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Singing is the act of producing
music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the universal cultural aspects of all human societies. General definitions of music include common e ...
al sounds with the
voice The human voice consists of sound made by a human being using the vocal tract, including talking, singing, laughing, crying, screaming, shouting, or yelling. The human voice frequency is specifically a part of human sound production in which the ...
. A person who sings is called a singer or vocalist (in
jazz Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with its roots in blues and ragtime. Since the 1920s Jazz Age, it has been recognize ...
and
popular music#REDIRECT Popular music#REDIRECT Popular music {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{R from other capitalisation ...
). Singers perform music (
aria In music, an aria (; it, air, links=no; plural: ''arie'' , or ''arias'' in common usage, diminutive form arietta , plural ariette, or in English simply air) is a self-contained piece for one voice, with or without instrumental or orchestral accom ...

aria
s,
recitative 200px, A recitative from Cantata 140, "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme".">BWV 140">Cantata 140, "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme". Recitative (, also known by its Italian name "''recitativo''" ()) is a style of delivery (much used in operas, oratori ...
s,
song A song is a musical composition intended to be performed by the human voice. This is often done at distinct and fixed pitches (melodies) using patterns of sound and silence. Songs contain various forms, such as those including the repetition a ...
s, etc.) that can be sung with or without accompaniment by
musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. A person who play ...
s. Singing is often done in an
ensemble Ensemble may refer to: Art * Musical ensemble * Ensemble cast (drama, comedy) * Ensemble (musical theatre), also known as the chorus * Ensemble (band), a project of Olivier Alary * ''Ensemble'' (album), Kendji Girac 2015 album * ''Ensemble'' (St ...
of musicians, such as a
choir A choir (; also known as a chorale or chorus) is a musical ensemble of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the music written specifically for such an ensemble to perform. Choirs may perform music from the classical music repertoire, which spans f ...

choir
of singers or a band of instrumentalists. Singers may perform as soloists or accompanied by anything from a single instrument (as in
art song An art song is a vocal music composition, usually written for one voice with piano accompaniment, and usually in the classical art music tradition. By extension, the term "art song" is used to refer to the collective genre of such songs (e.g., the ...
or some
jazz Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with its roots in blues and ragtime. Since the 1920s Jazz Age, it has been recognize ...
styles) up to a
symphony orchestra An orchestra (; ) is a large instrumental ensemble typical of classical music, which combines instruments from different families, including bowed string instruments such as the violin, viola, cello, and double bass, woodwinds such as the flute ...
or
big band A big band is a type of musical ensemble of jazz music that usually consists of ten or more musicians with four sections: saxophones, trumpets, trombones, and a rhythm section. Big bands originated during the early 1910s and dominated jazz in the ...
. Different singing styles include
art music Art music (alternatively called classical music, cultivated music, serious music, and canonic music) is music considered to be of high aesthetic value. It typically implies advanced structural and theoretical considerationsJacques Siron, "Musiqu ...
such as
opera Opera is a form of theatre in which music is a fundamental component and dramatic roles are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theatre. Such a "work" (the literal translation of the Italian word "opera") is typically a collaborati ...
and
Chinese opera#REDIRECT Chinese opera#REDIRECT Chinese opera {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
,
Indian music Owing to India's vastness and diversity, Indian Music encompass numerous genres, multiple varieties and forms which include classical music, folk (Bollywood), rock, and pop. It has a history spanning several millennia and developed over severa ...
and
religious music Religious music (also sacred music) is any type of music that is performed or composed for religious use or through religious influence. It may overlap with ritual music, which is music, sacred or not, performed or composed for or as ritual. Chr ...
styles such as
gospel Gospel originally meant the Christian message, but in the 2nd century it came to be used also for the books in which the message was set out; in this sense a gospel can be defined as a loose-knit, episodic narrative of the words and deeds of Jesus ...
,
traditional music Folk music includes traditional folk music and the genre that evolved from it during the 20th-century folk revival. Some types of folk music may be called world music. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted ...
styles,
world music World music is a musical category encompassing many different styles of music from around the world, including traditional music, quasi-traditional music, and music where more than one cultural tradition intermingles. World music's inclusive nat ...
,
jazz Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with its roots in blues and ragtime. Since the 1920s Jazz Age, it has been recognize ...
,
blues Blues is a music genre and musical form which was originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1860s by African-Americans from roots in African-American work songs, and spirituals. Blues incorporated spirituals, work songs, fiel ...
,
ghazal The ''ghazal'' ( ar, غَزَل, bn, গজল, Urdu: , hi, ग़ज़ल, fa, غزل, az, qəzəl, tr, gazel, uz, gʻazal, gu, ગઝલ) is a form of amatory poem or ode, originating in Arabic poetry. A ghazal may be understood as a poetic ...
and popular music styles such as pop,
rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology), a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals or mineraloids * Rock music, a genre of popular music Rock or Rocks may also refer to: Places United Kingdom * Rock, Caerphilly, a location in Wales ...
and
electronic dance music#REDIRECT Electronic dance music#REDIRECT Electronic dance music {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{R from other capitalisation ...
. Singing can be formal or informal, arranged, or improvised. It may be done as a form of religious devotion, as a hobby, as a source of pleasure, comfort, or ritual as part of
music education Music education is a field of practice, in which educators are trained for careers as elementary or secondary music teachers, school or music conservatory ensemble directors. As well, music education is a research area in which scholars do origi ...
or as a profession. Excellence in singing requires time, dedication, instruction, and regular
practice Practice or practise may refer to: Education and learning * Practice (learning method), a method of learning by repetition * Phantom practice, phenomenon in which a person's abilities continue to improve, even without practicing * Practice-based p ...
. If practice is done regularly then the sounds can become clearer and stronger. Professional singers usually build their
career The career is an individual's metaphorical "journey" through learning, work and other aspects of life. There are a number of ways to define career and the term is used in a variety of ways. Definitions The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' define ...
s around one specific
musical genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, although in practice these terms are somet ...
, such as classical or
rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology), a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals or mineraloids * Rock music, a genre of popular music Rock or Rocks may also refer to: Places United Kingdom * Rock, Caerphilly, a location in Wales ...
, although there are singers with crossover success (singing in more than one genre). Professional singers usually take voice training provided by voice teachers or
vocal coach A vocal coach, also known as a voice coach (though this term often applies to those working with speech and communication rather than singing), is a music teacher, usually a piano accompanist, who helps singers prepare for a performance, often also ...
es throughout their careers.


Voices

In its physical aspect, singing has a well-defined technique that depends on the use of the lungs, which act as an air supply or
bellows A bellow or pair of bellows is a device constructed to furnish a strong blast of air. The simplest type consists of a flexible bag comprising a pair of rigid boards with handles joined by flexible leather sides enclosing an approximately airtight ...
; on the
larynx The larynx (), commonly called the voice box, is an organ in the top of the neck involved in breathing, producing sound and protecting the trachea against food aspiration. The opening of larynx into pharynx is about 4 - 5 centimeters in diameter. ...

larynx
, which acts as a
reed Reed or Reeds may refer to: Science, technology, biology, and medicine * Reed bird (disambiguation) * Reed pen, writing implement in use since ancient times * Reed (plant), one of several tall, grass-like wetland plants of the order Poales * Reed ...
or vibrator; on the
chest The thorax or chest is a part of the anatomy of humans, mammals, other tetrapod animals located between the neck and the abdomen. In insects, crustaceans, and the extinct trilobites, the thorax is one of the three main divisions of the creature's ...
, head cavities and skeleton, which have the function of an
amplifier An amplifier, electronic amplifier or (informally) amp is an electronic device that can increase the power of a signal (a time-varying voltage or current). It is a two-port electronic circuit that uses electric power from a power supply to inc ...
, as the tube in a
wind instrument A wind instrument is a musical instrument that contains some type of resonator (usually a tube) in which a column of air is set into vibration by the player blowing into (or over) a mouthpiece set at or near the end of the resonator. The pitch ...
; and on the
tongue The tongue is a muscular organ in the mouth of a typical vertebrate. It manipulates food for mastication and swallowing as part of the digestive process, and is the primary organ of taste. The tongue's upper surface (dorsum) is covered by taste bu ...

