VC 567 Syllabus Voice Science: Advanced Perception and Analysis

Instructor: Dr. Ian Howell
Time and Location: Tuesdays 12-2 JH367
Office Hours: By appointment



Required Materials

  • Titze, Ingo, Principles of Voice Production 2nd Edition; Bozeman, Kenneth, Practical Vocal Acoustics
  • Course packet of additional readings and multimedia DVDs
  • Access to a computer (Mac or PC) and the Internet
  • Access to the NEC Voice and Sound Analysis Laboratory


Vocal Pedagogy Majors must take VC565 and VC566 first. No prerequisite for
students taking as an elective.


Not open to freshmen or sophomores; open to all other graduate and
undergraduate students.

Course Description

This course introduces students to the physical, acoustical, and perceptual
principles that form the basis of our current scientific understanding of voice production
and sound perception. Topics covered include basic anatomy, fluid dynamics, vocal fold
oscillation, sound propagation, formants and the non-linear source/filter model, and the
frequently paradoxical psychoacoustics of singing voice perception. Students will explore
this material through readings, research projects and presentations, and experimentation
in the NEC Voice and Sound Analysis Laboratory. Primary texts include Principles of
Voice Production by Ingo Titze, Resonance in Singing by Donald Miller, and Practical
Vocal Acoustics by Kenneth Bozeman. 2 Credits

As the PRIMARY OBJECTIVES of this course, students will:

  • Gain a broad knowledge base of the current state of scientific study of the singing
    and speaking voice
  • Develop an understanding of the way that the human body’s physiological,
    acoustical, and perceptual constraints dictate successful approaches to singing,
    predict problematic areas of the voice, and explain the characteristic sound of an
    elite singer
  • Hone their perceptual skills and gain the ability to hear a given spectral envelope
    in terms of its constituent sub-timbres
  • Further explore an area of research interest and cultivate writing and presentation
  • Gain fluency with the analysis software used in the NEC Voice and Sound
    Analysis Laboratory
  • Contemplate the way in which complex scientific information must be mediated
    in the teaching studio
  • Contemplate the way in which the scientific method is applicable to subjective
    elements of voice training

Course Assignments

  • Readings will be assigned most weeks, and students will be expected to come to
    class prepared to discuss them. Students will be responsible for giving short
    introductory presentations and leading discussions based on the readings (counts
    toward classroom participation). Students will also participate in an online
    discussion forum each week based on the readings.
  • Weekly listening exercises will be given most weeks.
  • Students will find one article related to voice science from the past ten (10) years in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of AmericaThe Journal of Voice, or The Journal of Logopedics Phoniatrics Vocology. (All indexes should be visible to the public online; I can help you get access to these articles when you find one you like.) Students will present the article in class (20 minutes) utilizing whatever multimedia is useful. Students will hand in a 500 word summary of the thesis, methodology, and conclusions, due on the day of the presentation.
  • Most weeks, students will spend an hour or more in the NEC Voice and Sound Analysis Lab, and will submit specific software files to instructor via email demonstrating specific technical competencies with the lab equipment.
  • Students will take periodic quizes.
  • Students will write a final paper on a research area
    related to the material, and present on one aspect of their paper (15 minutes). Topics must be approved by the instructor. Word limits (exclusive of front and back matter, and footnotes):

    1. MM Pedagogy Majors: 2,250-2,750
    2. DMA: 2,500-3,000
    3. All others: 2,000-2,500

There is no final exam.


  • Classroom participation (includes online discussions about readings, lab competency files, and other presentations) 30%
  • Quizes 20%
  • Final paper 35%
  • Final 20-minute presentation 15%

Technical Requirements for all Written Work

Any written assignment must be submitted electronically to your shared dropbox folder as either a WORD or POWERPOINT file. Weekly readings reactions will be submitted via my website. Please follow the style guide found in the shared dropbox folder.



