The Measurement and Effects of Vocal Load in Singing Performance: How Much Singing Can a Singer Sing if a Singer Can Sing Songs?

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Singing as both an art form and physical activity demands a level of health and skill fitness to meet performance demands. The determination of performance fitness relies on performers' self-evaluations of their vocal capacity for performance, based, amongst other factors, on the current vocal status and ability to manage the associated vocal load. Measurement of load and the impact on the vocal mechanism is complex and influenced by many intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Researchers have attempted to quantify vocal load effects by measuring physical impact stress on the vocal folds, self-reported perceived exertion, and/or clinical evaluation of physiologic, acoustic, or perceptual changes. Most studies have been conducted in laboratory rather than in performance contexts and studies on singers are substantially lacking. Heavy vocal load has been causally associated with the development of voice disorders, although the exact relationship and thresholds for acquiring laryngeal pathology require further elucidation, and little is also known about the development of voice disorders among singers. Further understanding of the short-term and cumulative effect on the vocal folds of performing as a singer and the nature and prevalence of voice problems among singers is crucial to the determination of appropriate prevention and therapeutic management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-88
Number of pages10
JournalPerspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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