tongue
, which together with the
palate The palate is the roof of the mouth in humans and other mammals. It separates the oral cavity from the nasal cavity. A similar structure is found in crocodilians, but in most other tetrapods, the oral and nasal cavities are not truly separated. ...
,
teeth A tooth (plural teeth) is a hard, calcified structure found in the jaws (or mouths) of many vertebrates and used to break down food. Some animals, particularly carnivores, also use teeth for hunting or for defensive purposes. The roots of teeth ...

teeth
, and lips articulate and impose
consonant In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the front of the tongue; , pronounced with the back of the ...
s and
vowel A vowel is a syllabic speech sound pronounced without any stricture in the vocal tract. Vowels are one of the two principal classes of speech sounds, the other being the consonant. Vowels vary in quality, in loudness and also in quantity (length ...
s on the amplified sound. Though these four mechanisms function independently, they are nevertheless coordinated in the establishment of a
vocal technique Vocal pedagogy is the study of the art and science of voice instruction. It is used in the teaching of singing and assists in defining what singing is, how singing works, and how proper singing technique is accomplished. Vocal pedagogy covers a b ...
and are made to interact upon one another. During passive breathing, air is inhaled with the diaphragm while exhalation occurs without any effort. Exhalation may be aided by the
abdominal The abdomen (colloquially called the belly, tummy, midriff or stomach) is the part of the body between the thorax (chest) and pelvis, in humans and in other vertebrates. The abdomen is the front part of the abdominal segment of the trunk. The area ...
, internal intercostal and lower pelvis/pelvic muscles. Inhalation is aided by use of external intercostals,
scalenes The scalene muscles are a group of three pairs of muscles in the lateral neck, namely the anterior scalene, middle scalene, and posterior scalene. They are innervated by the fourth, fifth, and sixth cervical spinal nerves (C4-C6). The anterior ...
, and sternocleidomastoid muscles. The
pitch Pitch may refer to: Acoustic frequency * Pitch (music), the perceived frequency of sound including "definite pitch" and "indefinite pitch" ** Absolute pitch or "perfect pitch" ** Pitch class, a set of all pitches that are a whole number of octaves ...
is altered with the
vocal cords In humans, vocal cords, also known as vocal chords, vocal folds or voice reeds, are folds of tissue in the throat that are key in creating sounds through vocalization. The size of vocal cords affects the pitch of voice. Open when breathing and ...
. With the lips closed, this is called
humming A hum is a sound made by producing a wordless tone with the mouth closed, forcing the sound to emerge from the nose. To hum is to produce such a sound, often with a melody. It is also associated with thoughtful absorption, 'hmm'. A hum has a pa ...
. The sound of each individual's singing voice is entirely unique not only because of the actual shape and size of an individual's
vocal cords In humans, vocal cords, also known as vocal chords, vocal folds or voice reeds, are folds of tissue in the throat that are key in creating sounds through vocalization. The size of vocal cords affects the pitch of voice. Open when breathing and ...
, but also due to the size and shape of the rest of that person's body. Humans have vocal folds which can loosen, tighten, or change their thickness, and over which breath can be transferred at varying pressures. The shape of the
chest The thorax or chest is a part of the anatomy of humans, mammals, other tetrapod animals located between the neck and the abdomen. In insects, crustaceans, and the extinct trilobites, the thorax is one of the three main divisions of the creature's ...
and
neck The neck is the part of the body on many vertebrates that connects the head with the torso and provides the mobility and movements of the head. The structures of the human neck are anatomically grouped into four compartments; vertebral, visceral a ...
, the position of the
tongue The tongue is a muscular organ in the mouth of a typical vertebrate. It manipulates food for mastication and swallowing as part of the digestive process, and is the primary organ of taste. The tongue's upper surface (dorsum) is covered by taste bu ...

tongue
, and the tightness of otherwise unrelated muscles can be altered. Any one of these actions results in a change in
pitch Pitch may refer to: Acoustic frequency * Pitch (music), the perceived frequency of sound including "definite pitch" and "indefinite pitch" ** Absolute pitch or "perfect pitch" ** Pitch class, a set of all pitches that are a whole number of octaves ...
, volume (
loudness 400px, The horizontal axis shows Hz">Hertz.html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="frequency in Hertz">Hz In acoustics, loudness is the Subjectivity, subjective perception of sound pressure. More formally, it is defin ...
),
timbre In music, timbre ( ), also known as tone color or tone quality (from psychoacoustics), is the perceived sound quality of a musical note, sound or tone. Timbre distinguishes different types of sound production, such as choir voices and musical i ...
, or tone of the sound produced. Sound also resonates within different parts of the body and an individual's size and bone structure can affect the sound produced by an individual. Singers can also learn to project sound in certain ways so that it resonates better within their vocal tract. This is known as
vocal resonationJamestown C. McKinney, a renowned vocal pedagogue and longtime professor of voice at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's school of church music, defines vocal resonance as "the process by which the basic product of phonation is enhanced in ti ...
. Another major influence on vocal sound and production is the function of the larynx which people can manipulate in different ways to produce different sounds. These different kinds of laryngeal function are described as different kinds of
vocal registers A vocal register is a range of tones in the human voice produced by a particular vibratory pattern of the vocal folds. These registers include modal voice (or normal voice), vocal fry, falsetto, and the whistle register. Registers originate in lary ...
.polka dots The primary method for singers to accomplish this is through the use of the Singer's Formant; which has been shown to match particularly well to the most sensitive part of the
ear's
ear's
frequency range. It has also been shown that a more powerful voice may be achieved with a fatter and fluid-like vocal fold mucosa. The more pliable the mucosa, the more efficient the transfer of energy from the airflow to the vocal folds.


Vocal registration

''Vocal registration'' refers to the system of vocal registers within the voice. A register in the voice is a particular series of tones, produced in the same vibratory pattern of the
vocal fold In humans, vocal cords, also known as vocal chords, vocal folds or voice reeds, are folds of tissue in the throat that are key in creating sounds through vocalization. The size of vocal cords affects the pitch of voice. Open when breathing and ...
s, and possessing the same quality. Registers originate in
laryngeal
laryngeal
function. They occur because the vocal folds are capable of producing several different vibratory patterns. Each of these vibratory patterns appears within a particular
range Range may refer to: Geography * Range (geographic), a chain of hills or mountains; a somewhat linear, complex mountainous or hilly area (cordillera, sierra) ** Mountain range, a group of mountains bordered by lowlands * Range, a term used to ide ...
of pitches and produces certain characteristic sounds. The occurrence of registers has also been attributed to effects of the acoustic interaction between the vocal fold oscillation and the vocal tract. The term "register" can be somewhat confusing as it encompasses several aspects of the voice. The term register can be used to refer to any of the following: * A particular part of the
vocal range Vocal range is the range of pitches that a human voice can phonate. Its most common application is within the context of singing, where it is used as a defining characteristic for classifying singing voices into voice types. It is also a topic of ...
such as the upper, middle, or lower registers. * A
resonance Resonance describes the phenomenon of increased amplitude that occurs when the frequency of a periodically applied force (or a Fourier component of it) is equal or close to a natural frequency of the system on which it acts. When an oscillati ...

