Effect of Voice Matching on Individual Vocal Characteristics of Singers Performing in Duet
Osinski, Ryan Douglas
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The purpose of this study was to examine interactions of voices performing in duet to determine the relationship of individual vocal characteristics to perceived blend. Male (N = 8) and female (N = 6) vocalists from the choral ensembles of a major university were recorded singing with each other in every combination within the same gender, in both left-right and right-left configurations. Each pair was recorded singing the first phrase of "My Country Tis of Thee" using both pair and individual microphones. A panel of professional and student choral conductors (N = 48) rated the pair recordings for blend. Singers' vocal characteristics were quantified by singing power ratio, vibrato rate, and vibrato extent. Analysis showed a combination of four factors accounted for 79% of the variability in perceived blend, with low natural vibrato extent, similar natural vibrato extent, higher singing power ratio, and reduction of vibrato extent producing the highest perceived blend. Singers with similar vibrato extents tended to decrease their vibrato extents when paired with one another, while singers with large differences tended to increase. Results suggest voice matching is an optimization algorithm that places voices next to the ones to which they are most similar and this enhances perceived blend by subconsciously inducing the section to produce the smallest vibrato extent of which it is healthfully capable. Vibrato rate and resonance were unaffected, suggesting voice matching is an effective tool to enhance blend while simultaneously making the choral environment more hospitable to healthy singing.
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