Can vocal effects such as distortion, grunting and growling be produced without traumatising the vocal folds?

Julian McGlashan1, Cathrine Sadolin2

Extreme singing voice qualities as produced by certain rock singers sound damaging to the voice yet many can produce these sounds for prolonged sessions and over many years without apparently running into trouble. The ‘Complete Vocal Technique’ has been developed to help singers build the sound quality they wish to produce in a healthy manner. In addition to the four basic modes of vocal quality, Neutral, Curbing, Overdrive, and Belting additional effects can be added such as distortion, growling and grunts. The aim of this laryngostroboscopic study of a trained male and female singer was to identify the vibratory structures responsible for these specific sound qualities and in addition identify the whether there is any evidence of damaging vocal fold vibration.
The results of this preliminary study indicate that these sounds appear to be produced by vibration of the supraglottic structures in combination with the vocal folds. There does not appear to be excessive constriction or harmful vibration at the glottal level.

1Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Queen’s Medical Centre Campus, Nottingham University Hospitals Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK

2Complete Vocal Institute, Hausergade 3-5. 1128 Copenhagen Denmark

This presentation is from PEVOC7 (7th Pan European Voice Conference) in Groningen, August 2007, where a huge interest lead to an improvised change of schedule so this presentation could be repeated for everyone at the conference.

Please note: The word BELTING is replaced by EDGE.

The term ‘Belting’ is used with different meanings by different singing technique methods. To avoid confusion CVT does not use the term ‘Belting’ anymore. Since mid 2008 CVT has changed the mode name ‘Belting’ into ‘Edge’.

Julian McGlashan,Extreme vocal effects – 1/2

Julian McGlashan, Extreme vocal effects – 2/2