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Research Report: "Chiaroscuro" Resonance Balancing: The "Bel Canto" Answer to Choral

Tone and Intonation Problems

Author(s): Laurier Fagnan
Source: The Choral Journal, Vol. 49, No. 5 (NOVEMBER 2008), pp. 51-55, 58-61
Published by: American Choral Directors Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23556992
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Chiaroscuro Resonance Balancing:

The Bel Canto Answer to Choral Tone and Intonation Problems


Laurier Fagnan

Editor's note: This article presents who sing with an overly bright and edgy nique,to choral singing, and advance a plan
portions of the research described in tone that seems to stick out, regardless of "to apply this technique appropriately to
the author's dissertation, which was a where they are placed in the ensemble, the art of choral singing.1
2005 co-winner of the Julius Herford while others possess a dark, undefined Be/ canto masters advocated chiaroscuro
Dissertation Prize. sound which might blend more easily, but (bright-dark, clear-warm) resonance bal
often seems to drain the vitality from the ancing, encouraging the best qualities of
ensemble's sound. Both of these extremes both extremes of timbres to be present in
s choral conductors, we defy the natural acoustic properties of the voice at all times.The term chiaroscuro
are faced with what often vowel sounds and are often at the root of originated in Renaissance Italy where great
seems like an insurmount- such common ensemble problems as poor artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Ra
table challenge: the instru- text intelligibility, compromised blend, and phael used bold combinations of light and
ment before us is based on diversity, on a faulty intonation. shadow to convey a more realistic, three
multiplicity of vocal timbres and colors that Of course, we'd all like our ensembles dimensional ambience to their scenes,
we must skilfully unite into an ensemble to have a beautiful, even sound where ev- 'n "the same fashion, bel canto masters
that sings with unified tone and flawless eryone sings perfectly in tune without any combined opposite poles of bright and
intonation. Yet we often have choristers individual voices sticking out. So how can dark resonance qualities to produce a
we as conductors and builders of the cho- three-dimensional tone that was at once
ral instrument draw this ideal sound out of more complete and emotionally absorbing.
Laurier Fagnan is director of vocal and our choirs? To help answer this question, What they may not have recognized, how
choral studies at Campus Saint-Jean of we will turn to the advice of the great vo- ever? were the abundant acoustic benefits
the University of Alberta, where he has Cal pedagogues of the historical bel canto "that naturally accompanied this type of
recently opened Canada's first Vocal method of singing, forthese masters made balanced resonance.
Acoustics Laboratory. In 2005, he was jt tbejr |jfe's g0a| to meticulously examine These pedagogues recognized that
the co-winner of the Juilus Herford beauty and evenness of tone and its effect certain vowels were naturally more chiaro
Award. He is currently producing a on jnt0nati0n, ancj they therefore have (bright or clear; e.g., [ i ] and [e]) or oscuro
DVD on vocal technique for choirs, much wjsdom tQ jmpart Qn thg subject (dark or warm; e.g., [o] and [u]) than oth
focusing on the application of bel We will then examine the many acoustical ers. In blending the two into the unified
canto vocal principles to choral singing. benefits of applying chiaroscuro resonance, chiaroscuro tone, they established an even
agnan@telus.net> one of the cornerstones of be/canto tech- proportion of brightness and darkness

