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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:Fri, 7 Jul 2017 02:25:53 +0000

text/plain (64 lines)

I was a student in Burt Coffin’s Pedagogy Class when that article came out in Scientific American.  Dr. Coffin was very excited about it because it completely supported his research and knowledge of Formants in his own teaching and publications.  He had been President of NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) and presented his research at many of their national meetings. His work was, to put it simply, rejected by all but a few members.  We few members who studied with him were to spread his deeply felt knowledge and within a few years there were other voice laboratories such those by Johan Sundberg in Sweden, Ingo Titze at the University of Iowa, Richard Miller at Oberlin Conservatory of Music and others that supported his theories. There has also been research centering on the use of Formants at the University of New Zealand, and many more world wide. 
Then along came Donald Miller at Syracuse and the Gronigen Voice Research Lab in the Netherlands who developed an inexpensive computer program that analysis the sonic output of the singing voice and can easily create comparisons about formant tuning between successful singers.  And it is easy to use in the vocal studio as well. 
Finally it is now common to find articles about formants, their importance in understanding what is actually happening when a singer is singing well and the use of formant tuning in the NATS national publications.  It is gradually becoming better understood and its use in improving teaching efficiency and effectiveness. 
Lloyd W. Hanson<> 
On Jul 6, 2017, at 11:51 AM, Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote: 
My first introduction to the concept and terminology of vocal formants was from an issue of Scientific American in March, 1977. My voice teacher at the SF Conservatory of Music basically bought out local supplies and gave a copy to each of her students with the homework assignment to read it. The article was by Johan Sundberg. 
Being the sort who has always been equally fascinated by the sciences and arts, I was enthralled to see an actual scientific method describing what had previously been intuitive notions of the dramatically different effects on the sound of my voice from choosing different vowel formations. 
That article is still available online. 
Max Paley 
Sent from my iPhone 
On Jul 6, 2017, at 11:24, Lloyd William Hanson <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote: 
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<><> 
On Jul 6, 2017, at 8:53 AM, Godfrey Daniels <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[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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