: System and Art in Vocal Technique
A must have for any serious student and teacher. Miller's book provides detailed explanations on physical anatomy, the appoggio breathing technique, resonance and acoustics. He provides exercises with each chapter.
On The Art of Singing
An interesting bedside book! The book is a compilation of Miller's writings, articles and speeches culled from various journals and presentations including the NATS Journal. Fun to go to every once in awhile to get your mind going!
Great Singers on Great Singing
Jerome Hines compiled a series of interviews with numerous famous singers with whom he sang including Pavarotti, Domingo, Gedda, Kurt Baum, Mario Sereni, Cornell MacNeill and many others. And while he stresses that no one can learn to sing from a book, one can gain an insight on what these individuals were thinking/doing when they sang (most have since retired). I return to this book time and time again to read various individual chapters.
On Studying Singing
I bought this book years ago and I am glad to see that it is still in print. While I do not agree with all of Kagen's points concerning technique, he presents a level headed, nononsense approach on how a singer should approach his/her art. It is well worth its current triple grande latté and a scone at Starbucks ($5.95) price!!!
Singing the Mechanism and the Technical
One of the standards. I got mine at a used book store in NYC (Gryphon Books) for much cheaper than the current price.
The Schubert Song Companion
The complete texts and historical/textual references to all of Franz Schubert's lieder. Need I say more?
The Ring of Words: An Anthology of Song Texts
Over 300+ line by line translations of song texts in various languages.
Grammar and Translation for Italian Libretto
A book that explains the antique forms of the language, giving specific libretto examples and usage.
The Singer's Manual of English Diction
The main resource for singing in English since the 1950's.
The Complete Puccini Libretti (2 volumes), The Complete Puccini Libretti (2 volumes), The Complete Verdi Libretti (4 volumes), French Opera Libretti (2 volumes) - by Nico Castel
These volumes contain word by word/line by line translations (and when the meaning is obscure - a paraphrase) along the the IPA. While expensive, these volumes can be of great use for any opera singer and student. The drawback is that for just about every voice type there may be numerous libretti in a volume that may never be used. But even then, I think it is worth it.
The Fischer-Dieskau Book of Lieder: The Original Texts of over 750 Songs
As the title states, over 750 english translations of lieder texts (poetic not literal). This volume contains many texts not often found in anthologies.
The Interpretation of French Song
A must have for the student and French chanson enthusiast. This book contains interpretative insights on both standard and non-standard french art-song. Bernac also outlines some of the diction/phonetic issues with singing French.
On Singers and Singing : Lectures and an Essay
An interesting read. This is a book that I have in my library but to which I seldom return. For students, get the library copy.
The Art of the Song Recital
Now back in print, this book should be in the possession of every undergraduate voice student. Emmons details the organization of the song recital and includes repertoire suggestions in the appendix.
History of Song - Revised edition (November 1970) W.W. Norton & Company; ISBN: 0393005364<
Amazon.com currently lists this title as out-of-stock but it should be available in used book stores. This was the text book for my first vocal literature class as an undergraduate and I still return to it from time to time. See if you can get a used copy!
The Songs of Brahms, The Songs of Hugo Wolf, The Songs of Robert Schumann
It appears as if two of these three books are now out of print. Search the used bookstores. These are excellent resources for the devoté of German lieder.
A Soprano on Her Head: Right-Side-Up Reflections on Life and Other Performances
Looking at performance anxiety and how we get in our own way. For more than just sopranos, Ristad is actually a pianist and presents an approach suitable to all musicians.
The Inner Game of Music
In the spirit of the Inner Game of Tennis and other physchological approaches to improving/enjoying oneself at a specific sport or performing art, this book is for the musician.
Power Performance for Singers: Transcending the Barriers
Just started reading this one and am liking it quite a bit. It is really for the advanced singer/performer.