Purohit, in the Indian religious context (Hindu), means priest. Purohits are professional voice users who use their voice while performing regular worships and rituals in temples and homes. Any deviations in their voice can have an impact on their profession. Hence, there is a need to investigate the voice characteristics of purohits using perceptual and acoustic analyses.
A total of 44 men in the age range of 18–30 years were divided into two groups. Group 1 consisted of purohits who were trained since childhood (n = 22) in the traditional gurukul system. Group 2 (n = 22) consisted of normal controls. Phonation and spontaneous speech samples were obtained from all the participants at a comfortable pitch and loudness. The Praat software (Version 5.3.31) and the Speech tool were used to analyze the traditional acoustic and cepstral parameters, respectively, whereas GRBAS was used to perceptually evaluate the voice.
Results of the independent t test revealed no significant differences across the groups for perceptual and traditional acoustic measures except for intensity, which was significantly higher in purohits' voices at P < 0.05. However, the cepstral values (cepstral peak prominence and smoothened cepstral peak prominence) were much higher in purohits than in controls at P < 0.05
Results revealed that purohits did not exhibit vocal deviations as analyzed through perceptual and acoustic parameters. In contrast, cepstral measures were higher in Indian Hindu purohits in comparison with normal controls, suggestive of a higher degree of harmonic organization in purohits. Further studies are required to analyze the physiological correlates of increased cepstral measures in purohits' voices.
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Published online: May 17, 2018
Accepted: March 1, 2018
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