Monday, 15 September 2008

The human voice: Pavarobotti, singing styles etc

I recently watched the documentary The Voice about the science of the human voice, how it works and why it's so hard to replicate it - whether it's an artificial voice through machine synthesis of speech / singing, or in mimicking other people's voices (the programme also featured famed impressionist Rory Bremner, whose imitation of Tony Blair actually improved after a comparative analysis of their speech). It's a repeat, but I'd missed it when it was first broadcast.

You can watch The Voice free via the BBC iPlayer (more info on BBC iPlayer) until 8:29pm Friday 19 September 2008.

It was presented by Prof David Howard who has a chair in music technology at the University of York (I'd heard him speak before on the voice and vocal care etc, though he never did reply to my email asking about his supposedly freely available WinSingad voice analysis free software).

I absolutely loved the Pavarobotti (produced by Dr Ingo Titze and team), which you can hear singing Nessun Dorma on YouTube:

And here's another link I found from Stuttgart University of the Pavarobotti, rather less interestingly, singing the word "Fly" several times!

It was also fascinating to hear voice coach Christella Antoni, who has such deep physiological / anatomical knowledge and fine control over her own vocal apparatus that she can sing to order in many disparate styles. On the programme she sang in the styles of Katie Melua, Barbra Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald and Ethel Merman! Impressive.

(She appears in fact to specialise in speech and language therapy for male to female (MTF) transgender / transsexual individuals in London - I wonder if she'd be willing to coach non-trans people in singing, especially belt? If I could just learn to belt properly, I'd - well, with one or two other things - die happy. She seems to be a proponent of the Estill school though, which as I've said before isn't necessarily supported by all good singing teachers.)

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