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Publication Detail
Can genre be “heard” in scale as well as song tasks? An exploratory study of female singing in Western Lyric and Musical Theater Styles
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Kayes G, Welch GF
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  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    Journal of Voice
  • Status:
  • Print ISSN:
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  • Keywords:
    female singing, genre differences, LTAS, perception, classical, music theatre
Summary Objectives Using an empirical design, this study investigated perceptual and acoustic differences between the recorded vocal products of songs and scales of professional female singers of classical Western Lyric (WL) and non-legit Musical Theater (MT) styles. Methods A total of 54 audio-recorded samples of songs and scales from professional female singers were rated in a blind randomized testing process by seven expert listeners as being performed by either a WL or MT singer. Songs and scales that were accurately perceived by genre were then analyzed intra- and inter-genre using long-term average spectrum analysis. Results A high level of agreement was found between judges in ratings for both songs and scales according to genre (P < 0.0001). Judges were more successful in locating WL than MT, but accuracy was always >50%. For the long-term average spectrum analysis intra-genre, song and scale matched better than chance. The highest spectral peak for the WL singers was at the mean fundamental frequency, whereas this spectral area was weaker for the MT singers, who showed a marked peak at 1 kHz. The other main inter-genre difference appeared in the higher frequency region, with a peak in the MT spectrum between 4 and 5 kHz—the region of the “speaker's formant.” Conclusions In comparing female singers of WL and MT styles, scales as well as song tasks appear to be indicative of singer genre behavior. This implied difference in vocal production may be useful to teachers and clinicians dealing with multiple genres. The addition of a scale-in-genre task may be useful in future research seeking to identify genre-distinctive behaviors.
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