Articles| Volume 15, ISSUE 4, P543-552, December 2001

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Laryngostroboscopic, Acoustic, and Environmental Characteristics of High-Risk Vocal Performers


      Vocal performance often requires excessively high vocal demand. In particular “high-risk” performers, a group of individuals who use their voices at their maximum effort level, are often exposed to unique vocal abuse characteristics which include high environmental and performance demands and inconsistencies of cast performance. Three categories of high-risk performers were studied: musical theater, choral ensemble, and street theater. Musical theater performers produce a Broadway, West End “belting” style voice. Street theater performers use a high-energy pitch varying dialogue in order to imitate a desired character voice. Choral ensemble performance requires group cohesion and blending of four-part harmony. The melodies require sustained vocal durations within each of the respective registers. For each of these studied groups vocal tasks of sustained production of /i/ and /a/ were subjected to analysis. Acoustic measures included fundamental frequency, standard deviation of fundamental frequency, jitter percent, shimmer percent, and noise-to-harmonic ratio. Laryngostroboscopic parameters were assessed during sustained /i/. Environmental acoustic sound field measurements were made using an A weighting and linear weighting sound pressure level. These weightings were used to describe noise levels and vocal output, respectively, within the performance environments. Results of the analysis suggest that high-risk performers are a unique performance type defined by distinctive, acoustic, laryngostroboscopic, and environmental characteristics.


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