Effects of melody and technique on acoustical and musical features of western operatic singing voices

Pauline Larrouy-Maestri, David Magis, Dominique Morsomme
Journal of Voice 2014, 28 (3): 332-40

OBJECTIVE: The operatic singing technique is frequently used in classical music. Several acoustical parameters of this specific technique have been studied but how these parameters combine remains unclear. This study aims to further characterize the Western operatic singing technique by observing the effects of melody and technique on acoustical and musical parameters of the singing voice.

METHODS: Fifty professional singers performed two contrasting melodies (popular song and romantic melody) with two vocal techniques (with and without operatic singing technique). The common quality parameters (energy distribution, vibrato rate, and extent), perturbation parameters (standard deviation of the fundamental frequency, signal-to-noise ratio, jitter, and shimmer), and musical features (fundamental frequency of the starting note, average tempo, and sound pressure level) of the 200 sung performances were analyzed.

RESULTS: The results regarding the effect of melody and technique on the acoustical and musical parameters show that the choice of melody had a limited impact on the parameters observed, whereas a particular vocal profile appeared depending on the vocal technique used.

CONCLUSIONS: This study confirms that vocal technique affects most of the parameters examined. In addition, the observation of quality, perturbation, and musical parameters contributes to a better understanding of the Western operatic singing technique.

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