Acoustic and phonatory characterization of the Fado voice

Ana P Mendes, Aira F Rodrigues, David Michael Guerreiro
Journal of Voice 2013, 27 (5): 655.e9-655.e15
Fado is a Portuguese musical genre, instrumentally accompanied by a Portuguese and an acoustic guitar. Fado singers' voice is perceptually characterized by a low pitch, hoarse, and strained voice. The present research study sketches the acoustic and phonatory profile of the Fado singers' voice. Fifteen Fado singers produced spoken and sung phonatory tasks. For the spoken voice measures, the maximum phonation time and s/z ratio of Fado singers were near the inefficient physiological threshold. Fundamental frequency was higher than that found in nonsingers and lower than that found in Western Classical singers. Jitter and shimmer mean values were higher compared with nonsingers. Harmonic-to-noise ratio (HNR) was similar to the mean values for nonsingers. For the sung voice, jitter was higher compared with Country, Musical Theater, Soul, Jazz, and Western Classical singers and lower than Pop singers. Shimmer mean values were lower than Country, Musical Theater, Pop, Soul, and Jazz singers and higher than Western Classical singers. HNR was similar for Western Classical singers. Maximum phonational frequency range of Fado singers indicated that male and female subjects had a lower range compared with Western Classical singers. Additionally, Fado singers produced vibrato, but singer's formant was rarely produced. These sung voice characteristics could be related with life habits, less/lack of singing training, or could be just a Fado voice characteristic.

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