Since the recent early music (EM) revival, a subset of singers have begun to specialize in a style of singing that is perceptually different from the more “mainstream” romantic operatic (RO) singing style. The aim of this study is to characterize EM with respect to RO singing in terms of its vibrato characteristics and the singer's formant cluster.
This study presents a within-subject experimental design.
Ten professional singers (5 F; 5M) versed in both EM and RO repertoire were enrolled in the study. Each singer recorded the first 10 bars of the famous Aria, “Amarilli Mia Bella” (Giulio Caccini, 1602) a cappella, in RO and EM styles, in random order. Three sustained notes were extracted from the acoustical recordings and were analyzed using the free user-friendly software Biovoice to extract five parameters: vibrato rate, vibrato extent, vibrato jitter (Jvib), vibrato shimmer, and quality ratio (QR), an estimation of the singer's formant power.
Vibrato in EM singing was characterized by a higher rate, a smaller extent, and less regular cycle-cycle period duration (higher Jvib) compared to RO singing. As in previous studies, RO singing presented a more prominent singer's formant, as indicated by a smaller QR.
Acoustical analysis of some vibrato characteristics and the Singer's Formant significantly differentiated EM from RO singing styles. Given the acoustical distinctions between EM and RO styles, future scientific and musicological studies should consider distinguishing between the two styles rather than using a singular term for and description of Western Classical singing.
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
Register: Create an account
Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect
- The Early Music Revival.Dover Publications, Mineola1988
- Practising and teaching historically informed singing-who cares?.Basel Jahrb Hist Musikpraxis. 2002; XXVI: 17-29
- Vocal Authority.Cambridge University Press, Cambridge1998
- Voice source comparison between modern singers of early music and opera.Logoped Phoniatr Vocol. 2010; 35: 68-73https://doi.org/10.3109/14015439.2010.482861
- Understanding the acoustics of St. John's Baptistery in Pisa through a virtual approach.J Build Perform Simul. 2020; 13: 320-333https://doi.org/10.1080/19401493.2020.1728382
- Traité complet de l'art du chant (Paris, 1847).1984 (English edition by Paschke, D. A Complete Treatise on the Art of Singing, 2 vols. New York)
- The Science of Singing Voice.North Illinois University Press, DeKalb, IL1987
- Lower vocal tract morphologic adjustments are relevant for voice timbre in singing.PLoS ONE. 2015; 10e0132241
- What's so special about singers?.J Voice. 1990; 4: 107-119
- Level and center frequency of the singer's formant.J Voice. 2001; 15: 176-186
- Vocal techniques in Italy in the second half of the 16th century.Early Music. 1981; 9: 486-495
- The natural history of the vibrato.Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 1931; 17: 623-626
- Vibrato rate and extent in college music majors: a Multicenter Study.J Voice. 2016; 30: 756.e31-756.e41https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2015.09.006
- The Diagnosis & Correction of Vocal Faults: A Manual for Teachers of Singing & for Choir Directors.Waveland Press, Long Grove, IL2005: 198-204
- Quantitative voice quality analyses of a soprano singing early music in three different performance styles.Biomed Signal Process Contr. 2012; 7: 58-64https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bspc.2011.05.013
- Review of Das Vibrato in der Musik des Barock, by G. Moens-Haenen.Early Music. 1988; 16: 571-573
- Physiological factors in vocal vibrato production.J Voice. 1990; 4: 300-304
- A reflex resonance model of vocal vibrato.J Acous Soc Am. 2002; 111: 2272-2282
- The role of auditory feedback in sustaining vocal vibrato.J Acoust Soc Am. 2003; 114: 1575-1581https://doi.org/10.1121/1.1603230
- Sundberg J. Vibrato.Singular Pub., San Diego1995
- Aerodynamic and acoustical measures of speech, operatic, and Broadway vocal styles in a professional female singer.J Voice. 2003; 17: 283-297https://doi.org/10.1067/s0892-1997(03)00074-2
- Comparisons of pharynx, source, formant, and pressure characteristics in operatic and musical theatre singing.J Voice. 1993; 7: 301-310https://doi.org/10.1016/s0892-1997(05)80118-3
- Musical theater and opera singing—why so different? A study of subglottal pressure, voice source, and formant frequency characteristics.J Voice. 2008; 22: 533-540https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2006.12.007
- Performing Lieder: expert perspectives and comparison of vibrato and singer's formant with opera singers.J Voice. 2015; 29: 645.e15-645.e32https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2014.10.020
- Automatic assessment of acoustic parameters of the singing voice: application to professional western operatic and jazz singers.J Voice. 2015; 29: 517.e1-517.e5179https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2014.09.014
- The characterization of the vibrato in lyric and sertanejo singing styles: acoustic and perceptual auditory aspects.J Voice. 2009; 23: 666-670https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2008.04.002
- Caccini's “Amarilli mia bella”: Some questions (and few answers).J Royal Musical Assoc. 1988; 113: 250-273
Caccini G. In: Parisotti A, Antiche Arie, eds. Ricordi; 1890. Amarilli Mia Bella. vol. II.
