Voice source characteristics of Child singers

Christopher Barlow, Ann-Christine Mecke

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Published conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

The authors have undertaken a number of studies of the vocal characteristics of child and adolescent singers, including 'classically' trained and 'musical theatre' voices, and have recorded voice samples of spoken and sung voices of over 250 young trained and untrained singers using acoustic and electrolaryngographic measures. The data was analysed to examine the voice source of the subjects and to assess correlations between the parameters gender and training and the voice measurements.

This paper summarizes the results of three studies and relates them to other studies by the authors and other researchers on the voices of children and young people to give vocal practitioners and researchers an improved understanding of the young voice. These studies significantly add to the understanding of the voices of child and adolescent singers.

Study 1 involved recording the acoustic output and EGG (laryngographic) data from a large number of classically trained boys and girls from cathedral choirschools and specialist music schools in the UK. Subjects were recorded singing and speaking. Long term average spectra was used to assess characteristics of acoustic output, while the EGG waveform was used to estimate Closed Phase measurements of the voice source. Study 2 assessed voices of subjects training for musical theatre in stage school organisations in the UK and USA. Voices were recorded using acoustic and EGG means, and the EGG signal was used to derive the Closed Phase.

In the third study examined here, Glottal airflow was recorded under control of subglottal pressure. Inverse filtering was used to detect formant values. Closed phase and alternating airflow were measured in the inverse filtered signal.

Results from the three studies were strongly correlated. Study 1 found shorter Closed Phase for boys than girls for unchanged voices. It also found changes in Closed Phase measures for both boys and girls over the pubertal voice change, with a decrease in Closed Phase with development for girls, and an increase in Closed Phase with development for Boys. Non-significant differences in the relationship between Closed Phase and Fundamental Frequency (F0) were also observed as a function of training in both sexes.

Study 2 used a similar method and found similar patterns to study 1 in the patterns of closed phase vs F0 in male and female groups. Significant differences in closed phase measures were also observed between the two genres, with a significantly raised closed phase duration for the Musical Theatre singers.

Study 3 used a different methodology to derive closed phase and related the voice source characteristics to subglottal pressure. Again, a shorter closed phase for boys voices compared with girls was found. The study also found a significant higher alternating airflow amplitude for boys.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of Choice for Voice - British Voice Association Conference
PublisherBritish Voice Association
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010

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Barlow, C., & Mecke, A-C. (2010). Voice source characteristics of Child singers. In Proceedings of Choice for Voice - British Voice Association Conference British Voice Association.
Barlow, Christopher ; Mecke, Ann-Christine. / Voice source characteristics of Child singers. Proceedings of Choice for Voice - British Voice Association Conference. British Voice Association, 2010.
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Barlow, C & Mecke, A-C 2010, Voice source characteristics of Child singers. in Proceedings of Choice for Voice - British Voice Association Conference. British Voice Association.

Voice source characteristics of Child singers. / Barlow, Christopher; Mecke, Ann-Christine.

Proceedings of Choice for Voice - British Voice Association Conference. British Voice Association, 2010.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Published conference proceedingConference contribution

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AU - Mecke, Ann-Christine

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AB - The authors have undertaken a number of studies of the vocal characteristics of child and adolescent singers, including 'classically' trained and 'musical theatre' voices, and have recorded voice samples of spoken and sung voices of over 250 young trained and untrained singers using acoustic and electrolaryngographic measures. The data was analysed to examine the voice source of the subjects and to assess correlations between the parameters gender and training and the voice measurements. This paper summarizes the results of three studies and relates them to other studies by the authors and other researchers on the voices of children and young people to give vocal practitioners and researchers an improved understanding of the young voice. These studies significantly add to the understanding of the voices of child and adolescent singers. Study 1 involved recording the acoustic output and EGG (laryngographic) data from a large number of classically trained boys and girls from cathedral choirschools and specialist music schools in the UK. Subjects were recorded singing and speaking. Long term average spectra was used to assess characteristics of acoustic output, while the EGG waveform was used to estimate Closed Phase measurements of the voice source. Study 2 assessed voices of subjects training for musical theatre in stage school organisations in the UK and USA. Voices were recorded using acoustic and EGG means, and the EGG signal was used to derive the Closed Phase. In the third study examined here, Glottal airflow was recorded under control of subglottal pressure. Inverse filtering was used to detect formant values. Closed phase and alternating airflow were measured in the inverse filtered signal. Results from the three studies were strongly correlated. Study 1 found shorter Closed Phase for boys than girls for unchanged voices. It also found changes in Closed Phase measures for both boys and girls over the pubertal voice change, with a decrease in Closed Phase with development for girls, and an increase in Closed Phase with development for Boys. Non-significant differences in the relationship between Closed Phase and Fundamental Frequency (F0) were also observed as a function of training in both sexes. Study 2 used a similar method and found similar patterns to study 1 in the patterns of closed phase vs F0 in male and female groups. Significant differences in closed phase measures were also observed between the two genres, with a significantly raised closed phase duration for the Musical Theatre singers. Study 3 used a different methodology to derive closed phase and related the voice source characteristics to subglottal pressure. Again, a shorter closed phase for boys voices compared with girls was found. The study also found a significant higher alternating airflow amplitude for boys.

M3 - Conference contribution

BT - Proceedings of Choice for Voice - British Voice Association Conference

PB - British Voice Association

ER -

Barlow C, Mecke A-C. Voice source characteristics of Child singers. In Proceedings of Choice for Voice - British Voice Association Conference. British Voice Association. 2010