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Vocal Resonance
By Daniel K. Robinson
(2010)

Many people love a good mystery played out on the silver screen; with all the intrigue and suspicion over who dun it?. I have always found the topic of Vocal Resonance to be mysterious. It seems to be the one topic that vocal seminars dance around but never really get into. The topic of Resonance was also discussed in my formal studies of voice, but the concept was not fully unpacked. Admittedlyit couldnt be. It is an area of expertise and study all on its own, but nevertheless singing teachers continue to use terms such as twang, singers formant andsympathetic vibration; often with little understanding or explanation. Lets take a brief look at the definition of Resonance in order to understand a little more about this mysterious vocal subject. Gillyanne Kayes writes, What voice trainers and singers call resonance is a form of sound filtering. Each part of the vocal tract (the tube of the larynx, the nose, the mouth and the pharynx) has its own resonating frequency (2004, p. 110). As air moves through the larynx and carries the sound (formed by the vocal folds) it passes through the resonators. The result is for the sound to be either enhanced or diminished depending on the frequency of that sound. Larger resonators respond most to low frequencies while the shape of the resonator also determines which frequencies will be enhanced (Chapman, 2006, pp. 8182).Johan Sundberg, arguably one of the worlds leading voice science researchers provides further explanation by stating, One could also say that a resonator resonates at certain frequencies, or that it possesses resonances(formants in the case of the vocal tract) at certain frequencies. Thus, the ability of the vocal tract to transmit sound is greatest at the formant frequencies. Most resonators possess a number of resonance frequencies. In the vocal tract the four or five lowest formants are the most relevant ones. The two lowest formants determine most of the vowel color; all of them are of great significance to voice timbre. (1987, p. 12) Another aspect of resonance is the concept of sympathetic resonance. Simply, all vocal resonance is sympathetic. One of the ways the sounds of singing can be monitored by the performer is through experiencing sympathetic vibration. When the spectral balance is complete, a singer is aware of sensations in bony structures of the head that are quite different from those of imbalanced phonation. Once an association with ideal sound has been established, these proprioceptive sensations become dependable indicators of tonal balance. (R. Miller, 2004, p. 69) It is important to note however that whilst sympathetic vibration can be used by the singer for helping with perceived pitch, what is actually happening and what the singer is feeling are two different things (Dayme, 2009, p. 142).

Daniel K. Robinson - 2010

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Djarts Voice Coaching ~ www.djarts.com.au

As I indicated at the start of the article, the topic of Resonance is mysterious. This brief article purposely provides only a brief definition of vocal resonance. Readers are recommended to consider further reading of the listed references below in order to grasp a more in depth understanding of vocal Resonance and its importance in learning to sing. References Chapman, J. L. (2006). Singing and teaching singing: A holistic approach to classical voice. San Diego, CA: Plural Publishing Inc. Dayme, M. B. (2009). Dynamics of the singing voice (5th ed.). Austria: SpringerWienNewYork. Kayes, G. (2004). Singing and the actor (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge. Miller, R. (2004). Solutions for singers: Tools for performers and teachers. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Sundberg, J. (1987). The science of the singing voice. Dekald, IL: Northern Illinois University Press.

Daniel K. Robinson - 2010

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