A comparative analysis of the singer’s formant cluster

Van Der Linde, Byron-Mahieu (2013-12)

Thesis (MMus)-- Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: It is widely accepted that the singer’s formant cluster (Fs) – perceptual correlates being twang and ring, and pedagogically referred to as head resonance – is the defining trait of a classically trained voice. Research has shown that the spectral energy a singer harnesses in the Fs region can be measured quantitatively using spectral indicators Short-Term Energy Ratio (STER) and Singing Power Ratio (SPR). STER is a modified version of the standard measurement tool Energy Ratio (ER) that repudiates dependency on the Long-Term Average Spectrum (LTAS). Previous studies have shown that professional singers produce more Fs spectral energy when singing in ensemble mode than in solo mode; however for amateur singers, the opposite trend was noticed. Little empirical evidence in this regard is available concerning undergraduate vocal performance majors. This study was aimed at investigating the resonance tendencies of individuals from the latter target group, as evidenced when singing in two performance modes: ensemble and solo. Eight voice students (two per SATB voice part) were selected to participate. Subjects were recorded singing their parts individually, as well as in full ensemble. By mixing the solo recordings together, comparisons of the spectral content could be drawn between the solo and ensemble performance modes. Samples (n=4) were extracted from each piece for spectral analyses. STER and SPR means were highly proportional for both pieces. Results indicate that the singers produce significantly higher levels of spectral energy in the Fs region in ensemble mode than in solo mode for one piece (p<0.05), whereas findings for the other piece were insignificant. The findings of this study could inform the pedagogical approach to voice-training, and provides empirical bases for discussions about voice students’ participation in ensemble ventures.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Dit word algemeen aanvaar dat die singer’s formant cluster (Fs) – die perseptuele korrelate is die Engelse “twang” en “ring”, en waarna daar in die pedagogie verwys word as kopresonansie – die bepalende eienskap is van ’n Klassiek-opgeleide stem. Navorsing dui daarop dat die spektrale energie wat ’n sanger in die Fs omgewing inspan kwantitatief gemeet kan word deur die gebruik van Short-Term Energy Ratio (STER) en Singing Power Ratio (SPR) as spektrale aanwysers. STER is ’n gewysigde weergawe van die standaard maatstaf vir energie in die Fs, naamlik Energy Ratio (ER), wat afhanklikheid van die Long-Term Average Spectrum (LTAS) verwerp. Vorige studies het getoon dat professionele sangers meer Fs energie produseer in ensemble konteks as in solo konteks, in teenstelling met amateur sangers waar die teenoorgestelde die norm is. Min empiriese data in hierdie verband is beskikbaar, m.b.t. voorgraadse uitvoerende sangstudente. Hierdie studie is daarop gemik om die tendense in resonansie by individue uit die laasgenoemde groep te ondersoek, soos dit blyk in die twee uitvoerende kontekste: ensemble en solo. Agt sangstudente (twee per SATB stemgroep) is geselekteer om aan die studie deel te neem. Die deelnemers het hul stempartye individueel en in volle ensemble gesing, en is by beide geleenthede opgeneem. Deur die soloopnames te meng, kon vergelykings van die spektrale inhoud gemaak word tussen die solo en ensemble konteks. ’n Steekproef (n=4) is uit elke stuk onttrek vir spektrale analise. Die STER en SPR gemiddeldes was eweredig vir beide stukke. Resultate toon dat die sangers beduidend hoër vlakke van spektrale energie in die Fs omgewing produseer in ensemble konteks as in solo konteks vir een stuk (p<0.05), terwyl die bevindinge vir die tweede stuk nie beduidend was nie. Die bevindinge van hierdie studie kan belangrik wees vir die pedagogiese benadering tot stemopleiding, en lewer empiriese basis vir gesprekke oor die betrokkenheid van sangstudente in die ensemble bedryf.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/85563
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