Why reprint old books on singing?

Many older texts have already been converted to some sort of digital format, usually as PDF files. Some of these are image-based and are not text-searchable. However, even if a searchable PDF was created, the file does not always offer a satisfactory reading experience on typical reading devices. Getting some of the classic works of voice pedagogy into more enjoyable formats is one of the goals of this enterprise.

Apart from the readability issues with existing scans, there are still many lost gems that have never been digitized. One example I can think of today would be Herbert Witherspoon’s Singing: A Treatise for Teachers and Students. This book had one reprinting, in 1980, by a now-defunct publisher. It is a wise work that should be better known.

Many singers would enjoy being able to read these old texts for the practical wisdom that they contain. Some of the challenging issues in voice pedagogy that were described 100 years ago are still with us today. Possible solutions to many perennial problems can be found in whole or in part in some of these older texts.

Hardcore pedagogy geeks enjoy having the deeper and broader research possibilities inherent in digitized books’ contents and metadata. For example, text analysis across large numbers of historical works can help us to understand trends in how singing and studying were described over time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *