The Seven Point Circle and the Twelve Principles: An evidence-based approach to Italian Lyric Diction Instruction


  • Steven A. Leigh University of Toronto



Despite the ubiquitousness of Lyric Diction Instructors (LDIrs) in both the academic and professional opera world, there remains a dearth of research examining the approaches and methods used for Lyric Diction Instruction (LDIn) as well the nonexistence of university programmes through which LDIrs gain profession-specific qualifications and/or certifications. Owing to this paucity of LDIn educational background accreditation and accountability, LDIrs in both educational institutions and opera houses are typically comprised of opera coaches, present or former opera singers, or "native speakers" of the target language. Using the qualitative framework of action research, the study empirically tested my five session, Italian Lyric Diction Course for Opera Singers by examining the validity and efficaciousness of its design, materials, course content, and pedagogical approach of explicit articulatory instruction. Rather than focusing on the empirical testing itself, this article focuses on the underlying pedagogical framework, i.e., The Seven Point Circle (7PC) and the ethical code of conduct, i.e., The Twelve Point Circle (12PC) derived from my M.A. thesis study. Data collection instruments included: semi-structured participant interviews, audio recording, transcribing of the classes, and an invited panel of eight observer-feedback experts from the fields of foreign language pedagogy, pronunciation instruction, and Italian language instruction.


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