The singing voice and vocal identity: investigating the perceptions and beliefs of singers and teachers
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 17:59 authored by Belinda Lemon-McMahon
The term, vocal identity, is evident in the discourse on singing and vocal pedagogy. However, there has been limited research into what vocal identity is or even if it truly exists. Moreover, very little is understood as to how vocal identity is connected to the singing-self or to a singer's identity. Therefore, this research investigates the perceptions of singers and singing teachers on the development of vocal sound, and the relationship of vocal sound to vocal identity in Western musics. The research specifically explores the influence of vocal learning, culture, family, performing and community on the development of a singer, and on his or her individual vocal sound. The research encompasses a range of ages (18 and over), professional and amateur singers, and singers/singing teachers of any level of training (including untrained). The research was primarily qualitative and comprised of two stages of data collection. The initial stage surveyed singers and singing teachers on their perceptions of vocal sound and potential contributing factors, the findings of which formed the basis of investigation for the second stage of research. Symbolic interactionism and motivational theory were utilised in data analysis. The second research stage involved case study analyses of in-depth interviews with, and vocal recordings of, ten singers/singing teachers. A selection of the vocal recordings was then used for perceptual listening analyses by a panel of experienced listeners. Panel perceptions were compared to spectral analyses of the audio samples so as to investigate the similarities and differences between aural observations and visual analysis. The findings from all stages of the research led to the development of emergent themes. Cumulatively, the themes facilitated a comprehensive definition of vocal identity to be determined. Furthermore, a theoretical model, including the influences and influencers, and the connection of vocal identity to the singing-self, was progressively established.