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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.
Michael responds to a Letter to the Editor regarding muscle use in breathing.
This article is a brief description of the work of David Blair McClosky and the techniques for healthy voice use that he developed over 60 years ago. Mr. McClosky was a pioneer in the field of voice science and his work continues to help singers, music teachers, choir directors, and other professional voice users to regain and enhance a healthy voice. This article explains the essence of the techniques which include body alignment, abdominal breathing, balanced onset, and six specific areas of relaxation of the extrinsic muscles. Application of these techniques provide a physiological approach to vocal production that coordinates the body as a vocal instrument.
This voice science article examines the timbre differences in Musical Theater and Classical Singing. The author examines the different demands of each singer and takes into account microphone usage and the number of weekly performances. Björkner asserts that subglottal pressure is the main player in controlling vocal intensity. Five male opera singers and five mail MT singers were involved in this study, which seeks to determing "voice source characteristics" and formant frequencies at two fundamental frequencies (f0) and over a large dynamic range. Results indicate that MT and opera singers both sing with equally pressed phonation and that the singer's formant plays a large role in classical vs. MT singing.
The authors succinctly describe their thesis: "[This study] will discuss the use of nutrition and integrative medicine for singers. In the second article, these approaches will be applied to specific conditions to describe how integrative medicine can be useful for diseases or conditions such as GERD, allergies, URIs, menopausal symptoms, and performance anxiety." For the first installment, see 68, no. 2 Nov./Dec. 2011 (165-173).
Saunders-Barton gives a historical background to the development of a musical play or the musical and explains how vocal qualities evolved to match the demands. She explains that the vocal demands now call for very refined coordination of the C.T. and C.A. muscles. She also mentions how the vocal styles intended for legit shows such as Carousel are now changing and we have to become more open minded as singers and listeners.
This article discusses how the vocal tract is used in different styles of singing. It encourages voice teachers to use style-specific pedagogy with their students.
Neal discusses his nine "ingredients" for singing rock music organically: text emphasis, emotional affectations such as the "growl" (and includes exercises on how to produce the growl), speech-like text delivery, shorter vowels, and back beating, to name a few. He assumes one is familiar with musical terminology.
The article assists singing teachers and others in understanding when a laryngologist (voice specialist) should be consulted, and especially when one should be consulted urgently.
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.
The article addresses the several concerns that might confront the singer in vocal fold surgery. Helpful and very informative.
Continuing the series begun in 2010, Michael aims to "clarify misconceptions about vocal production.” In this installment she notes of the titular myth, "Like many of the anatomically incorrect images we use routinely in the studio, this advise is well motivated, but can have unintended consequences.” For part one see 66, no. 5 (547-551); part two 67, no. 4 (417-421); part three 68, 4 (419-425).
This investigation aims at describing voice function of four nonclassical styles of singing, Rock, Pop, Soul, and Swedish Dance Band.
McCoy's training as a choral conductor and his acknowledged status as scholar of voice pedagogy make him the ideal person to negotiate the controversies surrounding the overlapping domains of technique in choral singing and technique in solo singing. This first installment in the series focuses on vibrato; high tessitura and vowels; and stamina in lengthy rehearsals. McCoy believes that choral directors and singing teachers can work together on the many issues this subject raises, noting that “we all have the ultimate goal of making beautiful music.”
"[Intubation] occurs under deep sedation or general anesthesia to maintain/support the airway and to provide a means for oxygenation (oxygen delivery) and mechanical ventilation.” Focusing on short term intubation, less than twenty-four hours in duration, the authors give a wealth of advice for vocal performers, including what questions to ask before the surgery; what to expect in the operating room; and expectations for the postoperative period.
The authors succinctly describe their thesis: "[This study] will discuss the use of nutrition and integrative medicine for singers. In this first article, a definition and categorization of integrative medicines is presented, along with background information on nutrition, herbal medicine, homeopathy, physical fitness, and stress management.” For the second installment, see 68, no. 3 Jan./Feb. 2012 (291-298).
This article by Mary Saunders-Barton describes her experiences teaching young musical theatre students non-classical music. She describes the basic fundamental techniques of singing and her technical training theory for both men and women. She describes more in detail the differences of teaching male and female students and gives several spoken and sung exercises to use.
