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Publication Detail
The tuning and vocal formant features of Chinese folk song singing : A case study of Hua'er music
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Yang Y, Sundberg J, Welch G, Himonides E
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
  • Journal:
    Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Print ISSN:
  • Keywords:
    tuning, formants, folk singing, Hua'er, Music, Case study, Music, Acoustics and Ultrasonics
Hua'er music is one of the representative folk music traditions in China today, designated as part of the world intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2009. Whilst folk music traditions like Hua'er have been promoted in the education of young musicians due to their musical and cultural significance, no in-depth research has analyzed the acoustic characteristics of this vocal style. In this study, studio recordings were made of eighteen folk song examples sung by four four traditional and one formally educated singers. Analyses showed that both the traditional and the formally trained singers used a tuning pattern containing four main anchor-pitches approximating a Pythagorean tuning. The voice source in two different vocal styles ('Zhensheng' and 'Jiasheng'), reportedly used by these singers in performances, were examined by inverse filtering. LTAS of songs performed by the traditional singers were similar and showed a 'Speaker's formant' cluster near 3.5kHz. Implications are drawn for the education of folk music singers in higher education.
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