Voice science

Vocal Science and Vocal Art, Part One: In Search of Common Ground (Article)
The author provides a comprehensive, historical review of contributions to voice science and pedagogy. The article explores the relationship between science and art through its history, its current state, and the new field of cognitive science to which voice pedagogy could look for a rapprochement between these two modes of understanding and the teaching of singing. (posted 5:44 PM, November 20, 2016)

The Role of the First Formant in Training the Male Singing Voice (Article)
Awareness of the acoustic registration events caused by changing interactions between the lower harmonics of the voice source and the first formant of the vocal tract can assist both teacher and student in working out a smooth, comfortable transition through the passaggio into the upper range of the male voice. This paper explains how knowledge and anticipation of these events, and of the passive vowel modifications that accompany them, can form the basis for effective pedagogic strategies. A relatively stable tube (vocal tract) length is necessary for timbral consistency and balance across the fundamental frequency range, since this can stabilize the general location of all formants and especially the singer’s formant cluster. However, upon ascending the scale, untrained males instinctively tend to activate muscles that shorten the tube in order to preserve the strong first formant/second harmonic (F1/H2) acoustic coupling of open timbre, resulting in “yell” timbre. If tube length and shape are kept stable during pitch ascent, the yell can be avoided by allowing the second harmonic to pass through and above the first formant. This results in the timbral shift referred to as covering or “turning over,” a shift which enables avoidance of the laryngeal muscular adjustments associated with pressed phonation. The variety of first formant locations, vowel by vowel, where these shifts occur creates opportunities for developing effective strategies for training the male passaggio. (posted 5:31 PM, November 2, 2014)

More About Resonant Voice: Chasing the Formants But Staying Behind Them (Article)
To achieve a more resonant voice, a formant is not placed directly on a harmonic, but rather slightly above a harmonic. Stated conversely, the harmonic chases the formant, but never quite catches up with it. The advantage of this maneuver is a strengthening of all harmonics, not just a single one. (posted 2:34 PM, August 27, 2014)

What Makes a Voice Acoustically Strong? (Article)
A voice is acoustically strong if the glottal flow can be reduced from a high value to a low value in a short time interval. The total collapse of flow per second is called the maximum flow declination rate. It can be increased by increasing lung pressure, by increasing vibration at the bottom of the vocal fold, or by narrowing the acoustic tube immediately above the vocal folds. In practice, a combination of these control strategies is probably utilized by singers. (posted 2:34 PM, August 27, 2014)

Vowel Modification Revisited (Article)
Modification involves shading vowels with respect to the location of vowel formants, so the sung pitch or one of its harmonics receives an acoustical boost by being near a formant. The goals of modification include a unified quality, throughout the entire range, smoother transitions between register, enhanced dynamic range and control, and improved intelligibility. (posted 2:34 PM, August 27, 2014)

The F0-F1 Crossover Exercise (Article)
The author has a long-term goal to understand and appreciate proven exercises and vocalizes used by singing teachers. One such exercise is the downward glide in pitch on a vowel [u] or [o], beginning on about D5 and ending one to two octaves lower. (posted 2:34 PM, August 27, 2014)

Resurrection from the Coffin (Article)
The author suggests that the Favorable Vowel Chart included in the writings of Berton Coffin over thirty years ago, needs to be resurrected, employing new theories of vowel modification and voice registers. (posted 2:34 PM, August 27, 2014)

Another Incremental Step in Reviving and Revising Coffin's Favorable Vowel Chart (Article)
In a previous issue the author proposed a new way of looking at pitch-vowel interaction in singing as promulgated by Berton Coffin. In a yearly update, Dr. Titze writes that the basic goal of understanding why certain vowels are favored at certain pitches has not changed. (posted 2:34 PM, August 27, 2014)

On Master Classes and the Olympic Games (Article)
The author asks the question: “Is there a lesson in the Olympic games that can be applied to singing?” Much of the new information that has advanced the coaching of sports is taken from analysis of precisely timed video. Because so little of the movement of the voice producing organs can be captured by noninvasive video, singing teachers have to rely on self-reporting of singers regarding what they “do” to achieve desired results. However, one particularly measurement of the singing voice that is now within reach for all is that of spectrum analysis, which is discussed in detail. (posted 2:34 PM, August 27, 2014)

How Are Harmonics Produced at the Voice Source? (Article)
In summary, harmonics in the glottal waveform are produced by adducing the vocal folds sufficiently so that they can collide. This changes the waveform from a simple oscillatory shape that has only one frequency. Alternately, or in conjunction with collision, the vocal tract can be engaged to feed back an acoustic wave to the glottal flow. (posted 2:34 PM, August 27, 2014)

Source-Vocal Tract Interaction in Female Operatic Singing and Theater Belting (Article)
Contrasting operatic and musical theatre voice production, the authors seek “to explain the female opera-belt contrast in terms of source-vocal tract interaction.” The study shows that despite aesthetic differences, many of the technical approaches overlap between these otherwise markedly different genres. (posted 2:34 PM, August 27, 2014)

Formant Frequency Shifts for Classical and Theater Belt Vowel Modification (Article)
In this article Ingo Titze presents research from an informal study conducted in Salt Lake City in 2010. Titze discusses the shift in formant frequencies that take place when a singer switches between classical singing and belt singing. (posted 2:34 PM, August 27, 2014)

A Short Tutorial on Sound Level and Loudness for Voice (Article)
With regard to fundamental frequency, sound level (SL) increases about 6 dB/octave, all else being equal. This is the primary reason why females often outsing males on the opera stage if they sing an octave higher. With regard to lung pressure, SL increases about 6-9 dB/with every doubling of lung pressure. The major phenomenon here is increase in peak glottal airflow. The frequency spectrum affects loudness perception if the sound is more than a simple tone. (posted 2:34 PM, August 27, 2014)