Advertisement

Voice Quality of Choir Singers and the Effect of a Performance on the Voice

Published:September 18, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2022.08.017

      Summary

      Background

      The voice use of choir singers is understudied despite the imbalance of high vocal demands versus low vocal education, and consequently increased risk for voice problems. Also, there is a lack of information on the effects of a performance on choristers’ voices. Available studies included performances of at least one hour. To date, no studies investigated the effects of a choir performance with a duration resembling vocal warm-ups.

      Purpose

      The first purpose of this study was to determine the voice quality, capacities, symptoms and voice-related quality of life of choir singers. Secondly, the effect of a short choir performance, resembling warm-up duration (15 minutes), on the choristers’ voices was investigated.

      Methods

      A randomized controlled trial was used. Thirty adult choir singers (25 women, 5 men; mean age: 32 years) were assigned randomly to an experimental group or a control group. Participants in the experimental group sung in choir for 15 minutes immediately after their pre voice assessment, whereas the control group was instructed to have standard voice use (one-on-one conversation with the investigator, no singing) across that time span. A second voice assessment was repeated afterwards.

      Results

      The choir singers showed excellent voice quality and capacities with mean scores on the Dysphonia Severity Index and Acoustic Voice Quality Index of 7.5 and 2.0, respectively. Auditory-perceptually, the mean grade score was 5/100 corresponding with a normal to mildly deviant voice quality. Patient-reported outcome measures showed mean deviant scores, indicating a considerable singing voice handicap. The choir singers seem vulnerable for stress with a high occurrence rate of 76.7% (23/30). Compared with the control group, the Dysphonia Severity Index significantly improved, whereas the self-perceived presence of vocal fatigue and complaints increased after 15 minutes of choir singing. Fundamental frequency increased in both groups, being more outspoken in the experimental group.

      Conclusions

      Choir singers show excellent voice quality and capacities, that further improve after a short choir performance of 15 minutes. Vocal fatigue and complaints, on the other hand, already increased after that short time span. Realizing that vocal load is much higher in real-life rehearsals, competitions and performances, choristers deserve and need a qualitative voice training and a strict follow-up. Future research should focus on effective vocal warm-up and cool-down programs for this population.

      Key Words

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to Journal of Voice
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      REFERENCES

      1. Ravi SK, Shabnam S, George KS, et al. Acoustic and aerodynamic characteristics of choral singers. J Voice. 2019; 33(5):803.e1‐803.e5.

