Acoustics of the trained versus untrained singing voice

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Purpose of review

Acoustic voice analysis is now widely available on today's multimedia computers and knowledge of the acoustics of the trained and untrained singing voice has advanced dramatically in recent years. New techniques have emerged that are providing clearer representations of aspects of the physiology of voice function and a greater understanding of the differences between the voices of untrained and trained singers.

Recent findings

Improvements in endoscope technology are changing understanding of vocal fold function and videokymography provides a new way of interpreting the output; some new and interesting possibilities are emerging. Larynx height variation is a feature of untrained singing and singing in different styles and its measurement has been inaccurate hitherto; perhaps the laryngoaltimeter will provide a solution. Magnetic resonance imaging is now a vital tool for vocal tract shape measurement but a new bio-inspired computing is offering a possible alternative.


Differences between an untrained and trained singing voice lie in one or more of breathing technique, larynx settings or vocal tract settings. Measurement techniques in each of these areas are important to provide data on the singing voice, and accurate data are essential for natural personalized electronic voice synthesis in the future.

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