Melissa TreinkmanUniversity of Southern California, USA
Title: Does Vocal Fatigue Negatively Affect Low Vocal Range in Professional, Female Opera Singers? A Survey Study and Single-Subject Pilot Study
1. To survey how vocal fatigue manifests itself in the vocal range of a sample of professional, female opera singers. 2. To assess laryngeal videostroboscopic changes of one professional, female opera singer before and after extended operatic singing.
Survey study: 296 professional, female opera singers were recruited to participate in an anonymous research survey querying the temporary impact of vocal fatigue in professional, female opera singers. 46.3% of participants described themselves as singing mainstage roles at large, A-level opera houses. Singers were asked to report where in their vocal range they experienced the effects of vocal fatigue and could choose more than one response. Single-subject study: One professional, female opera singer (the author) underwent two laryngeal videostroboscopic exams pre and post vocal loading. The exams were evaluated and compared independently by two blinded laryngologists.
The results of the survey found that 42.9% of the total responses from professional, female opera singers indicated a temporary impact on the lower middle range (?C4-F4) as a result of vocal fatigue. 36.5% of participants experienced a temporary impact on their lowest range (?below C4) and 19.6% reported a temporary impact on their higher range due to vocal fatigue. The results of the single-subject study showed reduced glottal closure pattern in the post loading, lower middle range, head voice condition.
A large proportion (64.9%) of the professional, female opera singers surveyed reported increased difficulty navigating their lower middle range and/or lowest range after extended operatic singing. These results support the single-subject study, which found that after vocal loading, there was a decrease in glottal competence while singing in head voice in the lower middle range.
Melissa Treinkman, DMA, is a singer, voice teacher, and voice researcher based in Los Angeles, California. She is an assistant professor of practice in musical theater at the University of Southern California and maintains a private voice studio in Venice, California and online.
Melissa recently sang the role of the Vendor in Carmen and the role of a Noble Page in Tannhäuser, both at LA Opera. She was a featured singer on the 2017 GRAMMY winning recording of The Ghosts of Versailles.
Melissa earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Southern California. An ardent pedagogue, her scholarly articles have been published in the Journal of Singing and the Journal of Voice. She was the 2020 recipient of the Voice Foundation's Sataloff Award for Young Investigators and was the first researcher ever to win the award in the category of vocal pedagogy.