resonance
area such as
chest voiceChest voice is a term used within vocal music. The use of this term varies widely within vocal pedagogical circles and there is currently no one consistent opinion among vocal music professionals in regard to this term. Chest voice can be used in rel ...
or
head voiceHead voice is a term used within vocal music. The use of this term varies widely within vocal pedagogical circles and there is currently no one consistent opinion among vocal music professionals in regard to this term. Head voice can be used in relat ...
. * A
phonatory The term phonation has slightly different meanings depending on the subfield of phonetics. Among some phoneticians, ''phonation'' is the process by which the vocal folds produce certain sounds through quasi-periodic vibration. This is the definit ...
process (phonation is the process of producing vocal sound by the vibration of the vocal folds that is in turn modified by the resonance of the vocal tract) * A certain vocal
timbre In music, timbre ( ), also known as tone color or tone quality (from psychoacoustics), is the perceived sound quality of a musical note, sound or tone. Timbre distinguishes different types of sound production, such as choir voices and musical i ...
or vocal "color" * A region of the voice which is defined or delimited by vocal breaks. In
linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include phonetics, phonology, morp ...
, a register language is a language which combines
tone Tone may refer to: Color-related * Tone, mix of tint and shade, in painting and color theory * Tone, the lightness or brightness (as well as darkness) of a colour * Toning (coin), colour change in coins * Photographic print toning, a process tha ...
and vowel
phonation The term phonation has slightly different meanings depending on the subfield of phonetics. Among some phoneticians, ''phonation'' is the process by which the vocal folds produce certain sounds through quasi-periodic vibration. This is the definit ...
into a single
phonological Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds (or signs, in sign languages). The term also refers to the sound system of any particular language variety. At one time, the study o ...
system. Within
speech pathology Speech is human vocal communication using language. Each language uses phonetic combinations of vowel and consonant sounds that form the sound of its words (that is, all English words sound different from all French words, even if they are the s ...
, the term vocal register has three constituent elements: a certain vibratory pattern of the vocal folds, a certain series of pitches, and a certain type of sound. Speech pathologists identify four vocal registers based on the physiology of laryngeal function: the
vocal fry register The vocal fry register (also known as pulse register, laryngealization, pulse phonation, creak, croak, popcorning, glottal fry, glottal rattle, glottal scrape) is the lowest vocal register and is produced through a loose glottal closure that permit ...
, the modal register, the
falsetto register ''Falsetto'' (, ; Italian diminutive of , "false") is the vocal register occupying the frequency range just above the modal voice register and overlapping with it by approximately one octave. It is produced by the vibration of the ligamentous edg ...
, and the
whistle register The whistle register (also called the flute register or flageolet register) is the highest register of the human voice, lying above the modal register and falsetto register. This register has a specific physiological production that is different fr ...
. This view is also adopted by many vocal pedagogues.


Vocal resonation

Vocal resonation is the process by which the basic product of phonation is enhanced in timbre and/or intensity by the air-filled cavities through which it passes on its way to the outside air. Various terms related to the resonation process include amplification, enrichment, enlargement, improvement, intensification, and prolongation, although in strictly scientific usage acoustic authorities would question most of them. The main point to be drawn from these terms by a singer or speaker is that the end result of resonation is, or should be, to make a better sound. There are seven areas that may be listed as possible vocal resonators. In sequence from the lowest within the body to the highest, these areas are the
chest The thorax or chest is a part of the anatomy of humans, mammals, other tetrapod animals located between the neck and the abdomen. In insects, crustaceans, and the extinct trilobites, the thorax is one of the three main divisions of the creature's ...
, the tracheal tree, the
larynx The larynx (), commonly called the voice box, is an organ in the top of the neck involved in breathing, producing sound and protecting the trachea against food aspiration. The opening of larynx into pharynx is about 4 - 5 centimeters in diameter. ...

larynx
itself, the
pharynx The pharynx (plural: pharynges) is the part of the throat behind the mouth and nasal cavity, and above the esophagus and trachea – the tubes going down to the stomach and the lungs. It is found in vertebrates and invertebrates, though its struct ...
, the
oral cavity In animal anatomy, the mouth, also known as the oral cavity, buccal cavity, or in Latin cavum oris, is the opening through which many animals take in food and issue vocal sounds. It is also the cavity lying at the upper end of the alimentary canal ...
, the
nasal cavity The nasal cavity is a large, air-filled space above and behind the nose in the middle of the face. The nasal septum divides the cavity into two cavities, also known as fossae. Each cavity is the continuation of one of the two nostrils. The nasal ca ...
, and the
sinuses Paranasal sinuses are a group of four paired air-filled spaces that surround the nasal cavity. The maxillary sinuses are located under the eyes; the frontal sinuses are above the eyes; the ethmoidal sinuses are between the eyes and the sphenoidal s ...
.


Chest voice and head voice

''Chest voice'' and ''head voice'' are terms used within
vocal music Vocal music is a type of singing performed by one or more singers, either with instrumental accompaniment, or without instrumental accompaniment (a cappella), in which singing provides the main focus of the piece. Music which employs singing but do ...
. The use of these terms varies widely within vocal pedagogical circles and there is currently no one consistent opinion among vocal music professionals in regards to these terms. Chest voice can be used in relation to a particular part of the
vocal range Vocal range is the range of pitches that a human voice can phonate. Its most common application is within the context of singing, where it is used as a defining characteristic for classifying singing voices into voice types. It is also a topic of ...
or type of
vocal register A vocal register is a range of tones in the human voice produced by a particular vibratory pattern of the vocal folds. These registers include modal voice (or normal voice), vocal fry, falsetto, and the whistle register. Registers originate in lary ...
; a
vocal resonanceJamestown C. McKinney, a renowned vocal pedagogue and longtime professor of voice at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's school of church music, defines vocal resonance as "the process by which the basic product of phonation is enhanced in ti ...
area; or a specific vocal timbre. Head voice can be used in relation to a particular part of the
vocal range Vocal range is the range of pitches that a human voice can phonate. Its most common application is within the context of singing, where it is used as a defining characteristic for classifying singing voices into voice types. It is also a topic of ...
or type of
vocal register A vocal register is a range of tones in the human voice produced by a particular vibratory pattern of the vocal folds. These registers include modal voice (or normal voice), vocal fry, falsetto, and the whistle register. Registers originate in lary ...
or a
vocal resonanceJamestown C. McKinney, a renowned vocal pedagogue and longtime professor of voice at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's school of church music, defines vocal resonance as "the process by which the basic product of phonation is enhanced in ti ...
area. In Men, the head voice is commonly referred to as the falsetto.


