“Vocal Advantage: Tone (part 2)” by Dina Else
Date: January 13, 2014
VOCAL ADVANTAGE: TONE (part 2), by Dina Else (no. 21 in a series)
As we begin our discussions on tone I’d like to share McKinney’s opening statements on the topic in his book Diagnosis and Corrections of Vocal Faults:
Characteristics of a Musical Tone
Musical tone has five characteristic properties or essential elements: duration, intensity, pitch, sonance, and timbre. Each of these properties has a specific meaning, which can be expressed in concrete objective terms, in other words, each is capable of accurate measurement by scientific methods.
Duration: is how long musical tone lasts
Intensity: deals with the amount of energy in the sound—the strength of the sound—and can be measured objectively by its decibel level. The intensity of a sound is represented by the amplitude of its wave.
Pitch: is the frequency of vibration of a musical tone as expressed in the number of vibrations per second.
Timbre: is the primary factor which enables you to distinguish between two instruments or voices performing the same pitch with the same intensity.
Sonance: is also concerned with the identifying characteristic elements of sound; however, instead of being limited to the r=frequency structure of the sound, it is related to patterns of change in the sound, including changes of timbre.
Here is what McKinney shares in regard to the characteristics of vocal sound.
Characteristics of Good Vocal Sound
Pleasant to listen to
Loud enough to be heard easily
Rich, ringing, and resonant
Energy flows smoothly from note to note
Vibrant, dynamic, and alive
Negative Characteristics that Preclude Good Vocal Sound
Constricted, forced, or strained
Strident or rasping
Too loud, resembling shouting or yelling
Weak, colorless, or devitalized
Shaky or wobbly