Choral Journal • November 2008

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across the entire vowel spectrum: many is then able to excite the smaller cavities in tone quality. Garcia argues that the chiar
vowel sounds yet only one voice quality, which resonate at higher frequencies, oscuro vowel modification model does not
This generally afforded the singer a more which in turn yields a 'brighter' sound to hinder text intelligibility: "All the vowels
homogeneous tone by providing a consis- our ears.The oscuro component appears are modified in the same proportion; their
tent balance of upper and lower spectral when singers are encouraged to sing mutual relation remains unaltered; a land
energy (overtones)—a sort of acoustical richer slightly darker vowels. This desire scape lighted by the sun or darkened by
yin-yang that was pleasing to the ear and naturally relaxes the lower part of the the clouds presents quite different aspects,
true in pitch. pharynx (which is often quite unexploited yet every object keeps its place and outline
Where do these qualities come from? in amateur choral singing) and this larger all unchanged."2 The chiaroscuro principle
It is generally believed that the chiaro ele- resonator consequently amplifies the thus becomes a system of constant vowel
ment appears in the voice when the singer lower overtones of the source vibration, modification as dictated by the equalizing
masters the technique of efficient glottal Encouraging a tall, vertical production of ability of the human ear
closure, i.e., when the vocal cords do not vowels will go far in acquiring balanced Quite often in amateur choral singing,
haphazardly flap in response to a gush of resonance—horizontally is the nemesis the sound is too bright (or white) and it is
air blowing through them, but rather when of chiaroscuro singing! the oscuro or roundness that seems to be
every molecule of controlled breath is The benefits of applying this principle lacking in the tone, since choristers often
transformed into focused, collected (as are of tremendous value for choral sing- have not learned to exploit the full capac
opposed to spread) vocal tone.This tone ing and should not be overlooked. With ity of their pharynx to amplify each vowel's
the application of chiaroscuro resonance full harmonic spectrum. It is almost as
balancing: ( I ) clarity of diction is improved though choristers get caught up in a super
with each vowel possessing more acous- ficial, spoken type of resonance and have
tic information and projecting a more not learned to exploit their instrument's
%r >'• 5 » complete harmonic spectrum; properly potential for fully resonant singing. Advis

CrfEr resonated vowels, not consonants, are the ing singers to 'get the tone out of your
most important element of good die- throats' and 'into the mask' may result in
p Henri)
Heni'w tion; (2) ensemble blend is enhanced as a very clear and forward sound, however
D oañá all choristers learn to produce vowels this type of placement encourages a higher
in an acoustically similar fashion thereby laryngeal position and a more superficial
Spirituals arranged
Spiritnnís arranged by
by yielding a more unified sound; and (3) resonance. It is akin to asking a rainbow to
Charles S. Brown group intonation improves significantly as allow only three of its colours to shine.This
the multiplicity of acoustic variables that unbalanced, frontal resonance can itself be
typically accompany vowel transitions in detrimental to ensemble singing in that it
choral singing is diminished. Let us briefly is usually the overly brilliant voices that
examine the first two of these benefits tend to stick out. It is often tiring to the
before proceeding to a more in-depth singers as well.
acoustic study of chiaroscuro's effect on Bel canto masters avoided specific
ensemble intonation. placement techniques, rather advocating
that the voice be both forward and back
simultaneously. In advancing the perspec
(I) Vocal timbre as it affects diction tive of the whole body as a resonance
Got My Letter
SATB Chorus, Tenor Solo, a cappella
One might think that modifying vowels chamber; Lamperti advocated that singers
Sinner, Pleose
Please Don't Let This Harvest Pass
to achieve consistent chiaroscuro balance emptiness of the head, the empti
SATB Chorus, a cappella would make diction unnatural and text ness the throat, and the emptiness of
Steal Away
unintelligible. In fact, the opposite occurs, the chest with complete resonance at all
SATB Chorus, a cappella
As long as the oscuro element is counter- times,
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
SATB Chorus and Keyboard balanced with sufficient chiaro to provide

Explore our composers and publications:

vowel clarity, diction actually improves, in (2) Chiaroscuro and Choral Blend
www.ehenrydavid.com part because the listener can more eas- Chiaroscuro singing can be a powerful
email: info@ehenrydavid.com ily recognize vowels without needing to and effective tool in achieving the often
Theodore Presser
Distributed by Theodore Presser Company
Company (www.presser.com)
(www.presser.com) constantly adjust to the endless variations elusive virtue of ensemble blend. Too

