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On the Art of Singing$
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Richard Miller

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780195098259

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195098259.001.0001

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The Effect of Tongue Position on Spectra in Singing

The Effect of Tongue Position on Spectra in Singing

85 The Effect of Tongue Position on Spectra in Singing
On the Art of Singing

Richard Miller

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the effect of tongue position on the singing voice. Attached to the hyoid bone, the tongue extends forward to the lips, thus occupying nearly the entire vocal tract (chief resonating system). The tongue is the most important of the articulators, and the shape it assumes and the space it occupies in the resonator tube help to determine the acoustic and phonetic aspects of any phonatory event. The changing relationships of the buccal and pharyngeal resonators, which are necessary for vowel definition, are largely determined by the changing positions of the mobile tongue within the resonator tube. Varying tongue positions can influence the nature of vocal timbre. An improperly positioned tongue within the vocal tract results in vowel distortion, tongue tension, and resonance imbalance. This chapter presents the results of a study showing that an “unruly” tongue can cause inefficient acoustic filtering of the vocal tract and affect the singing voice.

Keywords:   tongue, singing, vocal tract, vowel definition, resonator tube, vocal timbre, acoustic filtering, singing voice

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