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Vocal Registers of the Countertenor Voice: Based on Signals Recorded and Analyzed in VoceVista

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Vocal Registers of the Countertenor Voice: Based on Signals Recorded and Analyzed in VoceVista
Ray Chenez, D.M.

Instructor of Voice

University of Alabama

To date, our understanding of the registers of the countertenor voice has been limited. The findings of this study indicate that today’s countertenors make register transitions similar to those of the mezzo-soprano. The primary register transition from the chest to middle register ranges from pitches B3 to E4, and is primarily characterized by a decrease in closed quotient. An audibly smooth transition corresponds with a gradual and slight adjustment in CQ, rather than a drastic change. The transition from the middle to the upper register takes place in the range of pitches between C#5 and E5, and is characterized by both an increase in closed quotient and a shift in the relative amplitudes of the first and second harmonic (H1 and H2).

The data in this study was obtained from established and emerging professional countertenors in North America. Audio and electroglottograph signals were recorded using a standard protocol primarily consisting of scales and arpeggios on open vowels. The recordings were made without musical accompaniment.

Vocal Convergence
Daniel Ihasz, MM

Professor of Vocal Studies

State University of New York

School of Music

Fredonia, New York

Increasingly, voice teachers are called upon to teach different genres and vocal techniques including art song, opera , musical theater, etc…… Though we employ the same anatomy and physiology is there a practical common ground where these varying techniques intersect? Can the study of CCM techniques benefit or inform traditional Classical techniques and vice versa?

This proposal is to investigate two very distinct vocal techniques; CCM and Classical to determine the similarities or where the two techniques meet rather than where they differ. For example what are the similarities of using chest voice, belt, belt mix and voce mista? Utilizing spectrogram, power spectrum and egg, measurements will be made comparing a group of singers trained in both techniques performing samples from each respective genre.

Memory, Hither Come: Using Open Source Course Management Systems to

Aid Memory Consolidation
Lynn Helding MM, Cert. in Vocology

Associate Professor of Music/Voice

Director of Performance Studies

Department of Music, Dickinson College

Carlisle, PA

In a 1998 essay entitled, “The Singing Teacher in the Age of Voice Science,” the great American pedagogue Richard Miller asked the question: “What should a responsible voice teacher be teaching in a scientific age?” Miller’s answer was characteristic of his high standards:

“We owe it to our students to be able to take advantage not only of everything that was known 200 years ago, but also of everything that is known today.”I Now we are in the midst of a new age, that of the aptly named “Cognitive Revolution.” In the same spirit that caused Miller to assert: “it is the responsibility of the voice teacher in a scientific age to interpret and expand the vocal traditions through the means of current analysis”ii, I propose that significant additions to the “current analysis” system must include the neuro- and cognitive sciences, not to replace discoveries in voice science, but rather, to amplify discoveries in voice science. I have presented at two previous PAS symposia,iii as well as at the previous two national NATS conferences, in which I gave broad overviews of recent research in the neuro- and cognitive sciences.iv
For PAS/6, I propose a presentation that will focus on a critical and dynamic component of learning, memory consolidation, wherein learners’ impressions are transferred from short-term to long-term memory and thus, learned. The biological substrates of this cognitive process is receiving much scrutiny in current neuro- and cognitive science research.
Through the support of a year-long “Willoughby Fellowship/Teaching with Technology” grant at my institution (2009-2010), I have developed specific learning methods to aid the memory consolidation process in the voice studio using the Open Source Course Management System (CMS) “Moodle,” also known as a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Although I only briefly mentioned this application in my most recent

presentation, it generated a lot of interest among singers and teachers at the NATS conference, so I am also planning a future “Mindful Voice” column in JOS on this topic.

i Richard Miller in Vocal Health and Pedagogy, Robert Sataloff, ed. (San Diego: Singular

Publishing, 1998): 297-300.

ii Ibid., 300.
iii Lynn Helding, PAS presentation:The Theory of Multiple Intelligences: Toward a Rapprochement

between Science and Art in Vocal Pedagogy, The Third International Physiology and Acoustics of

Singing Conference, York, England, May 12, 2006. Lynn Helding, PAS Poster Paper: The

Triumvirate of Motor Learning: Talent, Training and Practice, The Fourth International Physiology

and Acoustics of Singing Conference, San Antonio TX, Jan 7-10, 2009.
iv Lynn Helding, presentation: Mindful Voice: Ten Tenets from the Cognitive Revolution, NATS

51st National Conference: July 4, 2010, Salt Lake City, Utah. Lynn Helding, presentation:

Mindful Voice: The Singing Teacher in the Age of the Cognitive Revolution, NATS 52nd National

Conference: July 1, 2012, Orlando, FL.



Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method: An Overview
Jeannette LoVetri

Director, The Voice Workshop

New York, NY

This paper will present the basic elements of Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method and its application to vocal technique.

Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method is a body-based approach to teaching Contemporary Commercial Music• styles. It is based in voice science and vocal health and is designed to increase a singer’s auditory and kinesthetic awareness while producing vocal sound. It works to release, align and balance the vocal and physical systems and to free the vocalist to express deep and authentic emotion through music. It promotes uniqueness of tone and personal satisfaction in the singer. It is clear in its premises but flexible in its application.
Somatic Voicework™ is taught at four universities in three different departments. It is taught at Shenandoah Conservatory in the music department, at the University of Massachusetts in the Department of Jazz Studies, at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in the Department of Jazz Studies, and at the University of Central Oklahoma. It has been affiliated with four world-recognized otolaryngologists: Dr. James Burns of Massachusetts, Dr. Gwen Korovin and Dr. Peak Woo of New York City, and Dr. Norman Hogikyan of Michigan and has also been affiliated with two Speech Language Pathologists with expertise in the professional voice, Dr. Christopher Watts of Texas and Dr. Wendy DeLeo LeBorgne of Cincinnati. More than 600 people from 38 states and 11 foreign countries have graduated from at least one of the three levels of Somatic Voicework™.
*Those styles previously called “non-classical” including music theater, jazz, rock, pop, Gospel, R&B, country, folk, rap and others

Semitone Tuning in Vocal Performance
(1) Johanna Devaney, PhD

(2) Jason Hockman

(3) Jonathan Wild

(4) Peter Schubert

(5) Ichiro Fujinaga
(1) Center for University of California, Berkeley;

(2–5) CIRMMT, Schulich School of Music, McGill University

In earlier work, we studied six professional and six non-professional singers’ performances of Schubert’s “Ave Maria”, both a cappella and with accompaniment. We observed a significant effect in both groups for intervallic direction of semitones; on average the singers’ descending intervals were 7–8 cents smaller than their ascending intervals. In the non-professional group, we also observed significant effects for the presence of accompaniment and for leadingtone motion. In this group, the singers’ semitones in their accompanied

performances were 3 cents larger on average than in their a cappella performances and their semitones between leading-tone and tonic were 10 cents smaller on average than their other semitones.

In this follow-up experiment, we consider the effect of accompaniment, de-tuning, and harmonic context on singing of semitones in a set of simple two-part exercises, shown in Figure 1. As with the earlier experiment, our subject pool includes both professional and non-professional singers. The subjects are asked to

sing the upper line, which is the same simple semitone pattern for all of the exercises, against a recorded version of the lower line. The lower line was retuned using pitch correction software to two different starting pitches (a major second above and below the original pitch) and three different tuning conditions. The

three tuning conditions are equal temperament, Just Intonation, and a modifiedversion of Just Intonation tuning with certain notes raised or lowered by one or two syntonic commas (22.5 or 45 cents, respectively). In the modified Just Intonation version, melodic intervals are inflected in a counter-intuitive direction

to provoke the subjects into making a choice between acceptable melodic intervals or acceptable vertical intervals. The deviations from equal temperament in the Just Intonation and modified Just Intonation versions are shown Table 1. Overall, there are 6 versions of each of the 15 exercises presented to each subject, resulting in 90 measure-long exercises in total. The subjects are given a score of both parts, so

that they can see the notes in the lower line.
Preliminary analysis of a pilot singer’s performance of the exercises shows a significant effect for direction, similar to our earlier experiment. This singer’s descending intervals were 11 cents smaller on average than the ascending intervals. There were no significant differences between the means of the semitone sizes in different tuning conditions. There was, however, a greater amount of variation in semitone size when the subject sang against the modified Just Intonation version of the exercise than for the equal tempered or Just Intonation conditions.

