Reference Materials

 Reference materials, recordings, repertoire (and even listening centers) may be found at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, 40 Lincoln Center Plaza (212) 870-1630  This is a wonderful resource, but not a substitute for the student developing a music library of his or her own.

This list of study aides is provided for your reference only.  The only reference materials the student is required to purchase will be one foreign language dictionary each year:

The A to Z of Foreign Musical Terms: From Adagio to Zierlich a Dictionary for Performers and Students. By Christine Ammer. EC Schirmer Music Co; ISBN: 0911318151; (September 1989)

Word-by-word translations of songs and arias. (in two parts) Berton Coffin, Werner Singer, Pierre Delattre, Arthur Schoep, Daniel Harris. Scarecrow Press; ISBN: 0810801493; (March 1, 1994)

Phonetic Readings of Songs and Arias. Berton Coffin, Ralph Errolle, Werner Singer, Pierre Delattre. Scarecrow Press; ISBN: 0810815338; 2nd Edition edition (September 1, 1994)

The Ring of Words. Over 300 art songs of Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Russia, Norway, and Sweden, with line-by-line English translations. Philip L. Miller. W.W. Norton & Company; ISBN: 0393006778; (December 1973)

Masters of the Italian Art Song: word-by-word and poetic translations of the complete songs for voice and piano. (Bellini, Donaudy, Donizetti, Puccini, Rossini, Tosti, and Verdi). Timothy Levan. Scarecrow Press; ISBN: 0810823632; (April 1, 1993)

The Spanish Song Companion. Jacqueline Cockburn, Richard Stokes (Translator). Victor Gollancz; ASIN: 0575046740; Reissue edition (July 1993)

Lieder Line by Line and Word for Word. Lois Phillips. Clarendon Pr; ISBN: 0198790171; Revised edition (July 1997)

The Fischer-Diskau Book of Lieder: The Original Texts of over 750 Songs. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Editor), George Bird, Richard Stokes (Translator), George Bird (Translator). Proscenium Pub; ISBN: 0879100044; Reprint edition (April 1984)

The Interpretation of French Song. Pierre Bernac, Winifred Radford (Translator). Kahn & Averill; ISBN: 1871082633; (April 2, 2002)

Nineteenth-Century French Song: Fauré, Chausson, Duparc, and Debussy. Barbara Meister. Indiana University Press; ASIN: 0253211751; (March 1998)

International Phonetic Alphabet for Singers: A Manual for English and Foreign Language Diction. Joan Wall. Caldwell Publishing; ISBN: 1877761508; (September 1, 1989)

Diction Italian, Latin, French, German...the Sounds and 81 Exercises for Singing Them. John Moriarity. EC Schirmer Music Co; ISBN: 0911318097; (December 1975)

Singer's Italian: A Manual of Diction and Phonetics. Evelina Colorni. Wadsworth Pub Co; ISBN: 002870620X; 1st edition (July 1, 1995)

Singing in French (A Manual of French Diction and French Vocal Repertoire). Thomas Grubb, Charles Bennett Grubb. Wadsworth Pub Co; ISBN: 0028707907; 5th edition (April 1, 1979)

The Singer's Manual of English Diction. Madeleine F. Marshall. Wadsworth Publishing Company; ISBN: 0028711009; (July 1953) 

When the Fat Lady Sings: Opera History As It Ought To Be Taught (Barber, David W., 1990)

There are many more books and they can be added later. Here are some examples:

Optional Books:

Description of the first four books follows.  I’d like to do the same for all of them and produce a resource for our singers: (many are from my own library or were used in school) PLEASE ADD to this list!

 Challis, Natalia. The Singer’s Rachmaninoff. New York: Pelion Press, 1989.  A guide to the background, translation, and pronunciation of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s art songs. Intended for the singer of teacher of Russian art song and includes the complete published art songs of Rachmaninoff.

The book is divided into four chapters: Russian Pronunciation and Diction, Rachmaninoff and his Time, Rachmaninoff and the Russian Poetic Tradition, and Songs. Song entries are grouped by Opus number. Background and description of the songs in the opus are given at the beginning, followed by the songs. Each song is entered with dates of composition, publication, publisher, dedications, source of the text, and the text in Russian with international phonetic alphabet transliteration and English translation. Appendixes include a chronology of Rachmaninoff’s life and a catalog of the songs. Bibliography. Index of titles, index of first lines, and index of names.  Clear and logical typographical layout. Helpful pronunciation guide, and song texts are all fully transliterated into IPA.