        • Ravall S
        • Simberg S
        Voice disorders and voice knowledge in choir singers.
        J Voice. 2020; 34: 157.e1-157.e8
        • Braun-Janzen C
        • Zeine L
        Singers’ interest and knowledge levels of vocal function and dysfunction: survey findings.
        J Voice. 2009; 23: 470-483
        • Reddy BMS
        • Pebbili GK
        • Soonan VV
        Smoothened cepstral peak prominence in choral singers, trained singers and non-singers.
        J All India Inst Speech Hear. 2014; 33: 18-23
        • Rosa M
        • Behlau M
        Mapping of vocal risk in amateur choir.
        J Voice. 2017; 31: 118.e1-118.e11
        • Sharma V
        • Srikanth N
        • Devadas U
        A survey of vocal health in church choir singers.
        Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2021; 278: 2907-2917
        • Robotti C
        • Schindler A
        • Lechien JR
        • et al.
        Prevalence of laryngopharyngeal reflux symptoms, dysphonia, and vocal tract discomfort in amateur choir singers.
        J Voice. 2021; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2021.06.024
        • Siupsinskiene N
        • Lycke H
        Effects of vocal training on singing and speaking voice characteristics in vocally healthy adults and children based on choral and nonchoral data.
        J Voice. 2011; 25: e177-e189
        • Irzaldy A
        • Wiyasihati SI
        • Purwanto B
        Lung vital capacity of choir singers and nonsingers: a comparative study.
        J Voice. 2016; 30: 717-720
        • Berghs G
        • Creylman N
        • Avaux M
        • et al.
        A lifetime of professional singing: voice parameters and age in the Netherlands Radio Choir.
        Logoped Phoniatr Vocology. 2013; 38: 59-63
        • Miller R
        Solutions for Singers.
        Oxford University Press, New York, NY2004
        • Cook-Cunningham SL
        • Grady ML
        The effects of three physical and vocal warm-up procedures on acoustic and perceptual measures of choral sound.
        J Voice. 2018; 32: 192-199
        • Onofre F
        • Ricz H
        • de Almeido Prado Y
        • et al.
        Vocal resistance among choir singers.
        Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2021; 278: 159-165
        • Van Lierde KM
        • D'haeseleer E
        • Baudonck N
        • et al.
        The impact of vocal warm-up exercises on the objective voice quality in female students training to be speech language pathologists.
        J Voice. 2011; 25: 115-121
        • Onofre F
        • Prado YA
        • Rojas GVE
        • et al.
        Measurements of the acoustic speaking voice after vocal warm-up and cooldown in choir singers.
        J Voice. 2017; 31: 129.e9-129.e14
        • Elliott N
        • Sundberg J
        • Gramming P
        What happens during vocal warm-up?.
        J Voice. 1993; 9: 37-44
        • Sandage MJ
        • Wang S
        • Cao G
        Upper airway thermoregulation during singing warm-up.
        J Voice. 2021; 35: 157.e1-157.e6
        • Gish A
        • Kunduk M
        • Sims L
        • et al.
        Vocal warm-up practices and perceptions in vocalists: a pilot survey.
        J Voice. 2012; 26: e1-e10
        • Ragsdale FW
        • Marchman JO
        • Bretl MM
        • et al.
        Quantifying subjective and objective measures of singing after different warm-up durations.
        J Voice. 2020; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2020.08.005
        • Saldías M
        • Guzman M
        • Sandoval G
        • et al.
        Water resistance therapy as vocal warm-up method in contemporary commercial music singers.
        Folia Phoniatr Logop. 2020; 72: 1-12
        • Zoramsiami
        Vocal Hygiene Practices in mizo Choral Singers [unpublished masters dissertation].
        University of Mysore, India2014
        • Kitch JA
        • Oates J
        • Greenwood K
        Performance effects on the voices of 10 choral tenors: acoustic and perceptual findings.
        J Voice. 1996; 10: 217-227
        • Hunter EJ
        • Cantor-Cutiva LC
        • van Leer E
        • et al.
        Toward a consensus description of vocal effort, vocal load, vocal loading, and vocal fatigue.
        J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2020; 63: 509-532
        • Cohen SM
        • Jacobson BH
        • Garrett CG
        • et al.
        Creation and validation of the Singing Voice Handicap Index.
        Annal Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2007; 116: 402-406
        • Cohen SM
        • Statham M
        • Rosen CA
        • et al.
        Development and validation of the Singing Voice Handicap-10.
        Laryngoscope. 2009; 119: 1864-1869
        • Luyten A
        • Bruneel L
        • Meerschman I
        • et al.
        Prevalence of vocal tract discomfort in the Flemish population without self-perceived voice disorders.
        J Voice. 2016; 30: 308-314
        • Mathieson L
        • Hirani SP
        • Epstein R
        • et al.
        Laryngeal manual therapy: a preliminary study to examine its treatment effects in the management of muscle tension dysphonia.
        J Voice. 2009; 23: 353-366
        • Nanjundeswaran C
        • Jacobson BH
        • Gartner-Schmidt J
        • et al.
        Vocal Fatigue Index (VFI): development and validation.
        J Voice. 2015; 29: 433-440
      2. Boersma W, Weenink D. Praat: Doing phonetics by computer (Version 6.2). 2021. Available at: http://www.praat.org/. Accessed October 31, 2021.