History and development

The first recorded mention of the terms chest voice and head voice was around the 13th century when it was distinguished from the "throat voice" (pectoris, guttoris, capitis—at this time it is likely that head voice referred to the
falsetto register ''Falsetto'' (, ; Italian diminutive of , "false") is the vocal register occupying the frequency range just above the modal voice register and overlapping with it by approximately one octave. It is produced by the vibration of the ligamentous edg ...
) by the writers Johannes de Garlandia and
Jerome of Moravia Jerome of Moravia (or Hieronymus de Moravia) (died after 1271) was a medieval music theorist. He was a Dominican friar. His origin is unknown, but he is believed to have worked in Paris at the Dominican convent on the Rue Saint-Jacques. He most like ...
. The terms were later adopted within
bel canto Bel canto (Italian for "beautiful singing" or "beautiful song", )—with several similar constructions (''bellezze del canto'', ''bell'arte del canto'')—is a term with several meanings that relate to Italian singing.Stark 2003, p. ? The phrase ...
, the Italian opera singing method, where chest voice was identified as the lowest and head voice the highest of three vocal registers: the chest,
passagio Passaggio () is a term used in classical singing to describe the transition area between the vocal registers. The ''passaggi'' (plural) of the voice lie between the different vocal registers, such as the chest voice, where any singer can produce a ...
, and head registers. This approach is still taught by some
vocal pedagogists Vocal pedagogy is the study of the art and science of voice instruction. It is used in the teaching of singing and assists in defining what singing is, how singing works, and how proper singing technique is accomplished. Vocal pedagogy covers a b ...
today. Another current popular approach that is based on the bel canto model is to divide both men and women's voices into three registers. Men's voices are divided into "chest register", "head register", and "falsetto register" and woman's voices into "chest register", "middle register", and "head register". Such pedagogists teach that the head register is a
vocal The human voice consists of sound made by a human being using the vocal tract, including talking, singing, laughing, crying, screaming, shouting, or yelling. The human voice frequency is specifically a part of human sound production in which the ...
technique used in singing to describe the resonance felt in the singer's head. However, as knowledge of physiology has increased over the past two hundred years, so has the understanding of the physical process of singing and vocal production. As a result, many vocal pedagogists, such as Ralph Appelman at
Indiana University Indiana University (IU) is a system of public universities in the state of Indiana. Indiana University has a combined student body of more than 110,000 students, which includes approximately 46,000 students enrolled at the Indiana University Bloo ...
and
William Vennard William Vennard (31 January 1909 Normal, Illinois – 10 January 1971 Los Angeles, California) was a famous American vocal pedagogist who devoted his life to researching the human voice and its use in singing. He was one of the driving forces be ...
at the
University of Southern California#REDIRECT University of Southern California ...
, have redefined or even abandoned the use of the terms chest voice and head voice. In particular, the use of the terms ''chest register'' and ''head register'' have become controversial since
vocal registration A vocal register is a range of tones in the human voice produced by a particular vibratory pattern of the vocal folds. These registers include modal voice (or normal voice), vocal fry, falsetto, and the whistle register. Registers originate in lary ...
is more commonly seen today as a product of function that is unrelated to the physiology of the chest, lungs, and head. For this reason, many vocal pedagogists argue that it is meaningless to speak of registers being produced in the chest or head. They argue that the vibratory sensations which are felt in these areas are resonance phenomena and should be described in terms related to
vocal resonanceJamestown C. McKinney, a renowned vocal pedagogue and longtime professor of voice at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's school of church music, defines vocal resonance as "the process by which the basic product of phonation is enhanced in ti ...
, not to registers. These vocal pedagogists prefer the terms ''chest voice'' and ''head voice'' over the term register. This view believes that the problems which people identify as register problems are really problems of resonance adjustment. This view is also in alignment with the views of other academic fields that study vocal registration including
speech pathology Speech is human vocal communication using language. Each language uses phonetic combinations of vowel and consonant sounds that form the sound of its words (that is, all English words sound different from all French words, even if they are the s ...
,
phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, the equivalent aspects of sign. Phoneticians—linguists who specialize in phonetics—study the physical properties of sp ...
, and
linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include phonetics, phonology, morp ...
. Although both methods are still in use, current vocal pedagogical practice tends to adopt the newer more scientific view. Also, some vocal pedagogists take ideas from both viewpoints. The contemporary use of the term chest voice often refers to a specific kind of vocal coloration or vocal timbre. In classical singing, its use is limited entirely to the lower part of the modal register or normal voice. Within other forms of singing, chest voice is often applied throughout the modal register. Chest timbre can add a wonderful array of sounds to a singer's vocal interpretive palette. However, the use of overly strong chest voice in the higher registers in an attempt to hit higher notes in the chest can lead to forcing. Forcing can lead consequently to vocal deterioration.


Classifying singing voices

In
European classical music Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western culture, including both liturgical (religious) and secular music. Historically, the term 'classical music' refers specifically to the musical period from 1750 to 1820 (t ...
and
opera Opera is a form of theatre in which music is a fundamental component and dramatic roles are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theatre. Such a "work" (the literal translation of the Italian word "opera") is typically a collaborati ...
, voices are treated like
musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. A person who play ...
s.
Composers A composer (Latin ''compōnō''; literally "one who puts together") is a person who writes music, especially classical music in any form, including vocal music (for a singer or choir), instrumental music, electronic music, and music which combine ...
who write vocal music must have an understanding of the skills, talents, and vocal properties of singers. Voice classification is the process by which human singing voices are evaluated and are thereby designated into
voice types The human voice consists of sound made by a human being using the vocal tract, including talking, singing, laughing, crying, screaming, shouting, or yelling. The human voice frequency is specifically a part of human sound production in which the ...
. These qualities include but are not limited to
vocal range Vocal range is the range of pitches that a human voice can phonate. Its most common application is within the context of singing, where it is used as a defining characteristic for classifying singing voices into voice types. It is also a topic of ...
,
vocal weightVocal weight refers to the perceived "lightness" or "heaviness" of a singing voice. This quality of the voice is one of the major determining factors in voice classification within classical music. Lighter voices are often associated with the term " ...
, vocal tessitura, vocal
timbre In music, timbre ( ), also known as tone color or tone quality (from psychoacoustics), is the perceived sound quality of a musical note, sound or tone. Timbre distinguishes different types of sound production, such as choir voices and musical i ...
, and vocal transition points such as breaks and lifts within the voice. Other considerations are physical characteristics, speech level, scientific testing, and
vocal registration A vocal register is a range of tones in the human voice produced by a particular vibratory pattern of the vocal folds. These registers include modal voice (or normal voice), vocal fry, falsetto, and the whistle register. Registers originate in lary ...
. The science behind voice classification developed within European
classical music Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western culture, including both liturgical (religious) and secular music. Historically, the term 'classical music' refers specifically to the musical period from 1750 to 1820 (t ...
has been slow in adapting to more modern forms of singing. Voice classification is often used within
opera Opera is a form of theatre in which music is a fundamental component and dramatic roles are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theatre. Such a "work" (the literal translation of the Italian word "opera") is typically a collaborati ...
to associate possible roles with potential voices. There are currently several different systems in use within classical music including the German ''
Fach The German system (; literally "compartment" or "subject of study", here in the sense of "vocal specialization") is a method of classifying singers, primarily opera singers, according to the range, weight, and color of their voices. It is used wo ...
'' system and the choral music system among many others. No system is universally applied or accepted. However, most classical music systems acknowledge seven different major voice categories. Women are typically divided into three groups:
soprano A soprano () is a type of classical female singing voice and has the highest vocal range of all voice types. The soprano's vocal range (using scientific pitch notation) is from approximately middle C (C4) = 261 Hz to "high A" (A5) = 880&nbs ...
,
mezzo-soprano A mezzo-soprano or mezzo (; ; meaning "half soprano") is a type of classical female singing voice whose vocal range lies between the soprano and the contralto voice types. The mezzo-soprano's vocal range usually extends from the A below middle C to ...
, and
contralto A contralto () is a type of classical female singing voice whose vocal range is the lowest female voice type. The contralto's vocal range is fairly rare; similar to the mezzo-soprano, and almost identical to that of a countertenor, typically betw ...
. Men are usually divided into four groups:
countertenor A countertenor (also contra tenor) is a type of classical male singing voice whose vocal range is equivalent to that of the female contralto or mezzo-soprano voice types, generally extending from around G3 to D5 or E5, although a sopranist (a speci ...
,
tenor A tenor is a type of classical male singing voice whose vocal range lies between the countertenor and baritone voice types. It is one of the highest of the male voice types. The tenor's vocal range extends up to C5. The low extreme for tenors i ...
,
baritone A baritone is a type of classical male singing voice whose vocal range lies between the bass and the tenor voice-types. The term originates from the Greek (), meaning "heavy sounding". Composers typically write music for this voice in the range ...
, and bass. When considering voices of pre-pubescent children an eighth term,
treble Treble may refer to: In music: *Treble (sound), tones of high frequency or range, the counterpart of bass *Treble voice, a choirboy or choirgirl singing in the soprano range *Treble (musical group), a three-piece girl group from the Netherlands *Tr ...
, can be applied. Within each of these major categories, there are several sub-categories that identify specific vocal qualities like
coloratura Coloratura is an elaborate melody with runs, trills, wide leaps, or similar virtuoso-like material,''Oxford American Dictionaries''.Apel (1969), p. 184. or a passage of such music. Operatic roles in which such music plays a prominent part, and sin ...
facility and
vocal weightVocal weight refers to the perceived "lightness" or "heaviness" of a singing voice. This quality of the voice is one of the major determining factors in voice classification within classical music. Lighter voices are often associated with the term " ...
to differentiate between voices. Within
choral music A choir (; also known as a chorale or chorus) is a musical ensemble of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the music written specifically for such an ensemble to perform. Choirs may perform music from the classical music repertoire, which spans f ...
, singers' voices are divided solely on the basis of
vocal range Vocal range is the range of pitches that a human voice can phonate. Its most common application is within the context of singing, where it is used as a defining characteristic for classifying singing voices into voice types. It is also a topic of ...
. Choral music most commonly divides vocal parts into high and low voices within each sex (SATB, or soprano, alto, tenor, and bass/). As a result, the typical choral situation gives many opportunities for misclassification to occur. Since most people have medium voices, they must be assigned to a part that is either too high or too low for them; the mezzo-soprano must sing soprano or alto and the baritone must sing tenor or bass. Either option can present problems for the singer, but for most singers, there are fewer dangers in singing too low than in singing too high. Within contemporary forms of music (sometimes referred to as
contemporary commercial musicContemporary commercial music or CCM is a term used by some vocal pedagogists in the United States of America to refer to non-classical music. This term encompasses jazz, pop, blues, soul, country, folk, and rock styles. The Emergence of Contemporar ...
), singers are classified by the style of music they sing, such as jazz, pop, blues, soul, country, folk, and rock styles. There is currently no authoritative voice classification system within non-classical music. Attempts have been made to adopt classical voice type terms to other forms of singing but such attempts have been met with controversy. The development of voice categorizations were made with the understanding that the singer would be using classical vocal technique within a specified range using unamplified (no microphones) vocal production. Since contemporary musicians use different vocal techniques, microphones, and are not forced to fit into a specific vocal role, applying such terms as soprano, tenor, baritone, etc. can be misleading or even inaccurate.