Coffin, Berton. Singer's Repertoire. New York, Scarecrow Press, 1960-62,

Extensive guide to classical solo repertoire for all voice types. Useful to teacher, student, and performer for finding appropriate music and programming recitals.  Vocal repertoire for all voice types including recital songs, arias, and other American, British, French, German, Italian, and miscellaneous art songs.

First four volumes include repertoire listings by composer. Volume1 for Coloratura, lyric, and dramatic soprano, volume 2 for mezzo soprano and contralto, volume 3 for lyric and dramatic tenor, volume 4 for baritone and bass. Each entry includes voice type, range, and publisher code. Volume 5–program notes, includes brief poetic translations, and a small descriptive paragraph for the more major composers.  Not all foreign songs from first volumes are listed in the program notes–only more well-known pieces. Translations in program notes are not word for word. Out of date for more modern classical works.

Daugherty, F. Mark, ed. Classical Vocal Music in Print. Philadelphia: Musicdata, Inc., 1995.

Intended for the vocal artist in finding music to use in recital, religious, or concert stage performance. Includes all styles of music, including many folk songs, except popular. Purpose is to supply current guides and comprehensive coverage of editions available from publishers. The master index gives a good panoramic view of composer’s vocal works in print.

Entries are alphabetically integrated by title and composer (titles are cross referenced to composer listings). Entries listed by composer include title, voice and instrumentation, publisher, and publisher. Some entries also contain collection information, catalog number or opus, edition information, arranger, original language, difficulty rating, publishers number, availability and prices. The master index is in 2 sections: first, alphabetical by composer with works listed below, and second, alphabetical by title. Reference number following index entries indicates the volume in which the work is found. Some operatic arias indicate med-hi or med-lo voice instead of exact voice type.

Kagen, Sergius. Music for the Voice; a descriptive list of concert and teaching material. Bloomington, Indiana University Press [c1968]

Songs and airs of major composers in major European languages. Dates from the 17th to 20th-century. Also includes folk songs in English, and opera arias and duets.  Sectioned according to genre. Subsections are alphabetical by composer. Entries begin with short descriptions of the composer’s contributions, then list title, role (if an aria), range, tessatura, voice type, and comments. Opera and folk songs are poorly represented

Emmons, Shirlee, and Sonntag, Stanley. The Art of The Song Recital. New York, Schirmer Books, 1979.

Nardone, Thomas R., ed. Classical Vocal Music in Print. Philadelphia: Musicdata, Inc., 1976. Mus Ref ML 128 .V7 N335

Eslinger, Gary S. and F. Mark Daugherty, eds. Classical Vocal Music in Print–1985 Supplement. Philadelphia: Musicdata, Inc., 1986. Mus Ref ML 128 .V7 N335 Suppl.

Coffin, Berton. Phonetic Readings of Songs and Arias: (Authentic Pronunciation of 413 Italian, German, and French lyrics from "The Singer's Repertoire" in International Phonetic Alphabet Transcription.) New York, Scarecrow Press, 1981.

Coffin, Berton. Word-by-Word Translations of Songs and Arias. New York. Scarecrow Press, 1966

Dunlap, Kay. Vocal Chamber Music: a performer's guide. New York: Garland, 1985

Espina, Noni. Repertoire for the solo voice: (A Fully Annotated Guide to Works for the Solo Voice Published in Modern Editions and Covering Material from the 13th Century to the Present.) New York, Scarecrow Press, 1977.

 Espina, Noni. Vocal Solos for Christian Churches: a descriptive reference of solo music for the church year, including a bibliographical supplement of choral works. New York, Scarecrow Press, 1984.

Hall, James Husst. The Art Song. Norman, University of Oklahoma Press [1953].

Landau, Anneliese. The Lied: The Unfolding of its Style. Washington, D.C., University Press of America, 1980.

MacClintock, Carol. The Solo Song, 1580-1730. New York, W. W. Norton 1973.

Meister, Barbara. An Introduction to the Art Song. New York, Taplinger Pub. Co., 1980.

Pleasants, Henry. The Great Singers: (From Jenny Lind to Callas and Pavarotti.) New York, Simon and Schuster, 1981.

Pleasants, Henry. The Great Singers; (From the Dawn of Opera to Our Own Time.) New York, Simon and Schuster 1966. [first edition]

Prawer, Siegbert Salomon. The Penguin Book of Lieder. Baltimore, Penguin Books 1964.

Hines, Jerome. Great Singers on Great Singing. New York, Limited Editions, 1982 . 

Osborne, Charles. The Concert Song Companion. New York: Da Capo Press, 1974.

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