Voice training and changing weight - Are they reflected in speaking fundamental frequency, voice range, and pitch breaks of 13-year-old girls? A longitudinal study

Elizabeth C. Willis*, Dianna T. Kenny

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Objective: Assessment of the voice-change progress of 20 girls (12-13 years) over 1 year by observing changes in speaking fundamental frequency (SFo), voice range, and register pitch breaks in the context of weight, height, voice training, and self-perception. Study Design: One-year longitudinal collective case study. Method: Twenty girls were recorded at the beginning and end of a year; nine girls were recorded another three times. SFo, vocal range, and characteristics were analyzed and interactions between these data assessed against weight and height to indicate pubertal development, and to test the hypothesis that changes in weight, height, SFo, and pitch breaks were related. Effects of training and the girls' self-perception of their voice use were also assessed. Results: Vocal characteristics changed as the girls passed through different weight ranges. During 47.5-52.4 kg (called band 2) and 52.4-57.5 kg (band 3), there was progressive contraction of vocal range and in some girls a slight rise in SFo between recording times 1 and 5. Both high- and low-pitch breaks were present in 45% of girls' voices. Girls in band 4 (<57.5 kg) had an increased vocal range, and pitch breaks in vocal-range areas that indicated the development of adult vocal registers. In this study, voice-trained girls were heavier, had higher SFo, used wider speech-range inflection, had a higher vocal range, and greater voice-use confidence; all girls lost confidence in their voice use over the year. Conclusions: In this longitudinal study of twenty 13-year-old girls, voice changes in SFo, vocal range, and pitch-break frequency were synchronous with certain weight ranges. Girls with training registered higher maximum phonational frequency and were more confident in their voice use than girls without training.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)e233–e243
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Voice
    Volume25
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011

    Keywords

    • Female adolescent changing voice
    • Longitudinal study
    • Pitch breaks
    • Vocal registers
    • Voice range

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