Formant Tuning Strategies in Professional Male Opera Singers

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The term "formant tuning" is generally used for the case that one of the lowest formant frequencies coincides with the frequency of a source spectrum partial. Some authors claim that such coincidence is favorable and belongs to the goals of classical opera voice training, whereas other authors have found evidence for advising against it. This investigation analyzes the relationships between formant frequencies and partials in professional singers, who sang scales on the vowels /a/, /u/, /i/, and /ae/ in a pitch range including the passaggio, that is, the fundamental frequency range of approximately 300-400 Hz, applying either of the two singing strategies that are typically used (1) in classical and (2) in nonclassical singing, respectively. Formant frequencies of each note in the scales were measured by inverse-filtering the acoustic signal. In the classical style, the first formant tended to be lower than in the nonclassical style. Neither the first nor the second formant tended to change systematically between scale tones, such that on some scale tones either or both formants was just below, just above, or right on a spectrum partial. In many cases, singers produced similar spectrum characteristics of the top tones of the scales with different first and second formant frequencies. Regardless of whether the first formant was slightly lower, slightly higher, or right on a partial, the properties of the voice source did not seem to be affected
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)278-288
JournalJournal Of Voice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

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