Tools for Range Development and Resonance Tuning:
The Case for Acoustic Registers, & Mapping and Motivating the Necessary Migrations of Sound and Sensation Across Range
with Ken Bozeman - Thursday 22nd July 2021 at 5pm (UK time for 2 hours)

This course will be recorded and sent out to all pre-registered participants to watch in their own time.
Due to licensing laws, we are unable to sell this course retrospectively.

Course Details

Registers: Laryngeal or Acoustic?

It is clear that vocal fold mass, length, and tension must vary with pitch to accomplish with functional efficiency (ratio of input to output power) the wide pitch range singers need. This voice source process is termed laryngeal registration. While much attention and debate continue in regard to the specifics of laryngeal registration, it is well-established that there are two primary laryngeal vibrational modes—one that involves short, thick folds with a loose cover and includes muscle mass vibration, and one that involves long, thin, folds, a taut cover, and is primarily ligamentous vibration. “In the wild” these two modes typically present as rather binary options.  A primary goal of training for many vocal genres is to reduce or eliminate this binarity and supplant it with a smooth, dynamic laryngeal registration across range.

The historic definition of a vocal register requires relatively homogenous timbral range segments produced by specific, discrete “mechanisms.” This was based on the assumption that the timbral shifts signaling a change of register were caused by changes in the voice source, indeed, that the “mechanism” of timbral change was exclusively laryngeal.  This course will explain the timbral contributions and limitations of laryngeal input and compare them to those arising from the acoustic relationships between voice source inherent harmonics and the resonances of the vocal tract.  It proposes that, although bio-mechanical changes of the voice source must occur for and are vital to range access, the timbral shifts that occur across range in a well-trained, smoothed (no longer binary) voice, are primarily to exclusively due to changing acoustic relationships between the source and the filter, and therefore constitute acoustic registers, rarely clearly discrete laryngeal registers.

Mapping and Motivating the Necessary Migrations of Sound and Sensation Across Range

We will briefly review the acoustic soundscape all singers, regardless of genre, inhabit, and present studio friendly techniques for exploring how best to tune the vocal tract for functionally efficient singing. We will draw on the deep level programming of humans for activating voice and the more recently identified auditory and somatosensory targets, detailing the migrations of vowel, timbre, vibrotactile and acoustic sensation we experience across range. Knowing, anticipating, allowing, and even facilitating these migrations greatly improves smooth, dynamic laryngeal registration across range.

Use of Intention, Affect and the Chiaroscuro Whisper

Humans activate voice in response to the impulse to express feelings.  When also using language, we include learned auditory targets comprised primarily of the two vowel-like timbral components featured by the first two resonances of the vocal tract. The resonance structure or sound transfer characteristics of the vocal tract can be revealed and played by introducing any broad-spectrum noise into it, such as a vocal fry.  A strategy that I call the chiaroscuro whisper is especially useful for gaining aural and kinesthetic facility in this process. Unlike the typical, high-larynxed, high-pitched whisper, the chiaroscuro whisper uses a relatively neutral, settled larynx and a carefully tuned, lower-pitched noise. It is done with motivational expression, sufficient but minimal articulation that avoids over-articulating the vowel shapes or changes, and a strong, broad spread of spectral frequencies, so that both the lower pitched under-vowel noise and the higher pitched over-vowel noise are present and balanced in the composite sound output.

About Ken Bozeman

Kenneth Bozeman, BM, MM, Professor Emeritus of Music, taught at Lawrence University for 42 years where he chaired the voice department and from which he received two awards for excellence in teaching. He holds performance degrees from Baylor University and the University of Arizona, and studied at the Conservatory of Music in Munich. He was awarded the Van Lawrence Fellowship by the Voice Foundation in 1994, is the chair of the editorial board of the Journal of Singing, and was inducted into the American Academy of Teachers of Singing in 2019. His writings on acoustic voice pedagogy include the books, Practical Vocal Acoustics: 

Pedagogic Applications for Teachers and Singers, and Kinesthetic Voice Pedagogy: Motivating Acoustic Efficiency, now in a second edition. Bozeman’s students have sung with Houston Grand, Boston Lyric, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Dresden Opera, San Francisco, New York City, the Metropolitan, Chicago Lyric, and Santa Fe Opera.

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