Vocal pedagogy

Vocal pedagogy is the study of the teaching of singing. The art and science of vocal pedagogy has a long history that began in
Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of antiquity ( AD 600). This era was immediately followed by the Early Middle ...
and continues to develop and change today. Professions that practice the art and science of vocal pedagogy include
vocal coaches A vocal coach, also known as a voice coach (though this term often applies to those working with speech and communication rather than singing), is a music teacher, usually a piano accompanist, who helps singers prepare for a performance, often also ...
, choral directors, vocal music educators,
opera directors Opera is a form of theatre in which music is a fundamental component and dramatic roles are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theatre. Such a "work" (the literal translation of the Italian word "opera") is typically a collaborati ...
, and other teachers of singing. Vocal pedagogy concepts are a part of developing proper
vocal technique Vocal pedagogy is the study of the art and science of voice instruction. It is used in the teaching of singing and assists in defining what singing is, how singing works, and how proper singing technique is accomplished. Vocal pedagogy covers a b ...
. Typical areas of study include the following: *
Anatomy Anatomy (Greek ''anatomē'', 'dissection') is the branch of biology concerned with the study of the structure of organisms and their parts. Anatomy is a branch of natural science which deals with the structural organization of living things. It ...
and physiology as it relates to the physical process of singing ** Vocal health and
voice disordersVoice disordersTitze, I.R. (1994). Principles of Voice Production, Prentice Hall, . are medical conditions involving abnormal pitch, loudness or quality of the sound produced by the larynx and thereby affecting speech production. These include: * * ...
related to singing ** Breathing and air support for singing **
Phonation The term phonation has slightly different meanings depending on the subfield of phonetics. Among some phoneticians, ''phonation'' is the process by which the vocal folds produce certain sounds through quasi-periodic vibration. This is the definit ...
**
Vocal resonationJamestown C. McKinney, a renowned vocal pedagogue and longtime professor of voice at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's school of church music, defines vocal resonance as "the process by which the basic product of phonation is enhanced in ti ...
or
Voice projection Voice projection is the strength of speaking or singing whereby the voice is used powerfully and clearly. It is a technique employed to command respect and attention, as when a teacher talks to a class, or simply to be heard clearly, as used by an ...
**
Vocal registration A vocal register is a range of tones in the human voice produced by a particular vibratory pattern of the vocal folds. These registers include modal voice (or normal voice), vocal fry, falsetto, and the whistle register. Registers originate in lary ...
: a particular series of tones, produced in the same vibratory pattern of the vocal folds, and possessing the same quality, which originate in laryngeal function, because each of these vibratory patterns appears within a particular range of pitches and produces certain characteristic sounds. **
Voice classification The human voice consists of sound made by a human being using the vocal tract, including talking, singing, laughing, crying, screaming, shouting, or yelling. The human voice frequency is specifically a part of human sound production in which the ...
* Vocal styles: for classical singers, this includes styles ranging from Lieder to
opera Opera is a form of theatre in which music is a fundamental component and dramatic roles are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theatre. Such a "work" (the literal translation of the Italian word "opera") is typically a collaborati ...
; for pop singers, styles can include belt (music), "belted out" a blues ballads; for jazz singers, styles can include Swing ballads and scatting. ** Techniques used in styles such as sostenuto and legato, range extension, tone quality, vibrato, and
coloratura Coloratura is an elaborate melody with runs, trills, wide leaps, or similar virtuoso-like material,''Oxford American Dictionaries''.Apel (1969), p. 184. or a passage of such music. Operatic roles in which such music plays a prominent part, and sin ...


Vocal technique

Singing when done with proper vocal technique is an integrated and coordinated act that effectively coordinates the physical processes of singing. There are four physical processes involved in producing vocal sound: Breathing, respiration,
phonation The term phonation has slightly different meanings depending on the subfield of phonetics. Among some phoneticians, ''phonation'' is the process by which the vocal folds produce certain sounds through quasi-periodic vibration. This is the definit ...
, vocal resonation, resonation, and Place of articulation, articulation. These processes occur in the following sequence: # Breath is taken # Sound is initiated in the
larynx The larynx (), commonly called the voice box, is an organ in the top of the neck involved in breathing, producing sound and protecting the trachea against food aspiration. The opening of larynx into pharynx is about 4 - 5 centimeters in diameter. ...

larynx
# The vocal resonators receive the sound and influence it # The articulators shape the sound into recognizable units Although these four processes are often considered separately when studied, in actual practice, they merge into one coordinated function. With an effective singer or speaker, one should rarely be reminded of the process involved as their mind and body are so coordinated that one only perceives the resulting unified function. Many vocal problems result from a lack of coordination within this process. Since singing is a coordinated act, it is difficult to discuss any of the individual technical areas and processes without relating them to others. For example, phonation only comes into perspective when it is connected with respiration; the articulators affect resonance; the resonators affect the vocal folds; the vocal folds affect breath control; and so forth. Vocal problems are often a result of a breakdown in one part of this coordinated process which causes voice teachers to frequently focus intensively on one area of the process with their student until that issue is resolved. However, some areas of the art of singing are so much the result of coordinated functions that it is hard to discuss them under a traditional heading like phonation, resonation, articulation, or respiration. Once the voice student has become aware of the physical processes that make up the act of singing and of how those processes function, the student begins the task of trying to coordinate them. Inevitably, students and teachers will become more concerned with one area of the technique than another. The various processes may progress at different rates, with a resulting imbalance or lack of coordination. The areas of vocal technique which seem to depend most strongly on the student's ability to coordinate various functions are: : # Extending the
vocal range Vocal range is the range of pitches that a human voice can phonate. Its most common application is within the context of singing, where it is used as a defining characteristic for classifying singing voices into voice types. It is also a topic of ...
to its maximum potential # Developing consistent vocal production with a consistent tone quality # Developing flexibility and agility # Achieving a balanced vibrato #A blend of chest and head voice on every note of the range


