Vocal vibrato is a singing technique that involves periodic modulation of fundamental frequency (fo) and intensity. The physiological sources of modulation within the speech mechanism and the interactions between the laryngeal source and vocal tract filter in vibrato are not fully understood. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine if differences in the rate and extent of fo and intensity modulation could be captured using simultaneously recorded signals from a neck-surface vibration sensor and a microphone, which represent features of the source before and after supraglottal vocal tract filtering.
Nine classically-trained singers produced sustained vowels with vibrato while simultaneous signals were recorded using a vibration sensor and a microphone. Acoustical analyses were performed to measure the rate and extent of fo and intensity modulation for each trial. Paired-samples sign tests were used to analyze differences between the rate and extent of fo and intensity modulation in the vibration sensor and microphone signals.
The rate and extent of fo modulation and the extent of intensity modulation were equivalent in the vibration sensor and microphone signals, but the rate of intensity modulation was significantly higher in the microphone signal than in the vibration sensor signal. Larger differences in the rate of intensity modulation were seen with vowels that typically have smaller differences between the first and second formant frequencies.
This study demonstrated that the rate of intensity modulation at the source prior to supraglottal vocal tract filtering, as measured in neck-surface vibration sensor signals, was lower than the rate of intensity modulation after supraglottal vocal tract filtering, as measured in microphone signals. The difference in rate varied based on the vowel. These findings provide further support of the resonance-harmonics interaction in vocal vibrato. Further investigation is warranted to determine if differences in the physiological source(s) of vibrato account for inconsistent relationships between the extent of intensity modulation in neck-surface vibration sensor and microphone signals.
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Published online: October 11, 2021
Accepted: August 23, 2021
Publication stageIn Press Corrected Proof
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