Vocal Tension: Comparative Pedagogy in the Search for Commonality
Binkley, Brandy Leigh
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Vocal tension that can adversely affect the freedom of the singing voice is often a recurring issue in the studios of voice teachers. The purpose of this document is to investigate techniques for alleviating different types of tension in the body that hinder the beauty and ease of the vocal sound. The first half of the paper examines various vocal pedagogies and treatises of the past and present, along with other related literature to see how vocal tension has been addressed. The latter half includes results from interviews that were conducted with eleven college voice professors as a means of comparing and contrasting current studio practices and observations related to vocal tension. The literature review produced no common method to deal with the issue of unwanted vocal tension in singing, and it was clear from the interviews that there is a need for a method that would offer multiple solutions to the same problem. The paper suggests that continued research is needed in this area, with a focus on physiological responses to unwanted vocal tension. In addition, the author suggests the creation of sources whose main purpose would be to discuss different types of unwanted vocal tension and multiple approaches to correcting each problem.