In June 2007, 2012 and 2014 Julian McGlashan and Cathrine Sadolin performed endoscopy studies and endoscopy/high speed studies in 2012 and 2014 at CVI in Copenhagen.
Twenty-one singers (ten males and eleven females) in 2007, thirteen singers (seven male and six females) in 2012, and sixteen singers (seven males and nine females) in 2014, a total of 32 singers (fifteen male and seventeen females), trained in the Complete Vocal Technique were recruited and asked to produce a sustained vowel in each of the four modes and then breaking between the mode. Subsequently they were asked to alternate between a change between the mode with or with out breaks.
26 subjects had pictures that we could analyse for this particular study, so the rest were excluded as they could either not tolerate the examination, did not perform the vocal breaks correctly, or the image quality was not adequate for interpretation.
Each singer was examined using an OTVS7 camera (Olympus) and ENFV2 videoscope (Keymed) coupled to the Laryngostrobe (Laryngograph) digital capture system. Laryngograph electrodes were positioned over the thyroid cartilages and an omnidirectional microphone placed at distance from the singer which allowed recordings at all levels of loudness. Also the ELG and acoustic signals were captured and analysed with the Speech Studio (Laryngograph) software program.
Each set of modes (with and without vocal breaks) video images were analysed by Julian McGlashan and Cathrine Sadolin and the appearance and relationship between the key anatomical features was agreed by consensus and documented. The consistent features were identified and descriptive and explanatory text to aid pattern recognition.
The Laryngeal gestures are more to be seen as patterns of progression from mode to mode, rather than aboslutes. The progession in the patterns can be used as guidelines on how to identify the modes within each singer.
For the vocal breaks these are the parameters we looked at: the shape of the glottis, the position of the false cords, the anterior posterior narrowing, the shape of the pirriforma fossa, the hight of the larynx, the pharyngeal wall, the epiglottis and the arytenoid/cuneiform complex.
Not only did we look at what was changing between using the mode and the mode with vocal breaks, we also looked at what was actually vibrating.
To get a better understanding of the laryngeal changes associated with vocal breaks and to examine the interaction of supraglottic vibration during intentional vocal breaks and vocal fold vibration.
We gave the various parts in the vocal tract levels in order to identify and specify on which levels the various changes take place. The levels also make it easier to communicate where the changes take place. On the videos from the footage only the first 3-4 levels are seen. For more info on the level, click here.
When we look at the video examples of the mode change with smooth transitions and mode change with vocal breaks, we see that vocal breaks always involve the flageolet, and very often the vocal breaks is used between a metallic modes – and Neutral, or flageolet. When we hear the mode change we also clearly see the change in laryngeal gestures as well as the change in the EGG waveform according to the respective vocal modes. Besides this, we also see the flageolet between the two setting for the modes. When we hear a smooth transition we also see a gradual change from one setting of the laryngeal gestures and EGG waveform, to the other, with no flageolet in between.
Vocal breaks can be done safely.
In all the examples where we can see the vocal folds, or look at the laryngograph trace, there seems to be a resonably regular pattern, and there didn’t appear to be any evidence of the effect (or any additional noises) being produced in the vocal fold level.
There was evidence on endoscopy or from the Laryngograph of periodic vocal fold vibration.
It need a good technique to ensure accurate vocal mode setting done correctly and an intentional application of the effect.
This information comes from a study Visual Vocal Mode Test Study on stills, with the title ‘Laryngeal gestures and Laryngograph data associated with the four vocal modes as described in the Complete Vocal Technique method of singing teaching’. This study was presented by Cathrine Sadolin and Julian McGlashan at BVA ‘Choice for voice’ conference in London, England, 2010.
This study with the title ‘To Break or not to break – that is a choice!’ was presented by Cathrine Sadolin & Julian McGlashan at Pevoc 9 (Pan-European Voice Conference) Marseille, France, August 2011.