It is important for singers and teachers to be familiar with the body_x0090_s major hormones and their effect on vocal fold function. The authors first focus on aspects of the female voice (such as the effects of the menstrual cycle) and explore issues relevant to all singers, including the effects of thyroid hormones and pituitary gland hormones.
The essay sheds light on the ongoing efforts to define what is meant by efficient voice production, that which gives the most output for the least effort. Most pedagogues, clinicians, and voice scientists have wrestled somewhat with this problem because voices are not often big enough or enduring enough for a given vocal task.
Many singing teachers, voice therapists, and acting voice teachers employ semi-occluded vocal tract postures in their teaching. Some of these flow-resistant postures are an integral part of what some authorities have referred to as resonant voice training. The practice is discussed at length.
It is helpful for singing teachers to have a basic familiarity with the nature, evaluation, and treatment of thyroid cancer, a relatively common form of the disease. Normal thyroid hormone levels are important to laryngeal function, so thyroid damage even from medical cancer treatment can cause voice problems in singers, but it will not necessarily end a vocal career.
The authors note, "it is clear from all of the studies to date that singers, and even nonsingers, have a high prevalence of findings [after examination] that physicians would diagnose as abnormalities." They suggest that singers undergo screening while they are healthy to help voice care professionals better assess their condition should an injury occur.
A new edition of the MADDE Synthesizer by Svante Granqvist was introduced in the spring of 2011 that added the top octave of the keyboard and a keyboard display of formants and partials. These improvements have rendered MADDE an especially clear pedagogic tool for explaining and demonstrating the basic acoustic elements of the voice source and the vocal tract filter, as well as all source/filter interactions. This paper shows how MADDE can be used to explain and display the effect of the number of source harmonics, the roll off in power of the source spectrum, the implication of roll off on the laryngeal registration of the voice source, the locations and bandwidths of vocal tract formants, the acoustic effects of harmonic/formant relationships and crossings, such as open timbre, “turning over,” close timbre, and “whoop” timbre.
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.
Titze reports on the continuing research into this naturally occurring substance in the body that may one day prove beneficial in distributing moisture evenly over the vocal folds. Promising as this is, the author notes that "we must give voice scientists some time to solve this puzzle." [pp. 51-52]
The author used iterviews with MDs to provide solid information for singers regarding voice care.
Fresh insight into the teaching of breathing for singing is provided by the two noted pedagogues.
Choral pedagogy, the newest academic field in performing arts medicine, addresses the need for choral conductors to be better informed about vocal health. Recently, several authors have studied the special issues of choral conducting that can strengthen voices rather than injure them.
Recently, the importance of posture to well being has become popularized through the works of authors such as Alexander, Pilates, Feldenkrais, and others. Physiotherapy and osteopathy have become integral to the field of sports medicine, and to the rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries. Only very recently, however, has consideration of such sciences been applied to voice research and rehabilitation. The authors believe that it is helpful for singers to be familiar with the latest concepts and perspectives on posture from the medical and alternative medical literature.
The author discusses the cognitive substrates of performance failures known in the sports world as "choking" but known to performers as "stage fright" by considering psychological research of the phenomenon dubbed "The Ironic Effect."
When selected nonsurgical treatments fail and when a patient remains sufficiently symptomatic to warrant the surgical risks in the opinion of the patient, voice therapist, and laryngologist, meticulous microsurgery usually results in voice improvement. Many abnormalities, as detailed, in the article, do require surgery.
The difference between building strength and building control in the voice is addressed. Often, when singers resort to sheer force, it betrays a need for increased skill or control in that aspect of their singing.
Laryngopharyngeal reflux is a common, if not the most common source of laryngeal pathology, and may be a contribution to disorders ranging from slight, but distressing voice change to laryngeal cancer. Causes and treatments of gastric reflux are discussed. The author stresses that antirefluxogenic behavioral and dietary controls should minimize the need for medications, and maximize the intended effect of medications. Readers are strongly advised to seek medical evaluation via endoscopy and evaluations should atypical throat or voice problems persist for longer than several weeks.
