Perceptual and acoustic study of professionally trained versus untrained voices

W S Brown, H B Rothman, C M Sapienza
Journal of Voice 2000, 14 (3): 301-9
Acoustic and perceptual analyses were completed to determine the effect of vocal training on professional singers when speaking and singing. Twenty professional singers and 20 nonsingers, acting as the control, were recorded while sustaining a vowel, reading a modified Rainbow Passage, and singing "America the Beautiful." Acoustic measures included fundamental frequency, duration, percent jitter, percent shimmer, noise-to-harmonic ratio, and determination of the presence or absence of both vibrato and the singer's formant. Results indicated that, whereas certain acoustic parameters differentiated singers from nonsingers within sex, no consistently significant trends were found across males and females for either speaking or singing. The most consistent differences were the presence or absence of the singer's vibrato and formant in the singers versus the nonsingers, respectively. Perceptual analysis indicated that singers could be correctly identified with greater frequency than by chance alone from their singing, but not their speaking utterances.

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