The Orchard Enterprises. Amarilli (Recorded 1939). YouTube Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NV4J_f0oExc. Published 14 March 2016. Accessed October 20, 2022.
- Guidelines for selecting microphones for human voice production research.Am J Speech Lang Pathol. 2010; 19: 356-368https://doi.org/10.1044/1058-0360(2010/09-0091
- BioVoice: a multipurpose tool for voice analysis.in: Proceeding 11th International Workshop Models and Analysis of Vocal Emissions for Biomedical Applications, MAVEBA 2019. Firenze University Press, 2019: 261-264
- Relating objective measurements to expert evaluation of voice quality in western classical singing: critical perceptual parameters.J Voice. 1998; 12: 182-196
- Vibrato rate and extent in soprano voice: a survey on one century of singing.J Acoust Soc Am. 2011; 130: 1683-1688
- Effects of historical recording technology on vibrato in modern-day opera singers.J Voice. 2022; 36: 464-478https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2020.07.022
- Fitting linear mixed-effects models using lme4.J Stat Software. 2014; 67: 1-48
- Caracteristicas acusticas del vibrato en coreutas.Árete. 2010; 10: 17
- Influence of emotional expression, loudness, and gender on acoustical parameters of vibrato in classical singers.J Voice. 2012; 26: 675.e5-675.e11
- Do rate and extent of vibrato vary with gender in untrained singers?.Int J Interdisciplin Res Innovat. 2014; 2: 1-5
- Vocal warm-up produces acoustic change in singers' vibrato rate.J Voice. 2012; 26: 667.e13-667.e18https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2011.10.007
- Effects of professional singing education on vocal vibrato—a longitudinal study.J Voice. 2007; 21: 683-688
- Change in vibrato rate and extent during tertiary training in classical singing students.J Voice. 2010; 24: 427-434
- Effects of solo and choral singing modes on vibrato rate, extent, and duration exhibited by undergraduate female singers.Int J Res Chor Sing. 2014; 5: 26-38
- The acoustic characteristics of professional opera singers performing in chorus versus solo mode.J Voice. 2007; 21: 35-45https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2005.08.010
- Professional Voice: The Science and Art of Clinical Care.4th ed. Plural Publishing, San Diego2017
- Effects of melody and technique on acoustical and musical features of western operatic singing voices.J Voice. 2014; 28: 332-340https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2013.10.019
- Vibrato rate adjustment.J Voice. 2003; 17: 168-178https://doi.org/10.1016/s0892-1997(03)00039-0
- Simultaneous monitoring of vocal doses and breathing patterns in professional singers.Comput Biol Med. 2022; 144105352https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compbiomed.2022.105352
- Breathing and singing: objective characterization of breathing patterns in classical singers.PLoS One. 2016; 11: 1-18
- Activity patterns in latissimus dorsi and sternocleidomastoid in classical singers.J Voice. 2012; 26: e95-e105https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2011.04.008
- The acoustics of the singing voice.Sci Am. 1977; 236: 82-91https://doi.org/10.1038/scientificamerican0377-82
- Singing power ratio: quantitative evaluation of singing voice quality.J Voice. 1996; 10: 228-235
- The puzzle of the singer's formant.in: Bless DM Abbs JH Vocal Fold Physiology: Contemporary Research and Clinical Issues. College Hill, San Diego1983: 368-378
- Comparative analysis of singer's high formant in different types of singing voices.Folia Phoniatr Logop. 1995; 47: 291-295
- Acoustic and articulatory adjustments in operatic singing: spectral analysis and magnetic resonance imaging.in: Howard D COST 2103: 4th Advanced Voice Function Workshop AVFA’10. 2010
- Vocal frequency and vertical larynx positioning by singers and nonsingers.J Acoust Soc Am. 1975; 58: 1104-1106
- A review of singing voice subsystem interactions-toward an extended physiological model of "Support".J Voice. 2017; 31: 249.e13-249.e19https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2016.07.019
- Level and center frequency of the singer's formant.J Voice. 2001; 15: 176-186https://doi.org/10.1016/S0892-1997(01)00019-4
Published online: March 31, 2023
Accepted: February 7, 2023
Publication stageIn Press Corrected Proof
© 2023 The Voice Foundation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.