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A case-study investigation of respiration in operatic singing: an implementation of research design and applications

Katty Kochman UGent, Michiel Demey, Dirk Moelants UGent and Marc Leman UGent (2011) JOURNAL OF INTERDISCIPLINARY MUSIC STUDIES. 5(1). p.41-55
abstract
Background in Music Performance. Previous research proposes a relationship between respiration and the communicative processes of dramatic expression in operatic singing. Controlled respiration is an essential component in operatic singing, providing the singer with support for a proper production of tone and an important factor in the structuring of melodic phrases. Respiratory regulation relates directly to the effective execution of expressive components of singing performance, including timbral variations, paralinguistic features, and expressive markings such as dynamic variations and messa di voce. While respiration is an automatic process controlled by the respiratory center of the nervous system, the rate, depth and rhythm of breathing can be modified unconsciously by mental emotions or consciously by different breathing patterns. Both processes are nonlinguistic methods with which a singer is able to communicate the expressive musical intention of a vocal composition. As such, they may be used as devices to reveal emotional subtexts and the expressive intentionality of the vocal performance. Background in Embodied Cognition in Mediation. The theoretical paradigm of embodied music cognition assists systematic musicology research in the understanding of its role in singing. Embodied involvement in music allows performers to interpret and communicate effectively the expressive intentions of a composition to the audience. Furthermore, this theoretical paradigm may provide a better understanding of the subjective experiences and cognitive processes that enrich musical performance. Aims. The aim was to develop an ecologically valid methodology relating to both conscious and unconscious respiration that could be used to examine the role of embodied cognition in dramatic and expressive vocal performance. Main Contribution. This paper presents a methodology and the preliminary implementation of an experimental framework through which the effects of respiration on dramatic expressivity may be examined. The underlying theme was to examine the role of embodied music cognition in vocal performance. Since respiration in vocal performance involves both conscious and unconscious processes, the unconscious and conscious thoughts and decisions in vocal performance were considered as factors affecting the dramatic expressivity of a vocal performance. Within this context, ecological research methods were developed and utilized to monitor vocal performance for relevant data and vocal performance analysis. Timing intervals between rehearsal and performance were reliably consistent for the three vocal compositions used in the study. Lung volumes varied significantly for 2 of the 3 vocal pieces performed, and larger variations were observed during the musical climaxes of the compositions. Intensity was higher, while lung expansion was lower for performers in concert settings. Systematic differences were found between respiration patterns in the rehearsal and concert performances. Implications. Respiration is a communicative tool between a singer and audience members. The findings of the case study showed (1) that singers had strong control over the timing of their inhalations and (2) that there were systematic differences in breath volume between the rehearsal and public performance. The findings should assist in developing a better understanding of the respiratory system when it is used for singing, with implications for vocal pedagogy and performance. Additionally, the research may support previous studies that delineated between innate and learned behaviors during singing performance. As demonstrated by Collyer (2009), different stages of our kinematic strategies may not be subject to direct conscious manipulation. Consequently, behaviors that are not directly manipulated by the singer, or that are perceived to be different from actual kinematic patterns, may lend insight into an individual’s recurrent and automatic behavioral patterns within a musical performance.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
journalArticle (original)
publication status
published
subject
keyword
Music Performance, Operatic Singing, Respiratory Analysis, Audience Interaction, Vocal Performance, Embodied Music Cognition, Music Communication