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Figure 1: Two-part exercises used in the experiment.

Table 1: Tuning deviations in cents from equal temperament for the standard Just

Intonation tuning (left) and the Just Intonation tuning with syntonic comma inflections


Assessing Intonation: Perceptual Strategies – A New Approach
Deirdre D. Michael, Ph.D., CCC/SLP

Department of Otolaryngology, University of Minnesota

Minneapolis, MN
Marina Gilman MM, MA, CCC-SLP

Department of Otolaryngology Emory University

Speech-Language Pathology

The Emory Voice Center

Atlanta, GA
Tyler Raad BS

Graduate Assistant, North Dakota State University

Fargo, ND

It is no surprise to voice teachers judging voice competitions, or speech pathologists trying to agree on voice quality, that there is often little agreement, even among expert listeners. Studies by Wapnick and Ekholm (1997), and Kreiman and Gerratt (2007), for example, tried to determine why listeners often disagree on ratings of voice quality. In the Wapnick and Ekholm study some listeners were influenced by the execution of the sung samples, while others relied more on the intrinsic qualities to make their determination. Kreiman and Gerratt, in attempting to find a model for voice quality assessment, suggested “to the extent that listeners rely on individual acoustic dimensions when making quality judgments, their attention to a dimension appears to depend on access to the context of the entire voice pattern.” Yet, of all the terms that describe the singing voice, “pitch” should be the most objective, as it is the perceptual correlate of fundamental frequency, which can be measured objectively. By extension, ‘intonation’ should be a perceptual quality on which singing teachers can agree. A study by Michael, et al., presented at PAS 3, found wide disagreement among 10 expert singing teachers asked to rate 40 singers, each singing a 5-note scale up and down, for six characteristics of singing: intonation, effort/ease, focus/clarity of tone, resonance focus, vibrato, and overall quality. The intonation ratings on a 120 mm visual analog scale with the end-points marked “worst” (0 mm) and “best” (120 mm) had a spread of 60 mm to 80 mm on over half of the samples.

In a study presented at PAS 5, Michael and Gilman attempted to determine whether there were any perceptual strategies employed by the singing teachers that might explain the wide variation in intonation ratings. Pitch contour and stability, vibrato, and spectral characteristics were assessed to determine what acoustic characteristics might account for the widely disparate judgments of intonation. Singing samples with the best scores, the worse scores, and the most divergent scores were examined for pitch accuracy (cents), characteristics of vowel formants (LPC), long-term average spectrum, and relationship to other factors such as vibrato. From the samples analyzed it became clear that ratings of intonation are not well correlated with the actual accuracy of intonation in cents. It also appears that presence of vibrato is perceptually salient for some listeners and not for others. No clear patterns for spectral characteristics emerged, suggesting either that there may be other factors involved, or that the there were not enough samples analyzed to uncover a pattern.
The current study takes a different approach. The original voice samples were “tuned” by means of a pitch-correction software program, Melodyne, in common use in the music industry. Several strategies for tuning were employed: a) Tempered = every pitch tuned to 0 cents, that is, every pitch correct in equal temperament tuning; b) Corrected = Initial pitch maintained, every subsequent pitch 200 cents apart (or 100 cents for a half step)‬; c) Preserved = initial pitch tuned to 0 cents, then subsequent original intervals (cents) preserved‬. Figure 1 shows an example of the Melodyne screen for an untuned sample.

