Seminar at Speech, Music and Hearing:
Putting the singing voice on the map: Towards improving the quantitative evaluation of the singer´s voice status
Opponent: Thomas F. Cleveland, Vanderbilt University, Nashville TN, USA
AbstractDiagnostic and evaluative methods used in voice care are mostly designed
for the speaking voice, and are not necessarily directly applicable
to the singing voice. This thesis investigated the possibilities of fine tuning,
improving and quantifying the voice status assessment of the singer,
focusing especially on the Western operatic female voice.
In Paper I, possible singer-specific Voice Range Profile (VRP) characteristics
and tasks were explored and VRP data for 30 professional female
Western opera singers was collected. Vocal productions were controlled
for a physiological VRP (VRPphys) and for a stage performance context
(VRPperf) and outcome differences were identified. Task design was critical
for the VRPphys but had very little effect on the VRPperf. Significant
voice category differences (between soprano,mezzo-soprano and contralto)
were limited to frequency-related metrics. Two new VRP metrics, the area
above 90 dB (Perc>=90dB) and the sound pressure level extent (SPLext),
were found to be keys to the study of VRPs for singers.
Paper II investigated, in conjunction with the VRP, whether the sound
pressure level (SPL) or the skin acceleration level (SAL) was more correlated
to the subglottal pressure (Ps). SAL was much less F0 dependent
than SPL and facilitated the interpretation of VRP data. However, the
correlation between SAL and Ps was found to be weaker than that between
SPL and Ps.
Papers III and IV explored the mapping of self-perceived impairment-related
difficulties into the VRP. A modified phonetograph was tested first
with a healthy singer population and then with a singer-patient group.
Subjects used a button device to communicate their self-perceptions while
singing, and were consistent in task replications as well as across different
tasks. Healthy singers pressed mostly at the extreme limits of the VRP,
where loss of vocal control could be expected and their presses were mostly
concentrated on the periphery of the VRP area. Singer patient buttonpress
patterns were distinct from patterns observed in healthy singers.
Singer-patients pressed mainly inside the VRP boundaries, in the higher
range and at intermediate intensities.
In Paper V, the Voice Handicap Index for singers was translated and
adapted to Swedish (Röst Handikap Index för sångare or RHI-s ). The
questionnaire was found to be a reliable and a valid instrument. High
correlations between general perceptual patient VAS rating and the questionnaire
scores underscored the instrument’s internal coherence. Overall,
patient scores (including subscales) were significantly higher than healthy
singer scores. The results showed implicitly the necessity and usefulness
of adapting clinical procedures to specific patient populations.
Together, the results of these five papers can ultimately be of value to
voice clinicians who are treating singers. The results obtained in this work
further contribute to the understanding of the singing voice and underline
the importance of properly documenting the singing voice.
Keywords: Voice Range Profile, Phonetogram, Singing voice, Performance,
Clinical assessment, Health, Voice disorder, Self-perception, Proprioceptive
10:00 - 13:00
Friday March 6, 2009
The seminar is held in Sal F3, Flodis, Lindstedtsvägen 26.
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