journal title
JOURNAL OF INTERDISCIPLINARY MUSIC STUDIES
J. Interdiscip. Music Stud.
editor
Richard Parncutt, Ali C Gedik, Renee Timmers and Matthew Woolhouse
volume
5
issue
1
issue title
Nature versus culture
article number
3
pages
41 - 55
ISSN
1307-0401
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
A2
copyright statement
I have transferred the copyright for this publication to the publisher
VABB id
c:vabb:322574
VABB type
VABB-1
id
1865661
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-1865661
date created
2011-08-03 11:39:15
date last changed
2016-12-21 15:41:55
@article{1865661,
  abstract     = {Background in Music Performance. Previous research proposes a relationship between respiration and the communicative processes of dramatic expression in operatic singing. Controlled respiration is an essential component in operatic singing, providing the singer with support for a proper production of tone and an important factor in the structuring of melodic phrases. Respiratory regulation relates directly to the effective execution of expressive components of singing performance, including timbral variations, paralinguistic features, and expressive markings such as dynamic variations and messa di voce. While respiration is an automatic process controlled by the respiratory center of the nervous system, the rate, depth and rhythm of breathing can be modified unconsciously by mental emotions or consciously by different breathing patterns. Both processes are nonlinguistic methods with which a singer is able to communicate the expressive musical intention of a vocal composition. As such, they may be used as devices to reveal emotional subtexts and the expressive intentionality of the vocal performance. Background in Embodied Cognition in Mediation. The theoretical paradigm of embodied music cognition assists systematic musicology research in the understanding of its role in singing. Embodied involvement in music allows performers to interpret and communicate effectively the expressive intentions of a composition to the audience. Furthermore, this theoretical paradigm may provide a better understanding of the subjective experiences and cognitive processes that enrich musical performance. Aims. The aim was to develop an ecologically valid methodology relating to both conscious and unconscious respiration that could be used to examine the role of embodied cognition in dramatic and expressive vocal performance. Main Contribution. This paper presents a methodology and the preliminary implementation of an experimental framework through which the effects of respiration on dramatic expressivity may be examined. The underlying theme was to examine the role of embodied music cognition in vocal performance. Since respiration in vocal performance involves both conscious and unconscious processes, the unconscious and conscious thoughts and decisions in vocal performance were considered as factors affecting the dramatic expressivity of a vocal performance. Within this context, ecological research methods were developed and utilized to monitor vocal performance for relevant data and vocal performance analysis. Timing intervals between rehearsal and performance were reliably consistent for the three vocal compositions used in the study. Lung volumes varied significantly for 2 of the 3 vocal pieces performed, and larger variations were observed during the musical climaxes of the compositions. Intensity was higher, while lung expansion was lower for performers in concert settings. Systematic differences were found between respiration patterns in the rehearsal and concert performances. Implications. Respiration is a communicative tool between a singer and audience members. The findings of the case study showed (1) that singers had strong control over the timing of their inhalations and (2) that there were systematic differences in breath volume between the rehearsal and public performance. The findings should assist in developing a better understanding of the respiratory system when it is used for singing, with implications for vocal pedagogy and performance. Additionally, the research may support previous studies that delineated between innate and learned behaviors during singing performance. As demonstrated by Collyer (2009), different stages of our kinematic strategies may not be subject to direct conscious manipulation. Consequently, behaviors that are not directly manipulated by the singer, or that are perceived to be different from actual kinematic patterns, may lend insight into an individual{\textquoteright}s recurrent and automatic behavioral patterns within a musical performance.},
  articleno    = {3},
  author       = {Kochman, Katty and Demey, Michiel and Moelants, Dirk and Leman, Marc},
  editor       = {Parncutt, Richard and Gedik, Ali C and Timmers, Renee  and Woolhouse, Matthew},
  issn         = {1307-0401},
  journal      = {JOURNAL OF INTERDISCIPLINARY MUSIC STUDIES},
  keyword      = {Music Performance,Operatic Singing,Respiratory Analysis,Audience Interaction,Vocal Performance,Embodied Music Cognition,Music Communication},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {3:41--3:55},
  title        = {A case-study investigation of respiration in operatic singing: an implementation of research design and applications},
  volume       = {5},
  year         = {2011},
}

Chicago
Kochman, Katty, Michiel Demey, Dirk Moelants, and Marc Leman. 2011. “A Case-study Investigation of Respiration in Operatic Singing: An Implementation of Research Design and Applications.” Ed. Richard Parncutt, Ali C Gedik, Renee Timmers, and Matthew Woolhouse. Journal of Interdisciplinary Music Studies 5 (1): 41–55.
APA
Kochman, K., Demey, M., Moelants, D., & Leman, M. (2011). A case-study investigation of respiration in operatic singing: an implementation of research design and applications. (Richard Parncutt, A. C. Gedik, R. Timmers, & M. Woolhouse, Eds.)JOURNAL OF INTERDISCIPLINARY MUSIC STUDIES, 5(1), 41–55.
Vancouver
1.
Kochman K, Demey M, Moelants D, Leman M. A case-study investigation of respiration in operatic singing: an implementation of research design and applications. Parncutt R, Gedik AC, Timmers R, Woolhouse M, editors. JOURNAL OF INTERDISCIPLINARY MUSIC STUDIES. 2011;5(1):41–55.
MLA
Kochman, Katty, Michiel Demey, Dirk Moelants, et al. “A Case-study Investigation of Respiration in Operatic Singing: An Implementation of Research Design and Applications.” Ed. Richard Parncutt et al. JOURNAL OF INTERDISCIPLINARY MUSIC STUDIES 5.1 (2011): 41–55. Print.