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date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The sound quality of singing is determined by three basic factors—the air pressure under the vocal folds (or the subglottal pressure), the mechanical properties of the vocal folds, and the resonance properties of the vocal tract. Subglottal pressure is controlled by the respiratory apparatus. It regulates vocal loudness and is varied with pitch in singing. Together with the mechanical properties of the folds, which are controlled by laryngeal muscles, it has a decisive influence on vocal fold vibrationswhich convert the tracheal airstream to a pulsating airflow, the voice source. The voice source determines pitch, vibrato, and register, and also the overall slope of the spectrum. The sound of the voice source is filtered by the resonances of the vocal tract, or the formants, of which the two lowest determine the vowel quality and the higher ones the personal voice quality. Timing is crucial for creating emotional expressivity; it uses an acoustic code that shows striking similarities to that used in speech. The perceived loudness of a vowel sound seems more closely related to the subglottal pressure with which it was produced than with the acoustical sound level. Some investigations of acoustical correlates of tone placement and variation of larynx height are described, as are properties that affect the perceived naturalness of synthesized singing. Finally, subglottal pressure, voice source, and formant-frequency characteristics of some non-classical styles of singing are discussed.

Keywords: breathing, subglottal pressure, voice source, formant, timing, masking, larynx height, synthesis, vibrato, singing styles

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