52 Choral Journal • November 2008

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often the issue of blend is confused with Illustration I
the quality of bland: the group's vocal
sound becomes colourless as individual Spectrogram of a mixed choir singing Et Spiritu Sancto
tonal characteristics are removed so that Spectrogram from
Spectrogram from uQfa_etspiritu_bef.ml.aiff
uofa_etspiritu_bef.ml.aiff /var/tmp/t
particular choristers' voices will not be dB

heard. "There is no reason to have a

Stradivarius sound like a cigar-box violin
so that both will sound the same."4The bel
canto chiaroscuro model definitely takes the
^•r>n|ii'i tj i i i ip H ij i fii [i rhj ui i fin'f|Vrri|fi i ip rrri i iiij in iirirfjntf j infjinrpiiTpi ir|fi rijiTirf|?iVij irii p^rfpvTrp riij
Stradivarius approach by endowing each 1 2 3 45 6 78 9 10 11 second:
chorister with the ability to sing in a fully
Spectrogram from uofa_etspiritu_afl.ml.aiff
p i ritu aft. m I. aiff / /var/tmp/tn
resonant fashion, exploiting the bright and Spectrogram from u ofa_ets v ar/tm p/tn

warm qualities in each voice.

This elusive goal can be more objec
tively studied with the aid of a spectro
gram which displays the relative strength
of harmonics present in a sung tone. In 11| 1III |I 111| 11II |1 M I[ITI 11II11| 1111| 11' || 11 n 11 n'i| II111II IY| ITH1111|[ 11II11 n Ij-in 11III n 1111| 11 "| 11 ii| ""| nil |i fill i
1 2 3 45 6 78 9 10 11 seconds
Illustration I, time is displayed on the 'x'
(horizontal) axis and frequency in Hertz
" the
(cycles per second) is displayed on Et Spi - ri
Et SP' - tu
" ri Sane
~ tu Sane- -to.
'y' (vertical) axis. I analyzed a choir singing
the phrase 'et Spiritu Sancto' on a single
pitch.The top window displays the choir's series of overtones in the after version This balanced harmonic energy mani
harmonic spectrum before applying the with upper harmonic energy remaining fests itself in a fuller; more consistently
chiaroscuro principle while the bottom win- present and balanced to the end of the resonant sound with all vowels carrying
dow displays its spectrum after chiaroscuro phrase, even in the final [o] vowel, which and blending together in a similar fashion,
singing was applied to the same phrase, is usually lower in upper harmonic energy, Chiaroscuro singing naturally adjusts the
One can immediately see a more balanced flat and bland. voice's resonators to amplify only those

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Choral Journal • November 2008 53

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J" ■

Research Report

overtones that are naturally part of the to reveal the SinSer's Formant (F3) they do not resonate in quite the same
harmonic series ofthe vowel and note be- and to increase rin§ in the tone; ¡t wa/< or at the same frequency.To effect a
Ing sungthereby enabling choristers'voices &ves a tanSible wayt0 establish the vowel change, the articulators must change
to blend together more harmoniously. If abstract concept of placement' and position and the vocal tract must alter its
all singers are encouraged to exploit this * provides a usable t0°' for chora' shape.These movements bring with them
complete, bright-warm quality, conductors 7^1 newJeve'S °f a plethora of muscular adjustments which
will greatly increase both the quantity and ch°™ bl®nd " ■Choir directors often have a negative effect on the stability
qualify of their ensemble's sound without *pend T0** T °f '^ fundamental frepuency (pitch) and
the risk of having voices that 'stick out'. developing blend, both among the overtone balance. For example, several
Hopkln, one ofthe few conductors to ^wel eqllTzatTon offeS an expedments have shown that the chan§e
write on the acoustic benefits of this prin- approach to choral blend that yields f'7^ ?] ^
ciple within the choral setting, states: immediate and noticeable results.5 always accompanied by a rather significant
drop in fundamental frequency (pitch

