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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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How Big Is the Big Sound?

How Big Is the Big Sound?

(p.271) 88 How Big Is the Big Sound?
On the Art of Singing

Richard Miller

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines whether a big voice is necessary in singing. It argues that techniques for supposedly enlarging the singing voice are counterproductive, because they upset the relationships among the singer's formant, the formant frequencies of the vowel being sung, and the lower formants, all of which are harmonic multiples resulting from the fundamental pitch the singer is producing. There is a standard of size essential for any voice if it is to become professionally viable. A small voice, no matter how beautiful, is not generally useful in the theater or in the concert hall. A professional singing voice must be not only of unusually good quality but also of reasonably good size. However, trying to make a bigger sound by producing exaggerated volume and darkened vocal timbre removes whatever chance of projection an instrument may have.

Keywords:   big voice, singing, singing voice, singer, formant, pitch, small voice, vocal timbre

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