Figure 1. A sample of a sung scale, ready for “tuning” in Melodyne

In a pilot study, seven “tuned” samples were presented along with the Original (untuned) sample to three singing teachers. The listeners were once again asked to rate the samples for intonation, as well as the other 5 characteristics, on a 120 mm visual analog scale. Once again, the range of ratings for the Original sample was highly variable, with ranges from 7 mm to 70 mm. The range of ratings for the Preserved samples was slightly less, from 11 mm to 43 mm; the Corrected samples ranged from 10 mm to 51 mm; and the Tempered samples ranged from 4 mm to 51 mm. One-tailed T-Test comparison of the tuned ratings to the Original shows that the Preserved ratings were not different from the Original (p=0.15), but the Corrected and the Tempered were significantly different from the Original (0.03 and 0.02 respectively).
Even with only three listeners, varying strategies for assessing intonation were evident. For example, one listener had moderate correlations between intonation and four of the other characteristics, but a much stronger correlation between intonation and overall quality. Another listener had very high correlations between intonation and all other characteristics. The third listener had weak and variable correlations between intonation and the other five characteristics.
Further, in this pilot study, there was no pattern of preference for either of the tuning strategies. One listener rated the Tempered samples more highly than the others for the samples that originally had very low ratings or very divergent ratings, but this pattern did not hold for the samples that originally had high intonation ratings. The other listeners did not demonstrate patterns.
These preliminary results agree with previous findings that singing teachers use a variety of perceptual strategies in the assessment of intonation. It is also clear from these results that perception of intonation is influenced by other characteristics of voice or other unknown variables as indicated by several ratings for Tempered samples, which were in 20’s, 30’s, and even single digits for intonation (highest rating 120 mm). That is, samples that were, in fact, ‘perfectly in tune’ were rated as having very poor intonation. It would appear that “intonation” does not have a direct acoustic correlate that is universally shared by singing teachers.
The expanded study will use 20 samples in all four tunings, and 10 singing teachers as listeners to further explore the effects of tuning on ratings of intonation, and its potential use in determining perceptual strategies for assessing intonation. Implications for training teachers of singing will be explored in light of these findings. Attendees will have the opportunity to listen to, and rate, examples of original and tuned samples, and consider how voice scientists might shed new light on an age-old problem in the world of singing teachers.

1. Kreiman J, Gerratt BR, Ito M. When and why listeners disagree in voice quality assessment. J. Acoustic. Soc. Am. 2007;144(4):2354-2364.

2. Wapnick J, Ekholm E. Expert Consensus in solo performance evaluation. Journal of Voice. 1996;11(4):429-436.
WORKSHOP, No. 4 & 5
Live in Las Vegas! In-ear Headphone Conundrums and Solutions for Singers
Tod Fitzpatrick, DMA, Cert. in Vocology

Associate Professor of Music

Department of Music

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Silje-Marie Norderhaug

Professional Singer in Cirque de Soleil’s Mystère

The use of in-ear headphones is often a challenge to singers during live performance. Current theatrical productions increasingly require performers to be spread out across large distances in multi-leveled stage settings. As a result, musicians use electronic sound monitors (in-ears) to create a rhythmically and harmonically accurate ensemble. Unfortunately, the quality and proximity of the direct sound signal can hinder a singer’s ability to perform.
Several factors create an experience that is unlike performance in a purely acoustic, non-electronically amplified environment. Singers experience feedback that may be acoustically modified through the use of an equalization soundboard. As a result, some performers may try to adjust their singing in an attempt to generate the feedback vocal quality they desire. A technically detrimental vocal loop is then created that can significantly affect tuning, registration, breath and muscular synergy.
The workshop will explain how and why in-ear headphones are used, challenges associated with the device and several possible solutions to assist both the singer and sound technician.

Practical Science: Semi-occluded vocal tract exercise efficacy and the contemporary commercial music “belt” mode
Kimberly James DMA, Cert in Vocology

Associate Professor of Music

University of Montana

Research and clinical practice confirms that semi-occluded vocal tract (SOVT) exercises are beneficialtools for vocal habilitation and rehabilitation. Although clinicians have regularly used SOVT exercises inclinics and voice studios, only recently has the scientific community described the theoretic basis for SOVT exercise efficacy (Titze, 2006). Likewise, many singing voice teachers are uninformed of more recent developments in vocal source–resonator interactions and the (re)habilitation principles and tools associated with non-linear source-filter theory. This presentation and workshop seeks to bridge the gap between the science and current practices that utilize SOVT with particular focus on the contemporary commercial music (CCM) “belting” mode.

