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Which Sung Pitch Range is Best for Boys During Voice Change?

Williams, J; Welch, GF; Howard, DM; (2020) Which Sung Pitch Range is Best for Boys During Voice Change? Journal of Voice 10.1016/j.jvoice.2019.12.002. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

The question of how and what boys should sing during adolescent voice change has challenged educators and choir leaders for the last century. As the larynx enlarges during adolescence, most boys will follow the descending pitch of their speaking voice and move to singing vocal parts with a lower pitch range. Occasionally a boy may continue to sing in his treble (soprano) range while his larynx is growing and his speaking pitch is lowering. There is much opinion on the wisdom of such practices, but until now there has been no quantifiable evidence to illustrate the discussion. The established historic and cultural practices can now be reassessed in the light of quantitative analyses of vocal function. This longitudinal case study used electroglottographic measures from one boy over a 3-year period to investigate the efficiency of vocal fold adductory behavior in both prechange and midchange singing. In the first recording, he is aged 10 years old and has an unchanged voice. In the second recording, he is aged 13 years old and has a speaking voice in the Cooksey Stage III of voice change. Up to and including the time of the second recording, he had chosen to remain singing exclusively in his treble (soprano) range. The comparison between the two recordings of the observed regularity and efficiency of vocal fold adduction suggests that singing in this pitch range has become less healthy and effective; this is also represented in the overall perceived vocal comfort levels heard in the recordings. The implications for educators are that the longitudinal development of singing habits will be enhanced for boys who move to singing with their new baritone range as their larynx grows, rather than remaining in a treble range.

Type: Article
Title: Which Sung Pitch Range is Best for Boys During Voice Change?
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2019.12.002
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2019.12.002
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Adolescent, Boy, Chorister, Pitch range, Voice change
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10089932
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