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April 15th  2012 - COMET - Sao Paulo Brazil

Individual harmonic listening for the improvement of the speaking and singing voice



ENT, Phoniatrician, Phonosurgeon

Former laryngologist of the EAL of the Paris Opera

Member of CoMeT, Association Française des Professeurs de Chant, VONOD,

forum IRCAM, l'IALP, COST2103

Former professor of musical acoustics of ENST (Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Télécom) (sup telecom Paris) and of phonetics: Institut de phonétique University Paris-Sorbonne


This is a live presentation of sounds not a powerpoint presentation.


Purpose: Provide new acoustic experience of the sounds produced by the voice, isolating the harmonics one by one with Audiosculpt.


High Speed Digital Imaging of the vocal cords were recorded during phonation produced by internationally known singers (male and female from bass to high soprano including countertenors) on a single vowel using Wolf Gmbh. Germany HSD system, Fourcin & Frokjaer Jensen laryngographs .

When analyzed frame-by-frame, astonishing movements of the vocal cords were noted.

Specifically :

different patterns of vibration in falsetto when sung by barytone (damping) or countertenor (no damping),

asymmetry of the mucosal wave was present at the beginning of each vocal cord cycle (one cord ABductng while the other was ADducting)

It became important to analyse the sounds produced and to listen to them separating each individual harmonic with the audiosculpt system.



Analysing the recorded sounds:

vowels by a barytone ;

sung phrases by M.Callas M.Caballe J.Brel J.Vickers E.Kitt B.Carvalho  P.da Viola M.Anderson R.Alagna N.Dessay Peter Gabriel and others with Audiosculpt and listening , analysing and modifying the harmonics one by one.

When a vowel is spoken or sung it has :

a pitch (the fundamental tone visible as the base line of a sonogram)

and harmonics (or partials) which are multiples of the pitch visible in the sonogram as parallel lines above.

Whether you sing a vowel a or i or u (or whatever vowell you can think of) at the same picth each harmonic sound the same  for every vowel (they have the same frequency) only their intesity differs.

The vocal tract in changing its shape and length works like voluntary equalizer increasing or decreasing the intensity of each partial.


It is the balance of the resulting intensities of the partials that make each vowel recognizable. By peaks which are called formants.



The singer’s formants is produced the same  way.

It is interesting to listen to the «sound of the singer’s formant» isolated from the sung phrase, and to listen to the same phrase with and without the formant.


Results: When isolated different parts of the sounds can be perceived and are the base of the "poussé-tiré de la voix" technique.


"poussé-tiré de la voix" technique:

              Three indispensable keys  that are  every professional, teacher,  actor and singer of any type of music should learn :


-         How to control the position of the larynx

-         How to control and reduce sub-glottal pressure

-        How to enrich and adjust the composition of harmonics in the voice (focalization, vertical and horizontal directionality, musicality and emotion, development and preservation of the voice)



Conclusions: Listening to the harmonics of the vocal signal one by one provides a new perception of the voice. This allows a new understanding of the quality of the voice and validates the singing technique called “poussé-tiré” de la voix.



One only perceives what one knows” quote from Goethe


Key Words: HSDI, vocal cycle, audiosculpt, harmonics, perception singing voice, speaking voice, singing technique, "poussé-tiré de la voix", emotion, preservation of the voice.