Vowel uniflcation creates ao (3) Chiaroscuro resonlnce balanci and ¡P* flat).There are various theories that
easily followed path that leads to LLmhl* intonation attempt to explain this correlation, one of
mastery of a number of vocal skills. . them being the "tongue-pull" hypothesis
It enhances the chiaroscuro balance As outlined above' rt IS an acoustical which suggests that the higher tongue
in the voice; it offers the potential fact that all vowels were not created equal: position required for frontal vowels might

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54 Choral Journal • November 2008

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also cause a stretching of the vocal folds ficult by placing very bright vowels next feeling of complete vowel resonance with
which would tend to raise the fundamental to very dark ones. Specific strategies were a round character behind the area where
frequency when going to brighter vowels.6 employed so that choristers first gained an the tongue rises, thereby not cutting off
Whatever the reasons might be, the rela- awareness of the unevenness of resonance the principal resonance of the pharynx
tionship between adjustments in vowel in their singing before they were taught to which helps to balance the upper over
resonance and alterations in the vibra- correct this technical flaw. tones in brighter vowels. Conversely, work
tion of the vocal cords (frequency-pitch) After singing the vowel series [a-e-i was also done in the reverse direction to
seems to be quite strong.7 -o-u] (ah-EH-ee-oh-oo) in unison, the ensure that choristers were maintaining
Because all vowels have their own group was asked to identify both the the sensation of ringing resonance in the
pitch, attacking ensemble intonation purely brightest and the darkest of these vowels, mask while dropping the jaw and rounding
from the perspective of the fundamental The answer was usually [i] for the bright- the lips for the darker vowels,
frequency (i.e., ensuring that everyone is est and [o] for the darkest ([u] is actually Throughout the experimental process,
singing the right note) has definite acoustic the darkest).They were then asked to sing choristers' attention was in no way drawn
limitations—the pitch will sound wrong if these two divergent vowels several times to the fact that there might be an intona
vowel frequencies are not aligned. Sund- in succession while attempting to add all tion problem, but the focus was entirely
berg has shown that vowels have their of the inherent brightness of the [i] to the on resonance—any changes in intonation
own unique pitch trends, quite distinct [o] vowel. After several repetitions, singers were purely a byproduct of alterations in
from the actual pitch of the fundamental were asked to do the inverse and maintain resonance.
frequency.8 In general, too much attention all of the darkness or roundness of the [o] It was also observed during experi
in choral singing is centered on having while singing the [iJ.The objective was ments that focusing on the consistency
everyone sing the right note and far too not to find a 'happy medium' vowel with of tone required for chiaroscuro singing
little on producing a tone that is alive no definition, but rather two very distinct seemed to naturally diminish the range
with the presence of a complete and uni- vowels, each having the same dose of of mouth movements necessary to effect
fed harmonic spectrum. Bolster links the brightness and roundness. This bi-polar vowel changes. Yes, the mouth, lips and
concept of vowel unity and vowel pitch as type of resonance was then applied to all tongue must move when a vowel change
a combined pitch-blend problem: "Since of the vowels in the original series of five, takes place with certain combinations
each vowel has a specific pitch and is a Another tactic was to have choristers demanding more movement than others,
specific timbre, the simultaneous use of sing the same vowel—usually [a] because but choristers felt that their articulators
different vowels or vowel colors simply will it is perhaps the most naturally chiaroscuro really didn't need to move as much as they
not blend.The human ear will perceive the of all the vowels—first in an overly bril- habitually did, and consistency of tone and
different vowel sounds."9 liant manner) followed immediately by the stability of intonation consequently began
Ternstrom and Sundberg's research same vowel sung in an overly dark fashion, to settle in as singers concentrated more
further supports the fact that resonance, They were asked to be aware of the dif- on resonance quality and less on syllabic
especially consistency in upper partíais, ferences in both sound and sensation (i.e. muscular movement. We must be careful
plays an important role in intonation.10 As where the vowel was resonating). Finally, in encouraging choristers to sing with in
chiaroscuro singing tends to enjoy a fuller they were asked to sing a fully resonant creased clarity of diction that we are not
spectrum than typical choral singing, espe- vowel, combining all of the brightness of simply asking for more movement than is
daily in the higher partíais (see Illustration the overly chiaro version with all of the vocally and musically desirable.You can ask
I ), it seemed natural to test the benefits of warmth of the overly oscuro version, while for as much consonant articulation as you
the application of this principle to intona- also incorporating as much as possible the like as long as this articulatory enthusiasm
tion problems by conducting experiments sensations of both types of resonance. does not disrupt the sustained life of the
in a choral setting. Some time was then spent on effect
ing changes from larger vowels [a] and
[o] to smaller vowels [i] and [e] without
Experimental Procedure allowing either the diminished mouth Sat Women Wfw Hike ta Siny
Choral experiments for this study sPace to limit the chiaroscuro character of Enjoy A Cappella Harmony With
the resonance, or the sound to become
sought to establish an equal proportion Mwimony,, J tic.
of brightness and darkness across the horizontal and superficial. Although the Visit: www.harmonvinc.ora

