Vocal Dose and Vocal Demands in Contemporary Musicals

Conference: The Kyoto Conference on Arts, Media & Culture (KAMC2022)
Title: Vocal Dose and Vocal Demands in Contemporary Musicals
Stream: Performing Arts Practices: Theater, Dance, Music
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Ana Flavia Zuim, New York University, United States
Celia Stewart, New York University, United States
Ingo Titze, University of Utah, United States


Participation in a musical theatre production can be physically, vocally, and emotionally challenging. During the rehearsal process, students use their voices extensively in singing as well as spoken dialogue, in addition to everyday social circumstances. Dosimetry studies provide valuable information regarding vocal load; however, few studies have been conducted so far, and none have been found to address the specific vocal load of singers cast in a vocally demanding lead role in a contemporary musical. Some contemporary musical theatre roles require specific sonorities or styles of vocalisms that involve a high level of vocal coordination. The overall rehearsal process for such a part can be taxing on the vocal mechanism, having, therefore, the potential to impact singers’ overall vocal health. Baseline levels of vocal load for performers have not yet been established in the field. This study aims to investigate the vocal dose of lead and ensemble singers during a musical production in comparison to a day-off from rehearsal, as well as compare the vocal demands across genre and gender. This study was conducted using Kaypentax APM 3200, an ambulatory monitoring system, to capture acoustic data during preparation for the musical Wonderland, by Frank Wildhorn. Data was collected over 12-hour periods, over four different points throughout the rehearsal process: beginning, middle, and end during rehearsals, plus an off-rehearsal day for establishing a baseline vocal load. Student singers were attached to the Kaypentax APM 3200 electrodes for a total of 12 hours, both during a rehearsal day and an off-rehearsal day.

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