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“In regard to the schwa in German, Johnston has coined the term “vocalic chameleon” because the color of the schwa is directly related to the quality of the vowel immediately preceding it. “Legato,” she writes, “is achieved through the merging of all phonemes on a column of released air . . . supported by the body, and executed by the imagination” [italics added]. That instruction neatly reveals one of the most important features of English and German Diction for Singers. Johnston never overlooks the purpose of diction: to share the explicit and implicit meaning of text.

She exhibits a command of the English language that rivals her skills as a diction coach. In the opening chapter, the author makes a parallel between phonetic symbols and chemical symbols; the latter represent elements of life, while the former denote elements of sound. The analogy is an excellent example of the author’s skill in enlivening the study of diction. Voice teachers and coaches will find this volume a useful addition to their libraries; those diction courses that combine English and German will find in this a tailor-made text.”

Debra Greschner, Journal of Singing, Vol. 68, No. 2 [Nov./Dec. 2011]


English and German Diction for Singers: A Comparative Approach is a musical, linguistic, and physical explanation of vocal production in English and German for singers. Each sound is prefaced with a brief description, three to five words or short phrases to isolate the sound, phonetic spelling using IPA, and for German, the English translation of the word(s). Musical excerpts of German art songs are presented with IPA printed below the text. The explanation of the position of the mouth, tongue, and lips for each vowel and consonant is extremely detailed. This information is beneficial to both voice teachers and choral conductors desiring to develop a choral unified sound. This textbook, paired with the study of conversational German, is a useful tool for music educators and vocal performers.”

Mary Neeley Stevens, Music Educators Journal [June 2012}


“It is through lyric diction that singers are able to communicate the wishes and desires of the poet, as well as the composer.” With this important opening statement Amanda Johnston leads us on a journey through a significant aspect of singing: lyric diction. This book shows Johnston’s extensive background in lyric or singing diction and also in the German language. An important aspect of English and German Diction for Singers is that it explains the Neue Rechtschreibung, the complete overhaul of the German language, completed in 2006, which modernizes the German language. As a singer, living and performing in Germany and teaching both German and American students, I particularly appreciate this excellent source of diction.

Clear and useful explanations are made of aspects of diction, such as vowel placement and execution, emphasis on the characteristics of vowel length, and the differences between spoken and sung sounds. A delightful section is also the tongue twisters in English and German, which are excellent practice. This book can be used for various courses of study for singers and is also a good reference work to possess for any singer or coach as a valuable tool for preparing a vocal performance.”

Donald George, American Music Teacher vol. 61, no.1 [Aug. 2011]