complete vowel spectrum. Some exercises back of the tongue rises significantly for [i] Toll Free (888) 871-7762
were designed to make this goal quite dif- and M- sin§ers were asked to maintain a

Choral Journal • November 2008 55

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Research Report

voice inherent in its focused vibration and 11

Illustration 2
chiaroscuro resonance.
1 JwCr.maleJEyA.bef.T.fO /data/Thesis/Thesis_Sons/A 1


Exercises and Analysis of Sound Data 220. fli

The following graphs compare in 217.SE
217.eE fv uV
tonation accuracy in before and after
segments of choirs singing the vowel
21 5. si

series [i]- [e]-[y] (German ü) and [a],

21 2. si

Ternstrom had done previous experi
ments in which the two combinations [i]
210. tii

to [e] and [y] to [a] were identified as

those with which choristers had the most 207. E:

difficulty and tended to lose the most

pitch.11 It therefore seemed logical to use 205.
205. Qz

these combinations to test the effective stcon(,Sí

II 1
I 1111111
1 ■ 11111111 IIII II
IJ lllllllllll | II| ll|
II ll| 1111)1
1111 |1 lll|lll| llll|
llll| II11|
II11| III III 111111|
111111| II ll|llll|
II ll|llll| 1 ■1111111111
11111111 1 1lll|lll|
IIIIII l| llll|l
l| II ll|l lll|II 1111
l| 11111 1111|
[ 1111| llllllll 11111|
11111| II ll|llll|
II ll|llll| 111111111|
1 11111 11111111
(1M 11111111 Ij
0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0
0. 5 1.0 1. 2.0 2.5
2.5 3.0
3.0 3.5
3.5 4.0
4.0 4.5
4.5 5.0 5.5 6.0
6.0 6.5
6.5 7.0
7.0 sfecond
ness of the chiaroscuro principle as an aid . . . 3
Youth choir singing the vowel series [i]-[e]-[y]-[a] before chiaroscuro
in counteracting proven intonation prob
(compare with Illustration 3).
lems in choral singing. Because of their
prevalence in choral literature and their
similar bright-dark vowel combinations,
Illustration 3
the phrases Christus factus est pro nobis
Cr.maleJEyA.aft.T.fO /data/The s ¡s/Thesis_Sons/ADII
and Kyrie eleison were also used in the
study with similar results being obtained. hertzE

To ensure the most accurate assess

ment of intonation adjustments, and to
deal with software limitations, choirs sang
these exercises on a single pitch. A hori
zontal red line is placed at the average
frequency of the first vowel of the series
In orderto enable a visual reference point
for ensuing drops and rises in pitch. Short
vertical lines have been added to indicate
where vowel transitions occurred. For
all graphs, the y axis (vertical) displays

frequency in Hertz while the x axis (hori 111 M 11J II 111 1111 j II 1111 111 j III 111 11 Ij III 1111 I [J III 1111 I Ij 1111 [II I Ij I 111 1111 1| I H 11 III Ij II 111 Ml Ij II 11| 1111J II 11| I 111 j 111 I ) I 111| 111 l| 1 11 M 111 1111 III
0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 5.0 5.5 6.0 6.5 Second
zontal) represents time.
Youth choir singing the vowel series [i]-[e]-[y]-[a] after having worked the principle of
chiaroscuro resonance balancing (compare with Illustration 2).

