The Influence of Fundamental Frequency and Sound Pressure Level Range on Breathing Patterns in Female Classical Singing

Collyer, Sally; Thorpe, C. William; Callaghan, Jean; Davis, Pamela J.
June 2008
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Jun2008, Vol. 51 Issue 3, p612
Academic Journal
Purpose: This study investigated the influence of fundamental frequency (F0) and sound pressure level (SPL) range on respiratory behavior in classical singing. Method: Five trained female singers performed an 8-s messa di voce (a crescendo and decrescendo on one F0) across their musical F0 range. Lung volume (LV) change was estimated, and chest-wall kinematic behavior (dimensional change in ribcage [RC] and abdominal [AB] wall) was recorded using triaxial magnetometry. Results: The direction of F0 influence on LV excursion (LVE) varied among singers, but SPL range appeared to be less important than duration to LVE. LVE was generally evenly divided between crescendo and decrescendo. Kinematic patterns differed markedly among singers, despite task consistency, and RC and AB paradoxing was widespread. Conclusion: Each singer maintained her characteristic kinematic pattern regardless of F0 or SPL range, although these did influence aspects of RC and AB behavior. Given the essential role of breathing in classical singing, further work is needed to understand how singers develop their highly individual respiratory strategies and the principles by which each singer's breathing strategy can be optimized.


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