Effects on vocal range and voice quality of singing voice training: the classically trained female voice

Peter Pabon, Rob Stallinga, Maria Södersten, Sten Ternström
Journal of Voice: Official Journal of the Voice Foundation 2014, 28 (1): 36-51

OBJECTIVES: A longitudinal study was performed on the acoustical effects of singing voice training under a given study program, using the voice range profile (VRP).

STUDY DESIGN: Pretraining and posttraining recordings were made of students who participated in a 3-year bachelor singing study program. A questionnaire that included questions on optimal range, register use, classification, vocal health and hygiene, mixing technique, and training goals was used to rate and categorize self-assessed voice changes. Based on the responses, a subgroup of 10 classically trained female voices was selected, which was homogeneous enough for effects of training to be identified.

METHODS: The VRP perimeter contour was analyzed for effects of voice training. Also, a mapping within the VRP of voice quality, as expressed by the crest factor, was used to indicate the register boundaries and to monitor the acoustical consequences of the newly learned vocal technique of "mixed voice." VRPs were averaged across subjects. Findings were compared with the self-assessed vocal changes.

RESULTS: Pre/post comparison of the average VRPs showed, in the midrange, (1) a decrease in the VRP area that was associated with the loud chest voice, (2) a reduction of the crest factor values, and (3) a reduction of maximum sound pressure level values. The students' self-evaluations of the voice changes appeared in some cases to contradict the VRP findings.

CONCLUSIONS: VRPs of individual voices were seen to change over the course of a singing education. These changes were manifest also in the average group. High-resolution computerized recording, complemented with an acoustic register marker, allows a meaningful assessment of some effects of training, on an individual basis and for groups that comprise singers of a specific genre. It is argued that this kind of investigation is possible only within a focused training program, given by a faculty who has agreed on the goals.

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