It is evident from the graphs that most
of the major deviations in pitch resulting
from vowel transitions are significantly trations 2 and 4 show very clearly defined a lower jaw position slip in frequency. It
reduced after working with the sing- moments when the ensembles effected seems that, if left uncorrected, frequency
ers on chiaroscuro resonance balancing transitions from one vowel to another, follows the movement of the lower jaw.The
(they worked for approximately twenty These examples seem to be very much in articulatory movements that produce
minutes). Of particular interest is the fact keeping withTernstrom's previous findings vowel changes appear to have an im
that many of the vowel changes In the where the smaller; brighter vowels exhibit mediate and very noticeable effect on
before samples are distinctly visible. Illus- a higher pitch while the larger vowels with fundamental frequency.

58 Choral Journal • November 2008

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Illustration 4

Phonation frequency errors ex

ceeding 3 cents are detected by
the most skilled musical ears, and
musically trained listeners hear
errors of 5 cents. This implies that
the singer's phonation frequency
average must match the ideal
value within I Hz, if the pitch is A4
(440Hz). How is it possible to train
phonation frequency control so that
this is possible?12

Whereas the average drop in pitch for all

choirs from first to last vowel was 3.9Hz
in before samples, it was reduced to I. I Hz
Men's choir singing the vowel series [i]-[e]-[y]-[a] before chiaroscuro in after examples. While choristers may
(compare with Illustration 5). still be singing slightly out of tune, the im
provement realized by the application of
chiaroscuro harmonic equalization may in
Illustration 5 fact bring these slight errors into the realm
of the indiscernible.
Another interesting factor that was
revealed is that in 9 out of 12 cases (not
all represented here), choirs began the
after portion of vocal exercises at a higher
and more correct, pitch than when the
same exercise had been executed prior
to having worked on chiaroscuro resonance
balancing (when the choirs' initial sound
was usually slightly lower than the given
test pitch).This implies that beginnings of
phrases will be immediately more in tune
when choirs have the concept of complete
vowel resonance somewhat mastered, and
3.5 4.0 4.5 5.0 5.5 6.0
when they are encouraged to begin their
phrases with this type of balanced, verti
Men's choir singing the vowel series [i]-[e]-[y]-[a] after chiaroscuro
cally-enlivened resonance.
(compare with Illustration 4).
The Italian masters even went so far as
to admonish breathing in the full resonance
of the vowel and vividly imagining complete
. , „ chiaroscuro resonance prior to making a
Although there are still slight drops and also more gradual and will undoubtedly soundyTo anticipatethe fee| of resonance
rises in pitch after having worked on chiar- be more easily forgiven by the ear than before and tQ kœp ^ sensat¡on
oscuro resonance balancing, it is evident the more jagged and pronounced drops d pau$es and after s¡ng¡n& ¡$ ^ ^
from Illustrations 3 and 5 that ensembles during the before segments. art of thg Go|den A of song;'i3
have been far more successful in maintain- If we interpret the results from a psy
ing the original fundamental frequency, cho-acoustics perspective, these findings
The variations in pitch in these graphs are may be more significant than they at first

Choral Journal • November 2008 59

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JEXpiME m* Research Report

Research Report
The Some Practical Applications a paint samp|6i you shou|drVt a,|ow your
choristers to sing similar but slightly differ
• In warm ups, have your choristers exag- ent vowel colors in your ensemble as the
a H CHORAL gerate the bright, chiaro element of reso- sounds will not blend or be in tune. Try
nance followed immediately by a similar experiments with half of the choir singing