This dissertation discusses the role of the worship leader throughout history and in contemporary worship settings. Robinsons research is comprehensive and extremely informative. For his reasearch, Robinson used the ethnography techniques of survey and online interviews. Robinson investigated the musical, theological and vocal training of several worship leaders and "The study draws conclusions from the four structural pillars of enquiry (construct, culture, environment and voice) and delivers nineteen distinctive features that distinguish the Contemporary Worship Singer as a unique vocalist in the wider community of singers." The author admonishes singing teachers "to correctly identify the individual singer’s worship setting and correctly nominate the most appropriate vocal discipline."
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.
The problem of reflux has become well known among singing teachers. It is worthwhile for singing teacher to recognize that diagnosis and treatment of reflux in singers and other otolaryngology patients remain more controversial than we would like. Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) represents a complex spectrum of pathophysiology, diagnostic challenge and therapeutic controversy. Patient management can be optimized only through excellently designed studies with rigorous inclusion criteria, involving close collaboration among laryngologists, gastroenterologists, research scientists, and reflux surgeons.
The study analyzes clinical and biomedical evidence for four aspects of vocal hygiene: the promotion of adequate hydration, the avoidance of caffeine intake, the avoidance of milk products, and advocacy of a warm-up before extended periods of voice use.
Now that the leading edge of Baby Boomers has turned 65, voice pedagogy for the aging singer is sure to become a hotter topic in NATS. Edwin_x0090_'s pedagogical advice for working with the older vocalist centers on body position, respiration, audiation, phonation, and resonation. These technical considerations must be coupled with realistic expectations for vocal performance in the later years of one_x0090_s singing life.
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.
It has long been the hallmark of a fine teacher to assign proper vocalises to the student. From a scientific perspective, the messa di voce, staccato and sustaining long phrases are discussed.
The author provides a brief discussion of the practical application of flow resistant straws.
Rather than a specific set of guidelines for singers to address injury, the authors explore methods of educating students about this topic through classes and seminars. While they describe several viable approaches, they conclude, "more research is necessary to better understand how voice educators can serve the health needs of singing students.”
This dissertationaddresses the vocal stylisms of vocal ornamentations used in popular African American ballads in the 1990s. This type of singing is common in many forms of pop music.
This brief article gives an introduction to a growing phenomenon in voice teaching, particularly in collegiate voice - that of teaching transgendered students. Ms. Bos offers practical advice and some further resources.
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.
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.
From an assumption that far little has been written about the nose, the author discusses its anatomy, nosebleeds, obstruction, fracture, various growths,etc.
The purpose of this study is to develop an introductory guide for teaching music theater vocal pedagogy and styles. This guide is intended for experienced classical teachers. The conclusions of the research on mix/belt singing revealed significant differences between music theater vocal pedagogy and classical vocal pedagogy. To aid the classical teachers in learning about music theater vocal pedagogy and styles, the guide details the results of the pedagogical research on mix/belt singing and compares and contrasts the pedagogy to classical singing.
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.
Robert Edwin addresses the need for amplification in voice lessons. He discusses some of the struggles new singers will face if they have not worked with a microphone and the specific genres of music that require amplification when performing. Some terms may be very slightly out of date, but an excellent resource.
Continuing the series begun in 2010, Michael aims to clarify misconceptions about vocal production. In this installment Michael and Goding examine some myths and truths about vocal fold swelling, particularly as it pertains to upper respiratory infection (URI). For part one see 66, no. 5 (547-551); part two 67, no. 4 (417-421); part four 69, no. 2 (167-172).
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.
It is the responsibility of the speech-language pathologist to determine what muscular patterns and behavioral habits have contributed to a laryngeal disorder. Over the years, certain recurring problems have emerged which might be helpful for the teacher to review.
Dr. John Nix addresses the pervasive issue of vibrato use in the vocal studio and choral settings. He begins by defining vibrato and comparing various kinds of functional and non-functional vibrato (healthy vibrato, wobble, bleat or flutter), including the characteristics of each. He also notes that airflow rates for tones with vibrato tend to about 10% greater than tones without vibrato. In Nix’s study of 350 singers, he found that the majority of those who received explicit instruction regarding using vibrato in singing, that instruction came from a voice teacher; in those who received explicit instruction in non-vibrato singing, the majority received it from a choir director. He addresses changing aesthetics with regard to vibrato, and cites several articles from past issues of the Journal of Singing. Nix offers several exercises for developing flexibility in producing vibrato and non-vibrato sounds. He also suggests revisiting the all-too-easily forgotten basic checklist needed for good singing: alignment, breath, vowels, and addressing any visible tension.
