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On the Art of Singing$
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Richard Miller

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780195098259

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195098259.001.0001

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A Brief Spectral Study of Vowel Differentiation and Modification in a Professional Tenor Voice

A Brief Spectral Study of Vowel Differentiation and Modification in a Professional Tenor Voice

Chapter:
93 A Brief Spectral Study of Vowel Differentiation and Modification in a Professional Tenor Voice
Source:
On the Art of Singing
Author(s):

Richard Miller

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195098259.003.0093

This chapter examines vowel differentiation and modification in a professional tenor voice using a spectrograph. Spectral analysis supplies information regarding technical maneuvers during singing. What the ear can hear, the eye then simultaneously verifies. Comparative studies of phonations can provide clues to common practices among singers of similar vocal category, and can point out individual differences that contribute to the unique characteristic of each singing voice. This study considers phonations from Benjamin Britten's Sonnets of Michelangelo, sung in the original Italian. Spectral analysis confirms what the practical pedagogical ear discerns: in a male voice, vowel modification is possible for registration purposes in upper range, so as to maintain desirable harmonic balance in a mounting scale without destroying vowel integrity. This is in accordance with vocal pedagogy based on the Italian School model.

Keywords:   vowel differentiation, vowel modification, tenor, spectral analysis, singing, phonation, singing voice, Benjamin Britten, Sonnets of Michelangelo, male voice

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