FESTIVAL exaggeration of dark, oscuro resonance, a spread, horizontal version of a vowel
This can be done on the same vowel or with the other half singing a darker version
also by juxtaposing naturally bright and simultaneously. On your cue, have them all
dark vowels. Draw their attention to move to a complete, unified chiaroscuro
San Francisco - CALIFORNIA differences in both sound and sensation vowel (such as [a] in the word 'father')
MARCH 20-24, 2009 and encourage them to incorporate both and note how both quantity and quality
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elements in a tall, vertical approach to the of sound improve as well as intonation
Featuring GRAMMY winning San Francisco s singing of all vowels. Small, horizontal vow- and blend.
Featuring GRAMMY winning San Francisco
ucL mens chorus 'CFIANTICLEER'
. .nuAM-rini as the nemesis of chiaroscuro singing
rrn. e s are
based mens chorus CFIANTICLEER as 55
special guests. This fine west-coast festival ■ Instill in your singers' imaginations the
special guests. This fine west-coast festival
also features outstanding guest faculty •Remember that 'out of tone = out of feeling of preparing for complete, bright
also features outstanding guest faculty
and the Grace Cathedral. You may tune.' Just as you wouldn't normally paint warm resonance on each breath. One
and the Grace Cathedral. You may
choose to continue your California tour to a room by selecting three adjacent but must take a chiaroscuro breath which
choose to continue your California tour to
Los Angeles, San Diego or another destination different shades of the same color from prepares the hollow feeling in the head,
Los Angeles, San Diego or another destination
on the west coast of the United States. mouth, throat and chest in order to sing
on the west coast of the United States.
with complete resonance—when you
inhale you are already singing! Ensure that
your preparatory gesture is not encourag
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The Basin Music Festival els [e.g., i-e-a-o-a-e-i], maintaining the
Pacific Basin Music Festival
brightness of those vowels in the darker
vowels in the middle of the exercise and

not allowing intonation or "ring" to drop.

Ask singers to counteract the downward
New York Choral Festival
New York Choral Festival movement of the jaw (and spread, flat
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• Also do the opposite and begin and end

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with warmer vowels [o-a-e-i-e-a-o] and
Chffral Festival ^ encourage singers to maintain the round
AT THE ness and warmth of these vowels in the
In front of thousands of brighter potentially thinner vowels. The
World Projects International Music Productions has In front of thousands of goal, of course, is that no one vowel be
been producing music festivals & tours since 1984.
choral directors from too bright or too dark, too tight or too
choral directors from
spread, but that all have a beautiful, natural,
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Please contact us today for more information on any
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Contact Heidi Harmon to find out how you can
1-(800)-922-3976 Contact Heidi Harmon to find out how you can on vocal quality or intonation.
1-(800)-922-3976 advertise in the Choral Journal.
www.world-projects.com advertise in the Choral Journal.
www.world-projects.com phone: 405-232-8161
World Projects
phone: 405-232-8161
fax: 405-232-8162 • The placement of the tip of the tongue
International Music Productions e-mail: <hharmon@acdaonline.org>
International Music Productions e-mail: <hharmon@acdaonline.org> can greatly influence vowel resonance
CST 2025744-40
CST 2025744-40

60 Choral Journal • November 2008

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—the tongue is indirectly attached to the possible. Bel canto artists were renowned Blend and Choral Diction," Choral Journal
larynx via the hyoid bone. While singing not only for the beauty of their sound, but 23,6 (1983):30-31.
through the vowel series above, ask your also fortheir outstanding technical abilities, 5 J. Arden Hopkin, "Vowel Equalization," NATS
choristers to keep the tip of their tongue powers of expression and impeccable in Journal of Singing 53 (1997): 12-13.

