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“Vocal Advantage: Resonance” by Dina Else

VOCAL ADVANTAGE: RESONANCE, by Dina Else (no. 23 in a series)
Resonance.  Resonance is the amplification and modification of a sound that occurs when a sound passes through a resonator.  The sound from the larynx is amplified and modified as it passes through the vocal resonator, which is composed of the throat, the mouth, and the nose.
Resonance is the vocal element that gives power to the voice and lets the singer shade the color of the voice. 
Resonance is adjusted by changing the size and shape of the vocal tract.  Singers move their tongue, lips, jaw, soft palate, and head to make the difference resonance adjustments and form vowels and timbres.  Singers learn to maintain good resonance up and down the full range of their voice by making gradual adjustments from pitch to pitch.  Therefore, singers learn good resonance by practicing pure and modified vowel exercises. 
I find it help to be able to visualize this concept.  These days a quick search on the internet will lead you to any number of excellent demonstrations and explanations of resonance.  Here are two interesting video demonstrations: an x-ray scope of a vocal mechanism in action and a laboratory experiment using a synthesized vocal mechanism.
In A Spectrum of Voices, Joan Wall describes it this way “A well-resonated tone feels easy, free, and flexible.  There is no strain or tension in the throat.  Breath is easy.  It can move up and down the scale, change dynamics, and change timbres easily and flexibly.” She goes on to say “to identify good resonance in my studio, I listen for good intonation; clear vowels; a vibrant and spinning quality throughout the full range of the voice; a smooth vibrato; and an appropriate tone for style and the expression of the music.”
Join me next week as we work toward a clearer understanding of ‘The Singer’s Formant’.