A. Nair seminar, The Craft of Singing - Tradition & Technology, Dec. 15th, 2016 at 2.30, amphi Urbain

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15 décembre 2016 14:30 » 18:00 — A1 (Urbain)

ESPCI Paris, amphi Urbain
Dec. 15th, 2016 - 2.30

Angelika Nair, Ph.D.

Adj. Asst. Prof. Voice, Drew University
Adj. Voice Professor, College Saint Elizabeth
Guest-Lecturer, University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, AT
Owner Pro Voce, LLC

“From the terror of a scream to the beauty of a song”… only an extraordinary instrument, such as the human voice, can convey extremes like these in a moment. This makes it the more surprising that we have begun to truly understand what makes up the voice only in recent years ; we learn even new anatomy virtually every year. Although it is the larynx that gets most attention in phonation, when looking at singers one can observe almost all body systems being involved.

Furthermore, the characteristic in Classical singing is the rich resonance that surrounds the language sounds. However, it is far, far removed from the speech norm of the singer, therefor demanding massive retraining of their neuromuscular phonetic activity while maintaining text intelligibility. New research on production techniques such as the Low Mandible Maneuver (LMM – the downward relaxation of the singer’s posterior mandible) and the rehabituation of tongue movements and positions are examples, showing that there is much more admixing of innovation both motor and sensory than it was thought of not long ago.

To achieve this superior phonation of classical singing it requires a finely tuned athletic apparatus. However, traditionally, vocal pedagogy relies on kinesthetically-based descriptions and auditory modelling with the teacher relying only on his/her (well-trained) ear. As a result, singers rarely get direct visual biofeedback and are left to a non-fact-based vocal technique rather than a more objective understanding of how the instrument works – training that can be understood in terms of anatomy and physics. Quite unlike in sport science, where biofeedback is a methodology used to obtain data as well as a training and coaching method.

More voice science, especially on an interdisciplinary level, is needed to clarify how the instrument actually works and that can help move pedagogy more toward the objective side. It is the interdisciplinary collaboration that is responsible for advances in rapid applications. Consequently, the end-product is more assured and the joy we desire, for both performer and audience, is attainable on a surer and more-quickly-acquired basis.

The presentation will give an introduction to the Craft of Singing and employ videos, acoustic analysis (spectrography) and stop-action imagery to illustrate among others factors such as the Low Mandible Maneuver, the importance of consonant resonance (CR) as well as on how to maneuver the tongue for best results through the biofeedback of ultrasound.

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