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Vocal Registers: . Stephen F. Austin, M.M., Ph.D. Associate Professor of Voice University of North Texas. Vocal Registers… OMG!. Literature is very confusing: little agreement Some historical pedagogical literature offers a practical guide Written before registers were understood

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vocal registers

Vocal Registers:

Stephen F. Austin, M.M., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Voice

University of North Texas

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

vocal registers omg
Vocal Registers… OMG!
  • Literature is very confusing: little agreement
  • Some historical pedagogical literature offers a practical guide
    • Written before registers were understood
  • Some voice science literature offers a simplification to this complex subject

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

vocal register 2 views
Vocal Register: 2 views
  • Source: produced at the level of the larynx and respiratory system
  • Filter: produced by changes in the resonance characteristics of the vocal tract:
    • formants interacting with the partials from the larynx
  • A combination of both the above!

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

the larynx
The larynx:

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

the larynx1
The larynx:

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

source vennard heavy mechanism
Source: Vennard - ‘Heavy Mechanism’

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

source vennard heavy mechanism1
Source: Vennard - ‘Heavy Mechanism’

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

source vennard light mechanism
Source: Vennard - ‘Light Mechanism’

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

register is defined by
Register is defined by:

Slope #1: medial margin of the vocal folds

What determines this difference?

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

intrinsic musculature
Intrinsic musculature

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

electromyography
Electromyography

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

slide12
Minoru Hirano “Regulation of Register, Pitch and Intensity of Voice”. Folia Phoniatrica, Vol. 22, Pp. 1-20, 1970.

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

slide13
Minoru Hirano “Vocal Mechanisms in Singing: Laryngological and Phoniatric Aspects”. Journal of Voice, Vol. 2, No. 1, Pp. 51-69. 1988.

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

titze modal falsetto
Titze: Modal & Falsetto

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

register is characterized by
Register is characterized by:

Slope #2: the glottal flow pulse

Result of configuration of the vocal folds

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

sundberg flow glottograms
Sundberg: Flow glottograms

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

register is characterized by1
Register is characterized by:

Slope #3: EGG waveform

Result of configuration of the vocal folds

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

mccoy electroglottogram
McCoy: Electroglottogram

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

closed quotient
Closed Quotient
  • Heavy mech. = .5 or greater
  • Light mech. = below .5
  • Square folds stay closed longer
  • Longer CQs have more harmonic energy

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

slide20

How does this information helps us in the studio?

(can it?)

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

historical approach
Historical approach:
  • Scientific observations were predicted in long-established pedagogical principles:
    • Decades of ‘trial and error’ application and observation
    • The true ‘scientific method’

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

slide22

Manuel Garcia II A Complete Treatise on the Art of Singing: Part On. The editions of 1841 and 1872 collated, edited, and translated by Donald V. Paschke. New York: Da Capo Press. Pg. xli, 1967.

“By the word register we understand a series of consecutive and homogenous tones going from low to high, produced by the development of the same mechanical principle, and whose nature differs essentially from another series of tones equally consecutive and homogenous produced by another mechanical principle.”

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

slide23

Manuel Garcia II A Complete Treatise on the Art of Singing: Part One. The editions of 1841 and 1872 collated, edited, and translated by Donald V. Paschke. New York: Da Capo Press. Pg. xli, 1967.

(cont.)

“All the tones belonging to the same register are consequently of the same nature, whatever may be the modification of timbre or of force to which one subjects them.”

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

ingo titze principles of voice production prentice hall englewood cliffs new jersey pg 262 1994
Ingo Titze Principles of Voice Production. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, Pg. 262, 1994.

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

slide25

Giambattista Mancini Practical Reflections on Figured Singing. Editions of 1774 & 1776 compared, translated and edited by Edward V. Foreman, Pro Music Press, Minneapolis. Pg. 20, 1967.

“This chest voice is not equally forceful and strong in everyone; but to the extent that one has a more robust or more feeble organ of the chest, he will have a more or less robust voice.”

