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date: 14 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Hindustani classical singing, a tradition practiced in Northern India, includes a prevalent pitch-modulating vocal gesture called “taan.” This chapter explores the performance and pedagogical basics of taan gestures as practiced by an elite singer and teacher. The aim of this study is to determine the physiological and acoustic characteristics of this gesture and create a platform for future research. The results of this study will also further the understanding of human voice production. The study found that the pedagogical taan gestures were slower with longer superior surface durations compared to the faster performance taan gestures. The voluntary control of the taan gesture seems to be facilitated by glottal adduction. When the artist voluntarily altered pitch, loudness, rate, or the subjective obstruction of the taan gestures, significant differences were seen in the fundamental frequency as well as in aerodynamic and kinematic measures across the different levels of each condition. In general, increasing pitch level, loudness level, rate of the taan gesture, and subjective obstruction levels resulted in steeper slopes to the F0 fall and rise within the taan gesture and significant changes in the laryngeal flow waveform, suggesting greater adduction levels. This study can be enhanced with further analysis of taan gestures related to different raagas, the basis of Indian classical music. These results not only add to the basic understanding of the multicultural aspects of singing but also advance the basic knowledge about human voice production.

Keywords: acoustic characteristics, India, South Asia, physiological characteristics, pitch, raaga, taan, vocal gesture, timbre, singing

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