resting easily on the back of the bottom tonation. Chiaroscuro resonance balancing 6 Sten Ternstrom and Johann Sundberg, "The
teeth throughout the series. Note that can help ensure that the same is true of Acoustics of Choir Singing," Collection
the tongue will want to draw back for of Papers Published by the Royal Swedish
choral singing today.
[o] and [u], but it should not.This will be Academy of Music 52 ( 1986): 22.
7 Sten Ternstrom, Johan Sundberg, and Anders
particularly useful in helping the [u] vowel
NOTES Colldén, "Articulator/ F° Perturbations and
carry (which it often doesn't) when one
Auditory Feedback," Journal of Speech and
section is singing the melody while others
The research in this article is based on the
Hearing Research 31(1988): 191.
are providing harmonic accompaniment O

Johan Sundberg, The Science of the Singing Voice

on an [u]. author's doctoral dissertation: Fagnan,
Laurier "The Acoustical Effects of the Core
(DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University
Press, 1987), 143.
• Crisp articulation of consonants need Principles of the Bel Canto Method on
9 Bolster; 29.
not mean disjointed, syllabified tone. Choral Singing." DMus. diss., University of
10 Ternstrom et al., "The Acoustics of Choir
Alberta, 2005.
Work with your choristers on the skill Singing," 19.
of sostenuto, i.e., of focused vibration and Manuel Garcia, Hints on Singing (New York:
11 TernstronV'Physical and Acoustic Factors that
Joseph Patelson, 1982), 46.
bright-warm resonance spinning non-stop Interact with the Singer to Produce Choral
3 W. E. Brown, Vocal Wisdom: Maxims of G.B.
for entire phrases without being disturbed Sound f Journal of Voice 5,2 ( 1991 ): 137.
Lamperti (NewYork: W.E.Brown, 1931):
by consonants. Begin with short phrases 2 Sundberg, The Science of the Singing Voice, 177.
in unison that incorporate mostly voiced 13 Brown 54.
4 Berton Coffin, The Sounds of Singing (Metuchen
consonants without too many different
N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1976), quoted in
vowels (miserere mei) before moving on
Stephen C. Bolster "The Fixed Formant
to more complex phrases. Throats are
Theory and Its Implications for Choral
made to resonate beautiful, chiaroscuro
vowels, not to squeeze consonants: con
sonants are to vowels what blinking is to
the eye.
/[ JVoít r7une. ...
. . /I Afewl/isiorv
JSfair l/isuHv. . .. ./\
. /\ Few ScJuwê\
l\fa<r ScJuH^'. .. ..
• Have your singers gradually increase
their chiaroscuro resonance on a scale of /tSj&ecíítfP^tcc
/í Sj&ccia^F^tce Fomse^My Sttcc&ss.
[~OWÁe¿¿~(hiy Success.
one to ten over the course of one page of
a song or several repetitions of an exercise, FFerFs
FÍierFs Oy^tce^Crj/(Uo
O/^Áx^ürj/úio a£ FC^CLZf
encouraging them to fill the emptiness of
all resonating cavities with bright-warm Degrees Offered: Bachelor of Arts in Music (Education)
resonance. Help them to be responsible Bachelor of Arts in Music (Performance)
for their own individual vocal production Bachelor of Arts in Music (Piano Pedagogy)
while training their ears and sensations to

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This study has shown that by helping
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Vocal and Choral Faculty: schooi. of music
accomplishment, you are also helping them Nancy Cobb-Lippens, D.M.A., Head of Choral Studies 10501 FGCU Boulevard South
to sing more in tune and with a more Jeanie Darnell, D.M.A., Head of Vocal Studies Fort Myers, Florida 33965-6565
unified sound. Chiaroscuro resonance can Lorine Buffington,
~~ D.M.A.,
1 -no Voice
no and Diction
coo http://www.fgcu.edu/cas/bsm
give a choir sounds it never dreamt were

Choral Journal • November 2008 61

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