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Children's speaking and singing voices are one voice: evidence from perceptual analyses of independent voice parameters

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Traditionally, children's speaking and singing voices have been regarded as two separate entities, each being used for a distinct vocal behaviour. Nevertheless, according to the voice-scientific and evolutionary perspectives, children use the same voice for generating all vocal behaviours. Due to such an evident contradiction, the intension of the study was to investigate whether pre-pubertal children's speaking and singing voices are perceptually connected. Voice recordings were conducted with 76 7- to 10-year-old children. Each child performed a set of speaking and singing tasks and their vocal output was recorded with high-quality technological equipment. Subsequently, each voice sample was analysed perceptually with the use of a specially designed perceptual voice assessment protocol. The key finding was that the participant children's voice quality and vocal characteristics correlated statistically significantly between the two vocal behaviours, as evidenced through general voice quality and individual voice parameter analyses. The findings therefore imply that children's speaking and singing voices are perceptually connected. It can be argued, then, that children possess one voice that is used for generating speaking and singing behaviours.
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Keywords: children; singing; speaking; voice education; voice recordings; voice therapy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute of Education, University of London.

Publication date: 2009-12-01

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  • The Journal of Music, Technology and Education (JMTE) explores the issues concerning the use of technology in music education. It examines pedagogy at all levels and across genres such as composition, musicology, performance and music production. It is the only journal specifically dedicated to the educational aspects of music technology and the technological aspects of music. Peer-reviewed, with an international editorial board, JMTE aims to draw its contributions from a broad community of educators, researchers and practitioners who are working closely with new technologies in the fields of music education and music technology education.
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