Practical Pedagogy and VoceVista
Daniel Ihasz
Dillon R Parmer

In an effort to understand more fully the function of the singing voice, many practitioners and teachers have turned to the discipline of voice science. This turn has been reflected to some degree in the vocal pedagogy curricula in which there has been an increased emphasis on understanding vocal anatomy and physiology. From the point of view of the practitioner, however, such an emphasis is possibly counterproductive because much of the vocal mechanism involves involuntary muscle action and therefore lies beneath conscious control. However interesting and important anatomical and physiological knowledge is, having that knowledge does not necessarily facilitate the physical co-ordinations that constitute singing. From the practitioner's point of view, the resultant sound is a by-product of a set of balanced co-ordinations usually solicited by suggestive imagery. These co-ordinations yield internal sensations (both physical and aural) that the singer experiences in the act of singing. Unfortunately, the singer does not experience the resultant sound product in the way that listeners do and it is for this reason that a singer always requires feedback from an auditor who knows what the desired sound product ought to be. The process of learning how to sing, therefore, becomes an exchange in which the singer learns which co-ordinations yield the desired result. It is in this exchange that voice science and its attendant technologies can give the voice practitioner tools that provide real-time feedback, tools which help to hone the aural, visual and physical discernment of the singer. This is an effort to develop specificity and commonality in language and produce more correctly and consistently the desired results, while at the same time reducing confusion and frustration. In this respect, the potential of the software program Voce Vista has yet to be tapped. A spectrographic analysis of famous voices from the past reveals both the acoustic properties that constitute elite singing and the factors that give each voice its distinguishing qualities. The program also includes an overlay feature allowing the comparison of acoustic signals, which could be from a famous singer of the past and the student (singing the same passage) or a student saving a "perfect" sample during his/her own lesson and using it as a model for practicing. Real-time spectography can show the practitioner and singer in real-time precisely when slight adjustments of vowel size and shape yield significant boosts across the resonance spectrum, and as such can guide the singer towards a more precise deployment of the technique known as vowel modification or formant tuning. To be sure, this technology can never replace the vocal pedagogue, but it can assist him by helping the singer relate the physical co-ordinations of phonation with the visualization of the resultant sound product. In this way, art and science, craft and technology, need not part company but can embrace each other in a joint effort to raise the level of vocal technique and artistry. We intend to demonstrate through recordings and a live demonstration the practical application of this technology in the practitioner's studio

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