Singing teachers should be familiar with sinusitis, as virtually all will encounter students with sinusitis. Many more students with sinus symptoms actually have allergic rhinitis.
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.
A paper presented at the Fifth International Congress of Voice Teachers, Helsinki. In conclusion, the author urges, for optimal communication through speech or sing, every speech or voice teacher needs to have complete knowledge of the movements of the muscles in the vocal tract required for the phonological system of the language being sung.
It is helpful for singing teachers to understand current concepts of the aging process in order to recognize correctable problems early, make appropriate referrals, and begin optimal strategies for building healthier, more beautiful voices.
An increasing quantity of data and theory about how motor skills are acquired is emerging. This article investigates certain key concepts and their possible applications in voice training. The author writes that the study of motor learning, a respected science, allows us to view voice teaching in a new light, one that considerably illumines voice pedagogy.
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.
Vocal fry is a vocal production that is marked by a low fundamental frequency (below 70 Hz), low subglottic pressure, and minimal air flow. This article describes in detail how vocal fry is produced, explores a variety of pedagogical opinions about fry and its utility in the teaching of singing, and provides sample exercises the authors have found successful for addressing specific vocal problems.
DeFatta and Sataloff explore the scientific studies that have focused on this fundamental component of voice study. While they note that "no consensus can be reached based on available scientific evidence, they suggest that "the continued use of warm-up and cool-down exercises" seems appropriate and prudent.
The question is discussed: how does the technical training of a countertenor differ from that of other male singers? A useful introduction to and overview of the countertenor fach by a respected pedagogue. Some terms on the "legitimacy" of this fach are slightly outdated, but it is a useful article nonetheless.
The purpose of the article is to help the individual, teacher, and family member navigate through the vocal health care system. The different types of voice care professionals involved in voice evaluation and treatment are mentioned. A variety of key components of voice evaluation are described as well as assists in providing the reader with a method to find a voice care physician.
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.
It has long been the hallmark of a fine teacher to assign proper vocalises to the student. From a scientific perspective, the messa di voce, staccato and sustaining long phrases are discussed.
Continuing the series begun in 2010, Michael aims to "clarify misconceptions about vocal production.” In this installment she addresses three pervasive _myths”: 1) that the vocal folds are "chords” (sic); 2), that one can sing "on” or "off” the cords (sic); and 3), that falsetto is produced with _false vocal folds.” For part one see 66, no. 5 (547-551); part three 68, no. 4 (419-425); part four 69, no. 2 (167-172).
The author addresses, from a practical stand-point, some of the challenges that singers face with regard to establishing the feet and legs as a flexible base of support for singing. She focuses on only a part of the anatomical structure that is used for the singing experience.
The author suggests that most confounding problem in dealing with vocal fatigue is not knowing how much voice rest is needed for recovery. Considerable research is ongoing in this area.
This article was written from a presentation given at the Voice Foundation's 1999 "Care For The Professional Voice" Symposium in Philadelphia. It compares belt and classical vocal techniques using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), video fluoroscopy, and video laryngoscope on one subject. "The goal of this study was to gain evidence about the relationship between the thyroid and cricoid cartilages and how they might tilt or angle in classical versus belting." Popeil discusses terminology for the belt and the findings of this study.
In this article Dr. Austin discusses the importance of eliminating breathiness from the tone of young singers who are interested in the bel canto tradition. The breathy onset is described as the most common fault in young voices. Teaching a ‘neat and clean’ beginning to the sung tone as experienced when one speaks the word ‘awesome’ can lead to a tone that is clear and ringing.
The development of vocal fold tissues to accommodate vibration over large pitch ranges is nothing short of a miracle. An experiment (which cannot be performed) would be to expose one vocal fold of a human being to normal daily vibration from birth to adulthood while preventing the other vocal fold from vibrating at all. We could then answer questions about whether such specialized tissue development is driven purely by the applied forces or partly by genetics.