        • Van de Weijer J
        • Slis I
        Nasaliteitsmeting met de nasometer [Nasalance measurement using the nasometer].
        Logopedie en Foniatrie. 1991; 63: 97-101
        • Kohler K
        German.
        J Int Phonetic Assoc. 1990; 20: 48-50
        • Fairbanks G
        Voice and Articulation Drillbook.
        2nd ed. Harper & Row, New York1960: 124-139
        • Maryn Y
        The Acoustic Voice Quality Index in the programme Praat: a practical guideline.
        Vlaamse Vereniging voor Logopedisten, Belsele2013
        • Wuyts FL
        • De Bodt MS
        • Molenberghs G
        • et al.
        The Dysphonia Severity Index: an objective measure of voice quality based on a multi-parameter approach.
        J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2000; 43: 796-809
        • Maryn Y
        • Corthals P
        • Van Cauwenberghe P
        • et al.
        Toward improved ecological validity in the acoustic measurement of overall voice quality: Combining continuous speech and sustained vowels.
        J Voice. 2010; 24: 540-555
        • Maryn Y
        • De Bodt M
        • Roy N
        The Acoustic Voice Quality Index: toward improved treatment outcomes assessment in voice disorders.
        J Commun Disord. 2010; 43: 161-174
        • Kempster GB
        • Gerratt BR
        • Verdolini Abbott K
        • et al.
        Consensus auditory-perceptual evaluation of voice: development of a standardized clinical protocol.
        Am J Speech Lang Pathol. 2009; 18: 124-132
        • Hirano M
        Clinical Examination of Voice.
        Springer Verlag, New York, NY1981
        • Dejonckere PH
        • Remacle M
        • Fresnel-Elbaz M
        • et al.
        Differential perceptual evaluation of pathological voice quality: reliability and correlations with acoustic measurements.
        Revue De Laryngologie - Otologie – Rhinologie. 1996; 117: 219-224
        • Cicchetti DV
        Guidelines, criteria, and rules of thumb for evaluating normed and standardized assessment instruments in psychology.
        Psychol Assess. 1994; 6: 284-290
        • Sobol M
        • Sielska-Badurek EM
        • Osuch-Wójcikiewicz E
        Normative values for singing voice handicap index – systematic review and meta-analysis.
        Br J Otorhinolaryngol. 2020; 86: 497-501
        • D'haeseleer E
        • Claeys S
        • Meerschman I
        • et al.
        Vocal characteristics and laryngoscopic findings in future musical theater performers.
        J Voice. 2017; 31: 462-469
        • D'haeseleer E
        • Quintyn F
        • Kissel I
        • et al.
        Voice quality, symptoms, and habits in musical theater actors.
        J Voice. 2022; 36: 392.e1-392.e9
        • Kreutz G
        • Bongard S
        • Rohrmann S
        • et al.
        Effects of choir singing or listening on secretory immunoglobulin A, cortisol, and emotional state.
        J Behav Med. 2004; 27: 623-635
        • Van Lierde K
        • Van Heule S
        • De Ley S
        • et al.
        Effect of psychological stress on female voice quality. A multiparameter approach.
        Folia Phoniatr Logop. 2009; 61: 105-111
        • Rantala L
        • Vilkman E
        • Bloigu R
        Voice changes during work: subjective complaints and objective measurements for female primary and secondary schoolteachers.
        J Voice. 2002; 16: 344-355
        • Vogel AP
        • Fletcher J
        • Maruf P
        Acoustic analysis of the effects of sustained wakefulness on speech.
        J Acoust Soc Am. 2010; 128: 3747-3756
        • Pellicani AD
        • Ricz HM
        • Ricz LN
        Phonatory function after prolonged voice use in Brazilian women.
        Codas. 2015; 27: 392-399
        • Meerschman I
        • D'haeseleer E
        • De Cock E
        • et al.
        Effectiveness of chewing technique on the phonation of female speech-language pathology students: a pilot study.
        J Voice. 2016; 30: 574-578
        • Meerschman I
        • Bettens K
        • Dejagere S
        • et al.
        Effect of two isolated vocal facilitating techniques chant talk and pitch inflections on the phonation of female speech-language pathology students: a pilot study.
        J Voice. 2016; 30: 771.e17-771.e25
        • Meerschman I
        • D'haeseleer E
        • Catry T
        • et al.
        Effect of two isolated vocal facilitating techniques glottal fry and yawn-sigh on the phonation of female speech-language pathology studentes: a pilot study.
        J Commun Disord. 2017; 66: 40-50
        • Titze IR
        Principles of Voice Production.
        National Center for Voice and Speech, Iowa City, USA2000
        • De Bodt M
        • Heylen L
        • Mertens F
        • et al.
        Stemstoornissen: handleiding voor de klinische praktijk.
        Garant, Antwerpen2008
        • Manternach JN
        • Clark C
        • Daugherty JF
        Effects of a straw phonation protocol on acoustic measures of an SATB chorus singing two contrasting renaissance works.
        J Voice. 2017; 31: 514.e5-514.e10
        • Titze IR
        • Laukkanen AM
        Can vocal economy in phonation be increased with an artificially lengthened vocal tract? A computer modeling study.
        Logoped Phoniatr Vocol. 2007; 32: 147-156
        • Titze IR
        • Verdolini Abbott K
        Vocology: The Science and Practice of Voice Habilitation.
        National Center for Voice and Speech, Salt Lake City, UT2012
        • Guzman M
        • Laukkanen AM
        • Krupa P
        • et al.
        Vocal tract and glottal function during and after vocal exercising with resonance tube and straw.
        J Voice. 2013; 27: 523.e19-523.e34
        • Manternach JN
        • Daugherty JF
        Effects of a straw phonation protocol on acoustic and perceptual measures of an SATB chorus.
        J Voice. 2019; 33: 86-88