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:: Publications: Select Bibliography

My first book was Vocal Authority, and it is still the one that most often gets quoted. I re-read it recently, as an American student asked me if I’d still write the same book today. I did worry that it may not have stood the test of time, but I still stand by the main thrust of it. To my surprise it had very positive press (apart from the one review by a singer, perhaps unsurprisingly, who disliked it so much he reproduced his Guardian review in A Singer’s Notebook). I’m working on a kind of sequel to Vocal Authority at the moment, amplifying various strands that have become clearer to me in the intervening years, especially since I left academia to return to fulltime performing.

The publication of Vocal Authority and the Cambridge Companion two years later more or less coincided with my leaving the Hilliard Ensemble and starting as a lecturer at the University of York. I then began work on a history of singing, which was interrupted by an invitation from Yale to write the Tenor book. When I returned to it I was very glad to be joined by Neil Sorrell, and we managed to complete what could easily have become a totally unwieldy tome within a reasonably sensible word count. Since the singing history I’ve written a couple of individual chapters for Cambridge Histories, the latest of which is still forthcoming, as are my chapter on Pier Francesco Tosi for the Max Planck Institute and the proceedings from the Schwert conference Der Tenor: Mythos, Geschichte und Gegenwart (these last two will be published in German translations).

A History of Singing

A History of Singing
John Potter & Neil Sorrell
(Cambridge University Press, 2012)
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Tenor: History of a Voice

Tenor: History of a Voice
(Yale University Press, 2009)
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The Cambridge Companion to Singing

The Cambridge Companion to Singing
(Cambridge University Press, 2000)
[‘Singing at the turn of the century’; ‘Jazz singing: the first hundred years’; ‘Ensemble singing’]
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Vocal Authority: Singing Style and Ideology

Vocal Authority: Singing Style and Ideology
(Cambridge University Press, 1998)
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‘Richard Wistreich & John Potter’ 'Singing Early Music: a Conversation'
Early Music (February 2013)

‘'Vocal performance in the long eighteenth century'’ The Cambridge History of Musical Performance ed Colin Lawson & Robin Stowell
(Cambridge University Press 2012)

‘Early Music Discoveries and Experiments’ Horizons Touched: the Music of ECM
ed Steve Lake & Paul Griffiths (Granta Books, 2007)

‘The tenor-castrato connection’ Early Music XXXV/1
(February 2007)

‘The Communicative Rest’ Music & Silence
ed. Losseff & Doctor (Ashgate, 2007)

‘‘Beggar at the Door’: the Rise and Fall of Portamento’ Music & Letters
87/4 (2006)

'Baroque Singing', in Burton, A (ed) ABRSM Handbook
(London, ABRSM, 2003)

‘Past perfect & future fictions’ Basler Jahrbuch für Historische Musikpraxis XXVI

 ‘Qawwali singing’ in Songlines
(Gramophone Publications) Summer 1999

'Reconstructing Lost Voices' in Knighton & Fallows Companion to Medieval & Renaissance Music
(Dent 1992, rpr OUP 1998)

'Speaking in Tongues' Dance Theatre Journal
13/1 (1996)

Vocal Authority, The Cambridge Companion and the Tenor History are now all
available in paperback.

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