Female chorister voice development: A longitudinal study at Wells, UK

D M Howard, G F Welch

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Girl choristers are now more likely accepted in English cathedral choirs, although they rarely share the singing of the treble line for cathedral services. This paper reports acoustic data for individual female choristers at one cathedral in the UK, collected annually over a period of three years. The data are part of a larger study that is investigating the nature of the cathedral chorister's singing experiences and development. Identifiable trends in the acoustic data are linked to patterns of vocal development, education and culture. Furthermore, the longitudinal acoustic and physiological data of these girls' singing behaviours corresponds to that obtained previously for a much larger comparative sample of female choristers in all school years in terms of patterns of vocal fold vibration and spectral characteristics. The insights provided by the qualitative results into the social, cultural and musical experiences of these girl choristers are also discussed. They demonstrate something of the rather special world in which these children are being educated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-70
Number of pages8
JournalBulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education
Issue number153
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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