Vocal qualities in music theater voice

Perceptions of expert pedagogues

Tracy Bourne*, Dianna Kenny

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives/Hypothesis: To gather qualitative descriptions of music theater vocal qualities including belt, legit, and mix from expert pedagogues to better define this voice type. Study Design: This is a prospective, semistructured interview. Methods: Twelve expert teachers from United States, United Kingdom, Asia, and Australia were interviewed by Skype and asked to identify characteristics of music theater vocal qualities including vocal production, physiology, esthetics, pitch range, and pedagogical techniques. Responses were compared with published studies on music theater voice. Results: Belt and legit were generally described as distinct sounds with differing physiological and technical requirements. Teachers were concerned that belt should be taught "safely" to minimize vocal health risks. There was consensus between teachers and published research on the physiology of the glottis and vocal tract; however, teachers were not in agreement about breathing techniques. Neither were teachers in agreement about the meaning of "mix." Most participants described belt as heavily weighted, thick folds, thyroarytenoid-dominant, or chest register; however, there was no consensus on an appropriate term. Belt substyles were named and generally categorized by weightedness or tone color. Descriptions of male belt were less clear than for female belt. Conclusions: This survey provides an overview of expert pedagogical perspectives on the characteristics of belt, legit, and mix qualities in the music theater voice. Although teacher responses are generally in agreement with published research, there are still many controversial issues and gaps in knowledge and understanding of this vocal technique. Breathing techniques, vocal range, mix, male belt, and vocal registers require continuing investigation so that we can learn more about efficient and healthy vocal function in music theater singing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128.e1-128.e12
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Voice
Volume30
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Belt
  • Legit
  • Mix
  • Music theater
  • Pedagogy
  • Voice

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