The Effect of Choir Spacing on Choral Singers’ Perceptions of Efficient Vocal Production

James F. Daugherty, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Choral Music Education
The University of Kansas

This presentation summarizes data from a series of studies that examined the effects of different spacings (close, lateral, circumambient) among and between choral singers (N=110) in three different choirs (high school and university) on singers’ perceptions of vocal production and auditor (N=280) preferences for desirable choral sound. Choral singers reported significant differences in perceived efficiency of vocal production when in spread spacing, and auditors overall significantly preferred the choral sound of spread spacing. More vocally mature male singers reported a preference for lateral spacing, while female singers overall preferred circumambient spacing. Results will be discussed in terms of theories of self-to-other singer ratios in particular acoustic environments, parameters of healthy vocal production in choral ensembles, and the adequacy of traditional wisdom concerning choir formations typically found in choral methods and conducting preparation materials.

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