Developing the singing voice

Singing is a skill that requires highly developed muscle reflexes. Singing does not require much muscle strength but it does require a high degree of muscle coordination. Individuals can develop their voices further through the careful and systematic practice of both songs and vocal exercises. Vocal exercises have several purposes, including warming up the voice; extending the vocal range; "lining up" the voice horizontally and vertically; and acquiring vocal techniques such as legato, staccato, control of dynamics, rapid figurations, learning to sing wide intervals comfortably, singing trills, singing melismas and correcting vocal faults. Vocal pedagogists instruct their students to exercise their voices in an intelligent manner. Singers should be thinking constantly about the kind of sound they are making and the kind of sensations they are feeling while they are singing. Learning to sing is an activity that benefits from the involvement of an instructor. A singer does not hear the same sounds inside his or her head that others hear outside. Therefore, having a guide who can tell a student what kinds of sounds he or she is producing guides a singer to understand which of the internal sounds correspond to the desired sounds required by the style of singing the student aims to re-create.


Health benefits


Physical

1. Works the lungs, tones up the intercostals and diaphragm. 2. Improves sleep 3. Benefits cardio function by improving aerobic capacity 4. Relaxes overall muscle tension 5. Improves posture. 6. Opens up sinuses and respiratory tubes 7. With training, it could help decrease snoring 8. Releases endorphins 9. Boosts immune system 10. Helps improve physical balance in people affected by illnesses such as Parkinson's disease


Extending vocal range

An important goal of vocal development is to learn to sing to the natural limits of one's vocal range without any obvious or distracting changes of quality or technique. Vocal pedagogists teach that a singer can only achieve this goal when all of the physical processes involved in singing (such as laryngeal action, breath support, resonance adjustment, and articulatory movement) are effectively working together. Most vocal pedagogists believe in coordinating these processes by (1) establishing good vocal habits in the most comfortable tessitura of the voice, and then (2) slowly expanding the range. There are three factors that significantly affect the ability to sing higher or lower: # The ''energy'' factor – "energy" has several connotations. It refers to the total response of the body to the making of sound; to a dynamic relationship between the breathing-in muscles and the breathing-out muscles known as the breath support mechanism; to the amount of breath pressure delivered to the vocal folds and their resistance to that pressure; and to the dynamic level of the sound. # The ''space'' factor – "space" refers to the size of the inside of the mouth and the position of the palate and larynx. Generally speaking, a singer's mouth should be opened wider the higher he or she sings. The internal space or position of the soft palate and larynx can be widened by relaxing the throat. Vocal pedagogists describe this as feeling like the "beginning of a yawn". # The ''depth'' factor – "depth" has two connotations. It refers to the actual physical sensations of depth in the body and vocal mechanism, and to mental concepts of depth that are related to tone quality. McKinney says, "These three factors can be expressed in three basic rules: (1) As you sing higher, you must use more energy; as you sing lower, you must use less. (2) As you sing higher, you must use more space; as you sing lower, you must use less. (3) As you sing higher, you must use more depth; as you sing lower, you must use less."


Posture

The singing process functions best when certain physical conditions of the body are put in place. The ability to move air in and out of the body freely and to obtain the needed quantity of air can be seriously affected by the posture of the various parts of the breathing mechanism. A sunken chest position will limit the capacity of the lungs, and a tense abdominal wall will inhibit the downward travel of the diaphragm. Good posture allows the breathing mechanism to fulfill its basic function efficiently without any undue expenditure of energy. Good posture also makes it easier to initiate phonation and to tune the resonators as proper alignment prevents unnecessary tension in the body. Vocal pedagogists have also noted that when singers assume good posture it often provides them with a greater sense of self-assurance and poise while performing. Audiences also tend to respond better to singers with good posture. Habitual good posture also ultimately improves the overall health of the body by enabling better blood circulation and preventing fatigue and stress on the body. There are eight components of the ideal singing posture: # Feet slightly apart # Legs straight but knees slightly bent # Hips facing straight forward # Spine aligned # Abdomen flat # Chest comfortably forward # Shoulders down and back # Head facing straight forward


Breathing and breath support

Natural breathing has three stages: a breathing-in period, breathing out period, and a resting or recovery period; these stages are not usually consciously controlled. Within singing, there are four stages of breathing: a breathing-in period (inhalation); a setting up controls period (suspension); a controlled exhalation period (phonation); and a recovery period. These stages must be under conscious control by the singer until they become conditioned reflexes. Many singers abandon conscious controls before their reflexes are fully conditioned which ultimately leads to chronic vocal problems.


Vibrato

Vibrato is a technique in which a sustained note wavers very quickly and consistently between a higher and a lower pitch, giving the note a slight quaver. Vibrato is the pulse or wave in a sustained tone. Vibrato occurs naturally and is the result of proper breath support and a relaxed vocal apparatus. Some studies have shown that vibrato is the result of a neuromuscular tremor in the vocal folds. In 1922 Max Schoen was the first to make the comparison of vibrato to a tremor due to change in amplitude, lack of automatic control and it being half the rate of normal muscular discharge. Some singers use vibrato as a means of expression. Many successful artists can sing a deep, rich vibrato.


Extended vocal technique

Extended vocal techniques include rapping, screaming, growling, overtones, falsetto, yodeling, using a microphone and sound system, among others.


Vocal music

Vocal music is
music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the universal cultural aspects of all human societies. General definitions of music include common e ...
performed by one or more singers, which are typically called
song A song is a musical composition intended to be performed by the human voice. This is often done at distinct and fixed pitches (melodies) using patterns of sound and silence. Songs contain various forms, such as those including the repetition a ...
s, and which may be performed with or without musical instruments, instrumental accompaniment, in which singing provides the main focus of the piece. Vocal music is probably the oldest form of music since it does not require any instrument or equipment besides the voice. All musical cultures have some form of vocal music and there are many long-standing singing traditions throughout the world's cultures. Music which employs singing but does not feature it prominently is generally considered instrumental music. For example, some blues rock songs may have a short, simple call-and-response chorus, but the emphasis in the song is on the instrumental melodies and improvisation. Vocal music typically features sung words called lyrics, although there are notable examples of vocal music that are performed using non-linguistic syllables or noises, sometimes as musical onomatopoeia. A short piece of vocal music with lyrics is broadly termed a
song A song is a musical composition intended to be performed by the human voice. This is often done at distinct and fixed pitches (melodies) using patterns of sound and silence. Songs contain various forms, such as those including the repetition a ...
, although, in
classical music Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western culture, including both liturgical (religious) and secular music. Historically, the term 'classical music' refers specifically to the musical period from 1750 to 1820 (t ...
, terms such as
aria In music, an aria (; it, air, links=no; plural: ''arie'' , or ''arias'' in common usage, diminutive form arietta , plural ariette, or in English simply air) is a self-contained piece for one voice, with or without instrumental or orchestral accom ...

aria
are typically used.