Due Dates

All written work must be submitted by 11:59 pm on the designated due date.
Please feel free to turn in any assignment ahead of time. I will allow you one rewrite
(based on my comments) for a higher grade. A half grade will be subtracted for each day
following the due date. You are required to have access to your school email, which
automatically time and date stamps your emails. Plan ahead to turn your materials in on
time. Communicate with me early if there is going to be an issue.

Your proposal (1,000 words max, with a statement of purpose section, state of research section, and preliminary bibliography) is due Tuesday, October 31st.

The first draft of your paper is due Tuesday, November  14th.


Academic Integrity

This class follows the academic integrity policy of this conservatory, and
plagiarism could lead to expulsion. All direct quotes, all paraphrases, and all borrowed
ideas must be cited. A reader a century from now should be able to reconstruct your
research process and find her way to all of your sources.

Class Attendance and Participation

You are expected to come to all classes on time, having completed all
assignments, ready to discuss the material. If you must miss class for an approved reason
(meaning a medical emergency or performance), make sure to document it with the Dean
of Students. Otherwise your participation grade will suffer. If you miss more than three
classes for any reason, you should talk to me about your future in the course.

Have a question or concern? Talk with me early on.


Preliminary Course Calendar (Subject to Change)

Unit One: Acoustics and Sound Propagation

Week 1: Introduction: Acoustics and sound propagation, source/filter theory

Week 2: Practical Vocal Acoustics (1)

Week 2: Practical Vocal Acoustics (2)

Week 3: Psychoacoustics

Week 4: The Special Psychoacoustics of the singing voice (1)

Week 5: The Special Psychoacoustics of the singing voice (2)

Unit Two: Anatomy and Medical Instrumentation

Week 6: More advanced laryngeal, vocal tract, and postural A & P

Week 7: Biomechanics of Laryngeal Tissue, Fluid Flow in Respiratory Airways, Vocal Fold Oscillation

Week 8: Voice instrumentation in a medical voice clinic

Week 9: MGH Voice Center Lab Visit

Week 10: Therapeutic interventions

Unit Three: Presentations

Week 11: Catch up

Week 12: Presentations

Week 13: Presentations



Course Bibliography
Arneson, Christopher. Voice Repertoire from a Developmental Perspective. Deleware:
Inside View Press, 2015.
Coffin, Berton. Historical Vocal Pedagogy Classics. Lanham: Scarecrow, 1989.
Doscher, Barbara M. The Functional Unity of the Singing Voice. London: Scarecrow,
Feldenkrais, Moshé. Awareness Through Movement: Health Exercises for Personal
Growth. New York: Harper & Row, 1972.
Garcia II, Manuel. A Complete Treatise on the Art of Singing. The editions of 1847 and
1872 edited and translated by Donald V. Paschke. New York: Da Capo Press,
Garcia, Manuel. Exercises and Method for Singing. London: T. Boosey & Co., 1824.
Hines, Jerome. Great Singers on Great Singing. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1982.
McCoy, Scott. Your Voice: An Inside View. Delaware: Inside View Press, 2012.
McKinney, James C. The Diagnosis and Correction of Vocal Faults. Nashville: Genevox
Music Group, 1994.
Miller, Donald. Resonance in Singing. Princeton: Inside View Press, 2008.
Miller, Richard. On the Art of Singing. New York: Oxford University, 1996.
___________. The Structure of Singing: System and Art in Vocal Technique. New York:
Schirmer, 1986.
Reid, Cornelius L. Voice: Psyche and Soma. New York: J. Patelson Music, 1975.
Howell Proposed Vocal Pedagogy Courses, 17 January 2016
Smith, W. Stephen. The Naked Voice. Oxford: Oxford University, 2007.
Sundberg, Johan. The Science of the Singing Voice. DeKalb: Northern Illinois
University, 1987.
Titze, Ingo R. Principles of Voice Production. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall,
Titze, Ingo R., and Katherine Verdolini Abbott. Vocology: The Science and Practice of
Voice Habilitation. Salt Lake City, UT: National Center for Voice and Speech,
Vennard, William. Singing: The Mechanism and the Technique. New York: Carl Fischer,
Additional videos and media from The National Center for Voice and Speech and Inside
View Press