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Subject: Re: Kaufman in Otelloââ‚ ¬Ã‚¦ NY Times:
From: Lloyd William Hanson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Lloyd William Hanson <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 6 Jul 2017 18:24:46 +0000
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Formants are the frequencies to which an enclose or semi-enclosed resonant chamber responds.  The vocal tract (all of the space from the vocal folds to the lips of the face which includes the pharynx and the buccal space or mouth) are, in effect, a single resonant chamber, and as such, will respond to particular frequencies.  If these frequencies are part of the harmonics of the sung pitch, the vocal tract will resonate these harmonics and, in so doing, increase their amplitude or loudness. 
 
The singer can adjust the formants of the vocal tract through manipulation of the opening of the throat and pharynx, raising the roof of the mouth, opening the jaw and shaping the lips etc. In so doing the singer is having great control over which of the harmonics of each pitch that is being sung will be emphasized.  This is referred to as “formant tuning” and is used by all successful acoustic singers.  It is not as necessary for amplified singers since electronics allows them to be easily heard over a band or orchestra. 
 
Formant tuning has improved over the 300 plus years of acoustic singing in larger and larger venues with larger and larger orchestras. I has only been clearly defined as formant tuning in about the last 20 years but it has always been the primary goal of all opera and ligit singers and their teachers as, for example, they painstakingly practice arpeggios which emphasize the commonalities of harmonics that is the foundation of each arpeggio. 
 
You can see other articles about formants on my web sits listed below my signature 
 
Lloyd W. Hanson 
lloydwhanson.com<http://lloydwhanson.com/> 
 
 
 
 
On Jul 6, 2017, at 8:53 AM, Godfrey Daniels <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote: 
 
I wonder if these formants are the same as what some call harmonics? I recall Gheorghiu 
remarking that she constantly tries to maximize the harmonics sounding in the tone she 
produces. In addition to making her voice beautiful this might explain how her voice which 
some call small can fill a hall in a verismo opera. 
 
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