Genres of vocal music

Vocal music is written in many different forms and styles which are often labeled within a particular genre of music. These genres include Hindustani classical music, Indian classical music, Art music,
popular music#REDIRECT Popular music#REDIRECT Popular music {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{R from other capitalisation ...
,
traditional music Folk music includes traditional folk music and the genre that evolved from it during the 20th-century folk revival. Some types of folk music may be called world music. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted ...
, regional and national music, and fusion genre, fusions of those genres. Within these larger genres are many subgenres. For example, popular music would encompass
blues Blues is a music genre and musical form which was originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1860s by African-Americans from roots in African-American work songs, and spirituals. Blues incorporated spirituals, work songs, fiel ...
,
jazz Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with its roots in blues and ragtime. Since the 1920s Jazz Age, it has been recognize ...
, country music, easy listening, Hip hop music, hip hop, rock music, and several other genres. There may also be a subgenre within a subgenre such as vocalese and scat singing in jazz.


Popular and traditional music

In many modern pop musical groups, a lead singer performs the primary vocals or melody of a
song A song is a musical composition intended to be performed by the human voice. This is often done at distinct and fixed pitches (melodies) using patterns of sound and silence. Songs contain various forms, such as those including the repetition a ...
, as opposed to a Backing vocalist, backing singer who sings backup vocals or the harmony of a song. Backing vocalists sing some, but usually, not all, parts of the song often singing only in a song's refrain or Hum (sound), humming in the background. An exception is five-part
gospel Gospel originally meant the Christian message, but in the 2nd century it came to be used also for the books in which the message was set out; in this sense a gospel can be defined as a loose-knit, episodic narrative of the words and deeds of Jesus ...
a cappella music, where the lead is the highest of the five voices and sings a descant and not the melody. Some artists may sing both the lead and backing vocals on audio recordings by overlapping recorded vocal tracks. Popular music includes a range of vocal styles. Hip-hop uses rapping, the rhythmic delivery of rhymes in a rhythmic speech over a beats (music), beat or without accompaniment. Some types of rapping consist mostly or entirely of speech and chanting, like the Jamaican "Deejay (Jamaican), toasting". In some types of rapping, the performers may interpolate short sung or half-sung passages. Blues singing is based on the use of the blue notes–notes sung at a slightly lower pitch than that of the major scale for expressive purposes. In heavy metal music, heavy metal and hardcore punk subgenres, vocal styles can include techniques such as screaming (music), screams, shouts, and unusual sounds such as the "death growl". One difference between live performances in the popular and Classical genres is that whereas Classical performers often sing without amplification in small- to mid-size halls, in popular music, a microphone and PA system (amplifier and speakers) are used in almost all performance venues, even a small coffee house. The use of the microphone has had several impacts on popular music. For one, it facilitated the development of intimate, expressive singing styles such as "crooning" which would not have enough projection and volume if done without a microphone. As well, pop singers who use microphones can do a range of other vocal styles that would not project without amplification, such as making whispering sounds, humming, and mixing half-sung and sung tones. As well, some performers use the microphone's response patterns to create effects, such as bringing the mic very close to the mouth to get an enhanced bass response, or, in the case of hip-hop beatboxers, doing plosive "p" and "b" sounds into the mic to create percussive effects. In the 2000s, controversy arose over the widespread use of electronic Auto-Tune pitch correction devices with recorded and live popular music vocals. Controversy has also arisen due to cases where pop singers have been found to be lip-syncing in music, lip-syncing to a pre-recorded recording of their vocal performance or, in the case of the controversial act Milli Vanilli, lip-syncing to tracks recorded by other uncredited singers. While some bands use backup singers who only sing when they are on stage, it is common for backup singers in popular music to have other roles. In many
rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology), a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals or mineraloids * Rock music, a genre of popular music Rock or Rocks may also refer to: Places United Kingdom * Rock, Caerphilly, a location in Wales ...
and Heavy metal music, metal bands, the musicians doing backup vocals also play instruments, such as rhythm guitar, electric bass, or drums. In Music of Latin America, Latin or Music of Cuba#African heritage, Afro-Cuban groups, backup singers may play percussion instruments or shakers while singing. In some pop and hip-hop groups and in musical theater, the backup singers may be required to perform elaborately choreographed dance routines while they sing through headset microphones.


Careers

The salaries and working conditions for vocalists vary a great deal. While jobs in other music fields such as music education choir conductors tend to be based on full-time, salaried positions, singing jobs tend to be based on contracts for individual shows or performances, or for a sequence of shows Aspiring singers and vocalists must have musical skills, an excellent voice, the ability to work with people, and a sense of showmanship and drama. Additionally, singers need to have the ambition and drive to continually study and improve, Professional singers continue to seek out
vocal coach A vocal coach, also known as a voice coach (though this term often applies to those working with speech and communication rather than singing), is a music teacher, usually a piano accompanist, who helps singers prepare for a performance, often also ...
ing to hone their skills, extend their range, and learn new styles. As well, aspiring singers need to gain specialized skills in the vocal techniques used to interpret songs, learn about the vocal literature from their chosen style of music, and gain skills in choral music techniques, sight singing and memorizing songs, and vocal exercises. Some singers learn other music jobs, such as the Composing (music), composing, Music Producer, music producing and songwriting. Some singers put videos on YouTube and Streaming media, streaming apps. Singers market themselves to buyers of vocal talent, by doing auditions in front of a music director. Depending on the style of vocal music that a person has trained in, the "talent buyers" that they seek out may be record company, A&R representatives, music directors, choir directors, nightclub managers, or concert promoters. A CD or DVD with excerpts of vocal performances is used to demonstrate a singer's skills. Some singers hire an agent or manager to help them to seek out paid engagements and other performance opportunities; the agent or manager is often paid by receiving a percentage of the fees that the singer gets from performing onstage.


Singing competitions

There are many television shows that showcase singing. ''American Idol'' was launched in 2002. The first singing reality show was ''Sa Re Ga Ma Pa'' launched by Zee TV in the 1995. At the ''American Idol'' Contestants audition in front of a panel of judges to see if they can move on to the next round in Hollywood, from then, the competition begins. The field of contestants is narrowed down week by week until a winner is chosen. To move on to the next round, the contestants' fate is determined by a vote by viewers. ''The Voice (U.S. TV series), The Voice'' is another singing competition program. Similar to ''American Idol'', the contestants audition in front of a panel of judges, however, the judges' chairs are faced towards the audience during the performance. If the coaches are interested in the artist, they will press their button signifying they want to coach them. Once the auditions conclude, coaches have their team of artists and the competition begins. Coaches then mentor their artists and they compete to find the best singer. Other well-known singing competitions include ''The X Factor'', ''America's Got Talent'', ''Rising Star (TV series), Rising Star'' and ''The Sing-Off''. A different example of a singing competition is ''Don't Forget the Lyrics!'', where the show's contestants compete to win cash prizes by correctly recalling song lyrics from a variety of genres. The show contrasts to many other music-based game shows in that artistic talent (such as the ability to sing or dance in an aesthetically pleasing way) is irrelevant to the contestants' chances of winning; in the words of one of their commercials prior to the first airing, "You don't have to sing it well; you just have to sing it right." In a similar vein, ''The Singing Bee (American game show), The Singing Bee'' combines karaoke singing with a spelling bee-style competition, with the show featuring contestants trying to remember the lyrics to popular songs.


