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Russian Songs & Arias

Additional Information

Authors Jean Piatak
ISBN 1934477076
Length 206 pages
Price $44.95
Robert Spillman

“This is a terrific book, one that fills a large gap in the library of any serious singer or coach. The explanations of Russian pronunciation are lucid and helpful, and the translations, specifically word-for-word, are exactly what is needed by those of us who do not read Russian. This book should receive a wide welcome among musicians, and deservedly so.”
Director of the Opera Program At Aspen Music Festival

pronouncing Russian diction aria translations and phonetic transcriptions

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Interesting Russian diction, magical Russian songs . . . All for your exploration. 

Russian Songs and Arias is two things. First, it is a book on Russian diction, which is structured just like English, Italian, Latin, German, French, and Spanish are structured in Diction for Singers. In this way, the book extends Diction for Singers by adding Russian to the list of languages. If you have studied one of the languages in Diction for Singers, you will find the approach familiar and easy to navigate. It differs, naturally, by using the cyrillic alphabet as the reference orthography.

Second, it is a transliteration and word-by-word translation of a large number of Russian songs and arias. This allows you to sing a number of Russian songs and arias immediately (see the table of contents) as long as you are adept with the IPA. Together, both parts allow you to go deep into the diction, getting the IPA and reading about the different issues that come up.

Russian Songs and Arias Table of Contents

The material is optimized to function both as a text and a reference so that you and your students can get what you need instantly, which helps foster a sense of accessibility. In most cases, the layout allows you to literally flip through the pages to get right to any issue.

The structure of the first section begins with a concise overview of studying the language—a bird’s eye view that helps orient you to what to expect when studying Russian pronunciation. For instance, you learn that most of the phonemes are already in English, but the juxtaposition of one phoneme next to another is sometimes atypical in English, creating a number of tongue-twisters and interesting challenges.

It then offers a quick Chart of Sounds, which is organized by the letters and letter combinations of the cyrillic alphabet, allowing you and your students a quick access to easily-forgotten details, particularly when transliterating a Russian song into IPA.

Next, it begins a section called Special Features, which includes the unique details of Russian that require your attention.

Finally, it ends the language with the "Vowels in Detail" and "Consonants in Detail." Here, you guide your students through each letter of the cyrillic alphabet (and its subset combinations) in much greater depth and the guidelines for pronouncing them in a variety of contexts.

Throughout, each guideline comes complete with a number of example words, spelled out in IPA.


To see how Russian Songs and Arias fits within the overall diction multimedia platform, consider clicking on the following links, particularly the independent doctoral dissertation written specifically to compile many professor's evaluations of the strengths and weaknesses of various published works for helping teach diction. While diction courses do not typically include Russian, the comments are relevant to the structure of the diction section.

overview of diction multimedia platform

independent doctoral dissertation on diction teaching texts

why multimedia?


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