Why are notions about voice and race that are no longer supported by research still reproduced? Through ethnography work on classical vocal training in southern California in the early twenty-first century, this article demonstrates that listeners—teacher and audiences—project intention and identity onto vocal timbres and entrain the voices accordingly. As such, this research is concerned with the cultural-historical formation of one specific category of vocal timbre. More broadly, it argues that by paying attention to the microscopic nuances of vocal timbre, awareness can be drawn to the politics of listening that come into play each time vocal timbre is assessed.

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