An acoustic comparison of voice use in solo and choir singing in undergraduate and graduate student singers

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Carter, Brian Barker, 1970-

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Numerous studies have been made looking at the differences in the resonance of choral and solo singing modes. None of these studies, however, have taken into account the particular challenges of a great majority of choral singers: undergraduate and graduate students. An experiment designed to remedy this situation was carried out in which nine baritones and bass-baritones were recording while singing in both solo and choral modes. The singers were divided in to three groups of three singers each, with each group representing a grade-achievement level: undergraduate underclassmen, undergraduate upperclassmen, and graduate students. Singers sang three examples of choral music and two examples of solo music. All the examples were sung in each of four different conditions. The recordings were analyzed in several different ways including spectrogram, formant mapping, long-term average spectrogram, and energy contour. The relative strengths of the fundamental frequency peak and the singer's formant peak were calculated. Results showed that the amount of change in the relative strength of the fundamental frequency between solo and choral modes became greater as the age and experience of the singer increased. Conversely, the amount of change in the relative strength of the singer's formant peak between the two modes dramatically decreased as the age and experience level of the singer increased. The ramifications of these findings on university choral and solo voice programs are discussed.




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