Studies from German-speaking Europe
Acoustic characteristics of voice in music and straight theatre: Topics, conceptions, questions
Stage voices excel in great efficiency, projection and dynamic range. Commonly, their training and style-specific properties are related to an adjustment of vocal tract resonances to frequencies of harmonics (“resonance/formant tuning”), increased spectral intensity of mid and high-range frequencies, a distinct peak of a relative energy maximum at 2.5 to 3 kHz for singing in “classical” style (“singer’s/singing formant”) and approximately 3.5 kHz for stage acting (“actor’s/speaker’s formant”). The present contribution discusses related phenomena and explanations and delineates existing questions. Against this background, it adverts to the upcoming expansion of the research on stage voices and argues for advances in systematization with regard to future studies. The final section discusses pertinent questions for future investigations and outlines the need for a systematization of related research designs. Moreover, it argues for a clarification of the methods of acoustic analysis and further development and differentiation of terminology. Reference is also given to an ongoing creation of a large corpus of German vowel sounds produced by male and female singers (“legit” and “belt”/”MT” style), actors and actresses (straight theatre), and untrained adults and children, attempting to contribute to the improvement and systematization of the empirical basis as well as the research design with regard to the study of the acoustics of stage voices.
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