Acoustical analysis of the underlying voice differences between two groups of professional singers: opera and country and western

P Burns
Laryngoscope 1986, 96 (5): 549-54
An acoustical analysis of the speaking and singing voices of two types of professional singers was conducted. The vowels /i/, /a/, and /o/ were spoken and sung ten times each by seven opera and seven country and western singers. Vowel spectra were derived by computer software techniques allowing quantitative assessment of formant structure (F1-F4), relative amplitude of resonance peaks (F1-F4), fundamental frequency, and harmonic high frequency energy. Formant analysis was the most effective parameter differentiating the two groups. Only opera singers lowered their fourth formant creating a wide-band resonance area (approximately 2,800 Hz) corresponding to the well-known "singing formant." Country and western singers revealed similar resonatory voice characteristics for both spoken and sung output. These results implicate faulty vocal technique in country and western singers as a contributory reason for vocal abuse/fatigue.

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