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Throaty voice quality: Subglottal pressure, voice source, and formant characteristics
KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), Speech, Music and Hearing, TMH.
KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), Speech, Music and Hearing, TMH, Music Acoustics.
2006 (English)In: Journal of Voice, ISSN 0892-1997, E-ISSN 1557-8658, Vol. 20, no 1, 25-37 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

"Throaty" voice quality has been regarded by voice pedagogues as undesired and even harmful. This study attempts to identify acoustic and physiological correlates of this quality. One male and one female subject read a text habitually and with a throaty voice quality. Oral pressure during p-occlusion was measured as an estimate of subglottal pressure. Long-term average spectrum analysis described the average spectrum characteristics. Sixteen syllables, perceptually evaluated with regard to throaty quality by five experts, were selected for analysis. Formant frequencies and voice source characteristics were measured by means of inverse filtering, and the vocal tract shape of the throaty and normal versions of the vowels [a,u,i,ae] of the male subject were recorded by magnetic resonance imaging. From this material, area functions were derived and their resonance frequencies were determined. The throaty versions of these four vowels all showed a pharynx that was narrower than ill the habitually produced versions. To test the relevance of formant frequencies to perceived throaty quality, experts rated degree of throatiness in synthetic vowel samples, in which the measured formant frequency values of the subject were used. The main acoustic correlates of throatiness seemed to be all increase of F1, a decrease of F4, and in front vowels a decrease of F2, which presumably results from a narrowing of the pharynx. In the male Subject, voice Source parameters suggested a more hyperfunctional voice in throaty samples.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 20, no 1, 25-37 p.
Keyword [en]
voice source, articulation, hyperfunctional voice, voice quality, area function, MR
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-6459DOI: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2004.11.008ISI: 000236057700004PubMedID: 15990272ScopusID: 2-s2.0-33344465360OAI: diva2:11178
QC 20100812Available from: 2006-11-29 Created: 2006-11-29 Last updated: 2011-12-16Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Why so different? - Aspects of voice characteristics in operatic and musical theatre singing: Aspects of voice characteristics in operatic and musical theatre singing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Why so different? - Aspects of voice characteristics in operatic and musical theatre singing: Aspects of voice characteristics in operatic and musical theatre singing
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

This thesis addresses aspects of voice characteristics in operatic and musical theatre singing. The common aim of the studies was to identify respiratory, phonatory and resonatory characteristics accounting for salient voice timbre differences between singing styles.

The velopharyngeal opening (VPO) was analyzed in professional operatic singers, using nasofiberscopy. Differing shapes of VPOs suggested that singers may use a VPO to fine-tune the vocal tract resonance characteristics and hence voice timbre. A listening test revealed no correlation between rated nasal quality and the presence of a VPO.

The voice quality referred to as “throaty”, a term sometimes used for characterizing speech and “non-classical” vocalists, was examined with respect to subglottal pressure (Psub) and formant frequencies. Vocal tract shapes were determined by magnetic resonance imaging. The throaty versions of four vowels showed a typical narrowing of the pharynx. Throatiness was characterized by increased first formant frequency and lowering of higher formants. Also, voice source parameter analyses suggested a hyper-functional voice production.

Female musical theatre singers typically use two vocal registers (chest and head). Voice source parameters, including closed-quotient, peak-to-peak pulse amplitude, maximum flow declination rate, and normalized amplitude quotient (NAQ), were analyzed at ten equally spaced subglottal pressures representing a wide range of vocal loudness. Chest register showed higher values in all glottal parameters except for NAQ. Operatic baritone singer voices were analyzed in order to explore the informative power of the amplitude quotient (AQ), and its normalized version NAQ, suggested to reflect glottal adduction. Differences in NAQ were found between fundamental frequency values while AQ was basically unaffected.

Voice timbre differs between musical theatre and operatic singers. Measurements of voice source parameters as functions of subglottal pressure, covering a wide range of vocal loudness, showed that both groups varied Psub systematically. The musical theatre singers used somewhat higher pressures, produced higher sound pressure levels, and did not show the opera singers’ characteristic clustering of higher formants.

Musical theatre and operatic singers show highly controlled and consistent behaviors, characteristic for each style. A common feature is the precise control of subglottal pressure, while laryngeal and vocal tract conditions differ between singing styles. In addition, opera singers tend to sing with a stronger voice source fundamental than musical theatre singers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2006
TRITA-CSC-A, ISSN 1653-5723 ; 2006:23
operatic singing, musical theatre singing, voice source, subglottal pressure, flow glottogram, inverse filtering, formant frequencies, amplitude quotient (AQ)
National Category
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-4198 (URN)987-91-7178-518-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2006-12-08, Sal F3, KTH, Lindstedtsvägen 26, Stockholm, 14:00

QC 20100812

Available from: 2006-11-29 Created: 2006-11-29 Last updated: 2015-06-02Bibliographically approved

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