An investigation into the effect of acoustics on vocal strain of Opera singers

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An investigation into the effect of acoustics on vocal strain of Opera singers

Gizem Okten

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, London, UK

Stephen Dance

London South Bank University, London, UK,

Objectives: This paper will report some of the final results of a doctoral study on the effect of acoustics on vocal strain of Opera singers. The research presents singers' objective voice dosimetry and subjective perception data together with the room acoustic parameters with the aim of establishing the preferred practice room conditions for Opera singers.

Methodology: For this purpose 117 Opera singers from the Royal Academy of Music participated in the research. The pilot stage of the research was undertaken at the acoustic laboratories of London South Bank University in order to validate the research methodology in controlled environment, and the field stage was undertaken at four practice rooms of Royal Academy of Music. Singers’ subjective data was collected via questionnaires validated during the pilot stage, and singers’ objective voice dosimetry data was collected via Ambulatory Phonation Monitor. Room acoustic measurements were undertaken separately for each practice room when the rooms were unoccupied. Statistical analysis were performed to establish the relationship between the room acoustics and the singers’ data.

Results: The students' subjective response to the different acoustic conditions of the practice rooms showed significant change and very strong correlations were observed with the measured T30 room acoustic parameter at the 4k octave band and C80 parameter at 500 Hz to 4 kHz. Using this information and the practice room geometries, Opera singers’ ideal practice room conditions were established.

Keywords: Ambulatory Phonation Monitor, practice room acoustics, opera singers, voice dosimetry, vocal loading

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