The presentation and subsequent workshop reaffirms the science and praxis behind recent

developments in SOVT training from the clinical/singing voice teacher perspective and expand from this solid base into the specifics of how SOVT training helps singers. It is important that scientists and practitioners are working together to disseminate practical science and effective methodologies that can be utilized and understood by a broad audience. Further, the presentation will describe how SOVT principles are currently being used in classical and commercial music voice studios, supported by quantitative measures (spectrograph analyses) and qualitative measures (perceptual analyses and surveys). The workshop portion focuses on simple flow resistance (coffee straw phonation) exercises and how they have been particularly useful in training the “belt” mode, an exciting and necessary thyroarytenoid-dominant vocal mode in the CCM genres yet traditionally perceived as dangerous from classical vocal pedagogues and practitioners. The issue raised by Gaskill and Quinney (2011) of transitioning from flow-resistant straw exercises to normal phonation is addressed. The presenter’s results point to beneficial changes at the level of the vocal folds, changes in supraglottal transmissions, and source-filter interactions (Vampola et al, 2011). The session closes with a discussion of potential future intersections of research and praxis for SOVT training for CCM specialists.

Gaskill, C. & Quinney, D. (2011). The Effect of Resonance Tubes on Glottal Content Quotient With and Without Task Instruction: A Comparison of Trained and Untrained Voices. Journal of Voice, Epub ahead of print, 1-15.
Nix, J. & Simpson, B. (2008). Semi-Occluded Vocal Tract Postures and Their Application in the

Singing Voice Studio. Journal of Singing, 2008, 339-342.

Sampaio, M., Oliveira, G., & Behlau, M. (2008). Investigacao de efeitos imediatos de dois

exerciÅLsios de trato vocal semi-ocluiÅLdo. Pró-Fono Revista de Atualização Científica, 20 (4), 261-267.

Titze, I. (2006). Voice Training and Therapy with a Semi-Occluded Vocal Tract: Rationale and

Scientific Underpinnings. Journal of Voice, 49, 448-459.

Vampola, T. Laukkanen, A., HoraÅL

ek, J. & Švec. J. (2011). Vocal tract changes caused by phonationinto a tube: A case study using computer tomography and finite-element modeling. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 129 (1), 310-315.

Implementing Arthur Lessac’s Body and Voice Work into the Stage, the Studio, and the Clinic.
Troy Clifford Dargin

University of Kansas Medical Center Department of Speech Language Hearing and Department of Music

Lawrence, KS

Learning how to breathe correctly and stand in a “perfect” posture is a desired outcome for any serious performer or clinician. Unfortunately, most people do not breathe or stand in the most efficient way. This in turn leads to not only breathing issues but acoustic issues as well. If a singer or actor is not using adequate breath support the tone is going to drop and the pitch will be flat or not as “in tune” as it could be with optimal breath support. Singers and Actors spend most of their career focusing on how to breathe correctly and most efficiently with a deep diaphragmatic breath that is both effortless and efficient. Performers oftentimes need to catch a very quick breath between phrases of their song or recitation. Clinicians also struggle with how to teach clients to breathe with a diaphragmatic breath in a series of short sessions. In this workshop we will look at the techniques of Arthur Lessac’s body and voice movement which will help the actor, the singer, and the clinician (who will eventually help patient’s) to breathe with a deep and diaphragmatic breath. The second part to the master class will be focused on the acoustic properties of the tone when breathing correctly. “The Call” is what Arthur Lessac termed his acoustically perfect sound. “The Call” was performed when attention was needed to be gained across a loud hall. “The Call” requires one to form their mouth is a certain position to take advantage of all the acoustical power from the vocal tract, which according to Arthur Lessac changes with each pitch. We will discuss how this relates to formants and will see this visually by use of a computer software program such as Voce Vista. This master class will encourage active participation of the members present.


Teaching Novices to Belt
Jeannette LoVetri

Director, The Voice Workshop

New York, NY

Many people are curious about the vocal quality called “belting”. Particularly for those who are trained in classical vocal pedagogy, this quality can be difficult to understand and use. This workshop will invite two individuals in the audience who have no experience belting to be demonstrators. The instructor will guide the demonstrators through vocal exercises leading to a belt vocal quality, additionally using this as an opportunity to present what is currently known in voice science research about how belting is produced. The instructor is a classically trained soprano who has always been able to belt and has over 40 years of experience teaching all styles of singing in New York City. There will be time for questions from the audience.

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