Health benefits

Scientific studies suggest that singing can have positive effects on people's health. A preliminary study based on self-reported data from a survey of students participating in choral singing found perceived benefits including increased lung capacity, improved mood, stress reduction, as well as perceived social and spiritual benefits. However, one much older study of lung capacity compared those with professional vocal training to those without, and failed to back up the claims of increased lung capacity. Singing may positively influence the immune system through the reduction of stress (medicine), stress. One study found that both singing and listening to choral music reduces the level of stress hormones and increases immune function. A multinational collaboration to study the connection between singing and health was established in 2009, called ''Advancing Interdisciplinary Research in Singing'' (AIRS). Singing provides physical, cognitive, and emotional benefits to participants. When they step on stage, many singers forget their worries and focus solely on the song. Singing is becoming a more widely known method of increasing an individual's overall health and wellness, in turn helping them to battle diseases such as cancer more effectively due to decreased stress, releasing of endorphins, and increased lung capacity.


Effect on the brain

John Daniel Scott, among others, have cited that "people who sing are more likely to be happy". This is because "singing elevates the levels of neurotransmitters which are associated with pleasure and well being". Humans have a long prehistory of music, especially singing; before written language, stories were passed down through song, because song is often more memorable. There is also evidence that music or singing may have evolved in humans before language. Levitin, in his ''This is Your Brain on Music'', argues that "music may be the activity that prepared our pre-human ancestors for speech communication" and that "singing ... might have helped our species to refine motor skills, paving the way for the development of the exquisitely fine muscle control required for vocal ... speech" (260). On the other hand, he cites Pinker, who "argued that language is an adaptation and music is its Spandrel (biology), Spandrel ... an evolutionary accident piggybacking on language" (248). Studies have found evidence suggesting the mental, as well as physical, benefits of singing. When conducting a study with 21 members of a choir at three different points over one year, three themes suggested three areas of benefits; the social impact (connectedness with others), personal impact (positive emotions, self-perception, etc.), and functional outcomes (health benefits of being in the choir). Findings showed that a sense of well-being is associated with singing, by uplifting the mood of the participants and releasing endorphins in the brain. Many singers also reported that singing helped them regulate stress and relax, allowing them to deal better with their daily lives. From a social perspective, approval from the audience, and interaction with other choir members in a positive manner is also beneficial. Singing is beneficial for pregnant mothers. By giving them another medium of communication with their newborns, mothers in one study reported feelings of love and affection when singing to their unborn children. They also reported feeling more relaxed than ever before during their stressful pregnancy. A song can have nostalgic significance by reminding a singer of the past, and momentarily transport them, allowing them to focus on singing and embrace the activity as an escape from their daily lives and problems.


Effect on body

A recent study by Tenovus Cancer Care found that singing in a choir for just one hour boosts levels of immune proteins in cancer patients and has a positive overall effect on the health of patients. The study explores the possibility that singing could help put patients in the best mental and physical shape to receive the treatment they need, by reducing stress hormones, and increasing quantities of cytokines- proteins of the immune system that can increase the body's ability to fight disease. "Singing gives you physical benefits like breath control and muscle movement and enunciation, as well as the learning benefits of processing information" says a musical director and accompanist in the study. The enunciation and speech benefits tie into the language benefits detailed below. Some have advocated, as in a 2011 article in the ''Toronto Star'', that everyone sing, even if they are not musically talented, because of its health benefits. Singing lowers blood pressure by releasing pent up emotions, boosting relaxation, and reminding them of happy times. It also allows singers to breathe more easily. Patients with lung disease and chronic pulmonary disease experience relief from their symptoms from singing just two times a week. In addition to breathing related illness, singing also has numerous benefits for stroke victims when it comes to relearning the ability to speak and communicate by singing their thoughts. Singing activates the right side of the brain when the left side cannot function (the left side is the area of the brain responsible for speech), so it is easy to see how singing can be an excellent alternative to speech while the victim heals.


Singing and language

Every spoken language, natural or non-natural language has its own intrinsic musicality which affects singing by means of pitch, phrasing, and accent.


Neurological aspects

Much research has been done recently on the link between music and language, especially singing. It is becoming increasingly clear that these two processes are very much alike, and yet also different. Levitin describes how, beginning with the eardrum, sound waves are translated into pitch, or a Tonotopy, tonotopic map, and then shortly thereafter "speech and music probably diverge into separate processing circuits" (130). There is evidence that neural circuits used for music and language may start out in infants undifferentiated. There are several areas of the brain that are used for both language and music. For example, Brodmann area 47, which has been implicated in the processing of syntax in oral and sign languages, as well as musical syntax and semantic aspects of language. Levitin recounts how in certain studies, "listening to music and attending its syntactic features," similar to the syntactic processes in language, activated this part of the brain. In addition, "musical syntax ... has been localized to ... areas adjacent to and overlapping with those regions that process speech syntax, such as Broca's area" and "the regions involved in musical semantics .. appear to be [localized] near Wernicke's area." Both Broca's area and Wernicke's area are important steps in language processing and production. Singing has been shown to help stroke victims recover speech. According to neurologist Gottfried Schlaug, there is a corresponding area to that of speech, which resides in the left hemisphere, on the right side of the brain. This is casually known as the "singing center." By teaching stroke victims to sing their words, this can help train this area of the brain for speech. In support of this theory, Levitin asserts that "regional specificity," such as that for speech, "may be temporary, as the processing centers for important mental functions actually move to other regions after trauma or brain damage." Thus in the right hemisphere of the brain, the "singing center" may be neuroplasticity, retrained to help produce speech.


Accents and singing

The speaking dialect or accent of a person may differ greatly from the general singing accent that a person uses while singing. When people sing, they generally use the accent or neutral accent that is used in the style of music they are singing in, rather than a regional accent or dialect; the style of music and the popular center/region of the style has more influence on the singing accent of a person than where they come from. For example, in the English language, British singers of rock or popular music often sing in an American accent or neutral accent instead of an English accent.


Singing animals

Scholars agree that singing is strongly present in many different species. Wide dispersal of singing behavior among very different animal species, like birds, gibbons, whales, and many others strongly suggests that singing appeared independently in different species. Currently, there are about 5400 species of animals that are known to sing. At least some singing species demonstrate the ability to learn their songs, to improvise and even to Composer, compose new melodies. In some animal species singing is a group activity (see, for example, singing in gibbon families.)


Singing to animals

Herders in Scandinavia use songs known as kulning to call livestock. Mongolian herders use species-specific songs to encourage bonding between animals and their newborn offspring.


See also

* List of multilingual bands and artists * Sign singing


Art music

* A cappella * Aria * Bel canto * Chanson * Chiaroscuro (music) * Child singer * Choral music *
Fach The German system (; literally "compartment" or "subject of study", here in the sense of "vocal specialization") is a method of classifying singers, primarily opera singers, according to the range, weight, and color of their voices. It is used wo ...
* Group singing * Opera * Overtone singing * Recitative * Singer-songwriter * Sprechgesang * Throat singing (disambiguation), Throat singing * Voice pedagogy *
Voice projection Voice projection is the strength of speaking or singing whereby the voice is used powerfully and clearly. It is a technique employed to command respect and attention, as when a teacher talks to a class, or simply to be heard clearly, as used by an ...
* Voice type * Yodeling * Winsingad


Other music

* Beat boxing * Belt (music) * Death growl * Hum (sound), Humming * Isicathamiya * Kulning * Lead vocalist * Mbube (genre), Mbube * Rapping * Screaming (music) * Vocoder


Physiology

* N-Acylethanolamine, ''N''-acylethanolamine (NAE)


References


Further reading

* Blackwood, Alan. ''The Performing World of the Singer''. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1981. 113 p., amply ill. (mostly with photos.). * Reid, Cornelius. ''A Dictionary of Vocal Terminology: an Analysis''. New York: J. Patelson Music House, 1983.


External links


A Brief History of Singing

Singing and Health: A systematic mapping and review of non-clinical research
{{Authority control Singing, Occupations in music Music performance Articles containing video clips