Analysis of the glottal and supraglottal configuration and acoustic data in countertenor singing




Countertenors, Voice, Singing, Laryngeal adjustments, Singer's form


Singers perform different vocal adaptations to sing both lyrical and popular music. The mechanism M1 (modal register) is predominant, but a small portion uses the mechanism M2 (falsetto register). In the lyrical singing, it is the countertenor who makes this peculiar vocal emission. The present study analyzed through nasofiberscopic, glottic, and supraglottic adjustments performed by countertenors, as well as the presence and level of the singer’s formant. The tasks (two interval leaps - a minor sixth and a perfect fourth – and a crescendo in sustained note) were taken from an aria by Georg Friedrich Haendel. During the crescendo, a lowering of the larynx and pharyngeal widening were observed; pharyngeal constrictions and laryngeal elevation were observed in both leaps executions; no glottal chink or air leak were detected. Singer’s formant was identified on all subjects. Professional countertenors performed better than non-professional because they had a higher level of singer's formant and, supralaryngeal adjustments that favor vocal emission with less constrictions and a higher degree of larynx lowering, therefore compatible with better vocal emission.


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Author Biographies

Tiago Lima Bicalho Cruz, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil

Graduated in Speech Therapy and professional singer, specialized in the area of vocal therapy, he has a master's and is currently a PhD student in sonology. Research interests are: singing voice, acoustic signals, electroglotographic signals, vocal physiology and performance.

Mauricio Alves Loureiro, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil

He has a degree in Aeronautical Engineering from ITA - Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica (1976), Bachelor of Music, Clarinet qualification from Staatliche Hochschule für Musik Freiburg / Albert-Ludwigs Universität Freiburg, Germany (1983), Master of Music from the University of Iowa, USA (1989) and Doctor of Music from the University of Iowa (1991). He was Professor at the Instituto de Artes of UNESP - Universidade Estadual Paulista (1984-1992) and Assistant First Clarinet of OSESP - Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo. Currently he is Researcher level 1B of CNPq - National Council for Scientific and Technological Development, Professor at the School of Music at the Federal University of Minas Gerais and Director of IEAT - Institute for Advanced Transdisciplinary Studies at UFMG. He has experience in Music with emphasis on Sonology, working mainly on the following topics: musical performance, clarinet, musical acoustics and empirical analysis of musical performance.


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How to Cite

Cruz, Tiago Lima Bicalho, and Mauricio Alves Loureiro. 2021. “Analysis of the Glottal and Supraglottal Configuration and Acoustic Data in Countertenor Singing”. Per Musi, no. 40 (June):1-19.



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