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How singers adapt to room acoustical conditions

Luizard, Paul; Brauer, Erik; Weinzierl, Stefan; Henrich Bernardoni, Nathalie

Previous studies on adaptation of performers to room acoustic conditions mostly focused on musicians. The present study deals with the strategies used by singers, whose musical instrument is inherently part of themselves, inducing a specific perception of the sound they produce. To overcome the variations of the acoustical characteristics of the rooms where they perform, singers tend to vary their sound production (e.g. sound intensity, spectral balance, tempo, articulation). To which extend do singers change their sound production when singing in different rooms? The methodology involves 7 rooms with different acoustical characteristics in which 4 singers performed 3 excerpts a capella of musical pieces. In each place, they were recorded by means of nearfield microphone capturing only the singing voice, i.e. without reverberation from the room. Omnidirectional and binaural room acoustic measurements were also performed on stage. Room acoustical parameters are derived from the measured impulse responses and musical descriptors are extracted from each note of the singing recordings, allowing to quantify the musical performances. The degree of correlation between singing and room acoustics is further considered, revealing both common and specific strategies used by the singers.
Published in: Proceedings of the Institute of Acoustics, Institute of Acoustics