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

slide26

Giambattista Mancini Practical Reflections on Figured Singing. Editions of 1774 & 1776 compared, translated and edited by Edward V. Foreman, Pro Music Press, Minneapolis. Pg. 34, 1967.

“A sonorous body, or rather robustness of voice is ordinarily a gift from nature, but can also be acquired by study and art.”

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

we can reshape the folds
We can ‘reshape’ the folds:
  • Vocalis is skeletal muscle
  • Responds to exercise
  • Grows in strength

AND in mass!

  • Squares the vocal folds
  • Profoundly affects the timbre of tone

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

slide28

Giambattista Mancini Practical Reflections on Figured Singing. Editions of 1774 & 1776 compared, translated and edited by Edward V. Foreman, Pro Music Press, Minneapolis. Pg. 35, 1967.

“It remains for me now to speak of those voices which are slender and weak throughout their register . . . One observes that these voices are very weak in the chest notes, and the greater majority deprived of any low notes. . .”

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

slide29

Giambattista Mancini Practical Reflections on Figured Singing. Editions of 1774 & 1776 compared, translated and edited by Edward V. Foreman, Pro Music Press, Minneapolis. Pg. 35, 1967.

“There is not method more sure to obtain this end, I believe, than to have such a little voice sing only in the chest voice for a time. The exercise should be done with a tranquil solfeggio; and as the voice enriches itself with greater body, and range, one may blend it as much as possible with the low notes.”

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

william vennard developing voices carl fischer new york new york 1973
William Vennard Developing Voices. Carl Fischer, New York, New York, 1973.

“During her studies she frequently asked for help with her high tones, which did improve during the work. More freedom and modification of the brighter vowels helped the top voice, but what she needed most was to develop the chest voice and blend it into her singing so that it would be usable.”

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

richard miller structure of singing schirmer books new york new york pg 136 137 1986
Richard Miller Structure of Singing. Schirmer Books, New York, New York. Pg. 136-137, 1986.

“Chest mixture will strengthen the soprano’s lower - middle range. Almost every female can make some chest timbre sounds, no matter how insecure, in the lowest part of her range. These notes should be sung in short, intervallic patterns, transposing by half steps upward, as more sound emerges.”

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

ingo titze principles of voice production prentice hall englewood cliffs new jersey pg 261 1994
Ingo TitzePrinciples of Voice Production. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, Pg. 261, 1994.

“As the bottom of the vocal fold bulges out, the glottis becomes more rectangular than wedge-shaped (convergent). During vibration, then, glottal closure can be obtained over a greater portion of the vocal fold, and thereby over a greater portion of the cycle…The result is a voice of richer timbre, which we call chest or modal voice.”

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

voice building
Voice Building!

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

filter
Filter

Partials interacting with formants:

Don Miller – ‘Register Violation’

2nd partial in F1

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

filter1
Filter

Don Miller – ‘Head Voice’

3rd partial in F2

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

miller head voice
Miller: Head Voice

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

head voice
Head Voice?
  • Is there a change in the laryngeal mechanism?
  • Results from a change in resonance effect:
    • Perceptual vs functional
    • Formants interacting with partials
    • Specifically 3rd partial lined up with F2
    • Requires a strong source spectrum:
      • Characteristic of the ‘Chest Voice’
      • Historically called the ‘Do Di Petto’!

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

sustained tones in the chest
Sustained tones in the chest

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

william vennard singing the mechanism and the technique carl fischer new york pg 214 1967
William Vennard Singing: The Mechanism and the Technique. Carl Fischer, New York. Pg 214. 1967.

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

william vennard singing the mechanism and the technique carl fischer new york pg 155 1967
William Vennard Singing: The Mechanism and the Technique. Carl Fischer, New York. Pg 155. 1967.

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

welcoming in the chest
‘Welcoming in the chest’

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

imposing the chest
“Imposing the chest’

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

imposing the chest ii
‘Imposing the chest – II’

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011

deference to the head
‘Deference to the head’

The Vocal Pedagogy Workshop 2011