Research project ‘Voice and Singing in American Popular Music (1900–1960)’

Representative : Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
Duration: 2011–2014

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Project description

The research project sets out to study the practice of singing in popular music. We document forms of vocal expression, techniques, and styles, assessing them in the context of social and cultural developments. The project studies popular music in the USA, from the earliest recordings that were made around 1900 up to 1960. It encompasses three main aspects:
  • comprehensive cataloguing of vocal recordings of American popular music between 1900 and 1960, including the gathering of information about the production contexts
  • systematic ordering and music-analytical description of vocal technique in genres and styles of popular music such as blues, gospel, and rhythm & blues, in American popular song, country and folk music, as well as jazz and rock'n'roll
  • study of select vocal recordings and singers regarding their music historical, social, and cultural contexts.


Prof. Dr. Martin Pfleiderer (principal investigator)
Dr. Christian Bielefeldt
Dr. Tilo Hähnel   
Katrin Horn