Acoustic comparison of voice use in solo and choir singing

T D Rossing, J Sundberg, S Ternström
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 1986, 79 (6): 1975-81
An experiment was carried out in which eight bass/baritone singers were recorded while singing in both choral and solo modes. Together with their own voice, they heard the sound of the rest of the choir and a piano accompaniment, respectively. The recordings were analyzed in several ways, including computation of long-time-average spectra for each passage, analysis of the sound levels in the frequency ranges corresponding to the fundamental and the "singer's formant," and a comparison of the sung levels with the levels heard by the singers. Matching pairs of vowels in the two modes were inverse filtered to determine the voice source spectra and formant frequencies for comparison. Differences in both phonation and articulation between the two modes were observed. Subjects generally sang with more power in the singer's formant region in the solo mode and with more power in the fundamental region in the choral mode. Most singers used a reduced frequency distance between the third and fifth formants for increasing the power in the singer's formant range, while the difference in the fundamental was mostly a voice source effect. In a choral singing mode, subjects usually adjusted their voice levels to the levels they heard from the other singers, whereas in a solo singing mode the level sung depended much less on the level of an accompaniment.

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