A framework for the study of vocal registers

  • Ingo R. Titze
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. I. R. Titze at Voice Acoustics and Biomechanics Laboratory, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, U.S.A.
    Affiliations
    Voice Acoustics and Biomechanics Laboratory, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, U.S.A.

    Recording and Research Center, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
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      Summary

      Register transitions are divided into two classes, periodicity transitions and timbre transitions. Periodicity transitions refer to changes in vocal quality that occur whenever glottal pulses are perceived as individual events rather than as a continuous auditory stimulus. Timbre transitions refer to changes in vocal quality associated with changes in spectral balance. Physiologically, these can be quantified with an abduction quotient. The singing registers appear to be based on timbre transitions resulting from subglottal resonances that interfere with the vocal fold driving pressure. Four of the major singing register shifts are predicted (in frequency and relative importance) on the basis of the first subglottal formant. Strategies for register equalization are proposed on the basis of supraglottal formant tuning (vowel modification) and adjustments in glottal adduction.

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