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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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Spectrographic Analysis of the Singing Voice

Spectrographic Analysis of the Singing Voice

90 Spectrographic Analysis of the Singing Voice
On the Art of Singing

Richard Miller

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the use of the spectrograph in the analysis of the singing voice. Teachers of singing watch students sing in order to see as well as to hear the causes for change in vocal quality. They have always made use of feedback devices such as the long-existent mirror, the tape recorder, and, more recently, the video camera, to help students both see and hear which variables produce differences in vocal timbre. The spectrograph is now available for verifying what the teacher may attempt to describe through subjective terms such as “roundness” and “ring” and through vocal modeling. The spectrograph generates spectrograms, which are graphic representations of the harmonic components of vocalized sound. A spectrogram of the singing voice displays the fundamental frequency and its integral harmonic multiples as they occur within time. The spectrogram can reveal many important aspects of vocal pedagogy, such as the vibrato phenomenon and the relationships of the harmonic partials to the fundamental and to each other. Spectrographic analysis does not replace the musicianly ear, but verifies what the ear discerns.

Keywords:   spectrograph, singing voice, singing, spectrogram, frequency, vocal pedagogy, vibrato, spectrographic analysis

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