An exploration of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and Premenstrual Voice Syndrome (PMVS) that details the ways in which singers may be physically and emotionally affected. Based on a number of medical studies of the phenomenon, the author provides strategies for students and teachers to address this highly personal subject sensitively and effectively. [pp. 27-34]
The exercises given are those that have strong physiologic justification and are prevalent in the majority of studios.
This article uses data to make the point that students trained in current collegiate vocal pedagogy programs may not be prepared for the marketplace in vocal performance. It includes very current information about finances of the music industry.
It is suggested that a diagnostic category termed the vocal overdoer syndrome (VOS) can be of use not only in the voice clinic but also in the singing studio.
The first of a series of articles, the author wishes to provide facts that can clarify myths about vocal technique or the vocal mechanism. Dr. Michael is Assistant Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology, University of Minnesota Medical School. (For the second installment, see vol. 67, no. 4, March/April 2011: 417-421.)
Pomfret considers perhaps the most overlooked portion of the voice lesson: the vocalise. Her methodic approach to vocalizing includes considerations of what it means to warm up, what exercises help to accomplish the task, exercises for voice building, and vocalises for special repertoire or voice types.
Tools for intervention to slow the effects of aging on the voice are discussed.
Neurological voice disorders are due to abnormalities of the brain and/or the nerves of the body that impair control of the muscles. The more common neurological diseases discussed are strokes, Parkinson's, spasmodic dysphonia, benign essential tremor, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, myasthenia gravis and multiple sclerosis.
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.
The article explores on the curriculum in a music theater education. It notes on the required skills needed to be fit in such type of musical education which includes mastery in singing, acting and movements as stand-alone skills while integrating and aligning them, hence, basic classes that will provide future performers are needed in any undergraduate music theater programs. Furthermore, it cites on various methods and ideas that will help future performers develop connection and alignment in singing, acting and movements.
The value of phonating into a small-diameter straw is explained, a healthy action for the tissues while the abdominal muscles get a good workout.
The authors write that maintaining longevity of the voice involves attention to training and proper hygiene of the vocal folds throughout one's career. Daily stretching, attention to diet and hydration and, the use of proper voice technique in all vocal situations are essential components of prolonged vocal health.
Helpful axioms are provided that will help the singer budget voice use and save one from costly cancellations or just help preserve vocal health.
In this article, the author reflects on his article "Are We the National Association of Teachers of Classical Singing?" that appeared in May 1985 issue of "The NATS Bulletin." The focus of the article is how NATS members can address the need for competent and knowledgeable singing instructors among nonclassical singers
This article appeared in the Journal of Voice in May 2012. The article summary states that this study "was a preliminary attempt 1) to determine the prevalence of the use of this register in young adult college-aged American speakers and 2) to describe the acoustic characteristics of vocal fry for these speakers."
In addition to aerodynamic considerations, Titze observes, a vocal tract air column that vibrates (up and down) above the vocal folds can create a reactive push and pull on the tissue surfaces so that vocal fold vibration is reinforced a vocal tract that is narrow (semioccluded) in some region along its length (e.g., at the lips or the epiglottis) helps to produce this favorable push-pull.
Speech-language pathologist Barbara Wilson Arboleda discusses healthy ways to strengthen the young singer's voice when singing pop-rock.
Much has been written concerning the function of the vocal folds. This article speaks to the function of the vocal fold cells, an aspect about which little has been written.
Vocal fold hypomobility can result from a myriad of disorders of nerves, muscles, or cricoarytenoid joint function. Vocal fold hypomobility may manifest with symptoms that range from breathiness, vocal fatigue, and decreased range to aphonia, aspiration, and shortness of breath.
McCoy's training as a choral conductor and his acknowledged status as scholar of voice pedagogy make him the ideal person to negotiate the controversies surrounding the overlapping domains of technique in choral singing and technique in solo singing. This first installment in the series focuses on vibrato; high tessitura and vowels; and stamina in lengthy rehearsals. McCoy believes that choral directors and singing teachers can work together on the many issues this subject raises, noting that “we all have the ultimate goal of making beautiful music.”
Many medications prescribed commonly by otolaryngologists can cause negative psychiatric side effects. Serious drug interactions from the combination of some of these medications and other psychiatric medications can also occur and are potentially fatal.
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