Arts Medicine journal N°84 Special Voice and wind instrument

Arts Medicine journal N°84 Special Voice and wind instrumentArtists' health, singers' and wind instrumentalists' health

Issue 84. Special issue on voice and wind instrumentalist
Medical and scientific approach to artistic practices

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This issue of Medecine des Arts is a special issue on singing and speaking voice and wind instrumentalists.

The Role of the Abdominal Muscles in Lyrical Singing

What roles do the abdominal muscles play in lyrical singing? A biomechanical analysis of four key moments involved in vocal technique (the singer’s self-heightened posture prior to sound onset, the onset of the sound, the singing itself, and the resumption of breathing) demonstrates the complexity of the breathing mechanisms used in singing. The motor precision and skill that singing requires, as well as the finely tuned adjustments and somatognosia it demands, are much more complex than the simple ability to girdle the abdomen in order to avoid back pain.
Marie Hutois

Key Words: lyrical singing; singer; abdominal muscles; perineum; anatomophysiology.


Singing and Gastroesophageal Reflux

This study was aimed at determining whether the thoracic-abdominal breathing used in singing has an impact on the occurrence of gastroesophageal reflux. The study population consisted of 246 experienced singers (of whom 18 were professionals) and a control group of 234 subjects (non-singers and inexperienced singers). All subjects filled in a questionnaire focusing on the clinical symptoms of reflux and on the risk factors predisposing a person to this condition.

The results showed that the experienced singers (professionals and non-professionals pooled) presented fewer symptoms of pharyngolaryngeal and gastroesophageal reflux than the control group did. But the incidence of these symptoms among the professional singers was clearly greater than among the non-professional singers and the control group (significant differences). In addition, the professional singers sought treatment by a health practitioner more than the non-professionals and controls did, and also received more treatment for reflux than the other two groups (significant differences).

Singers should therefore pay attention to signs of reflux, and medical professionals should include this problem in vocal and phoniatric checkups.
Muriel Welby-Gieusse

Key Words: singer; singing voice; gastroesophageal reflux; phoniatrics.


Vocal Fatigue and Street Theater

Street actors perform theater under highly specific conditions: in a public space, in the open air, in front of a non-captive audience, and in an environment not designed for this purpose (ambient noise, poor acoustics, uncertain weather conditions, etc.). The author gives an overview of the particularities of the vocal practices of stage actors, and reviews the various parameters likely to contribute to vocal fatigue. Her study is aimed at determining in street actors the specificities and factors that might promote vocal fatigue and vocal strain.

The performance conditions for street actors often turn out to be unfavorable to good vocal production and easy voice control. What’s more, in situations of prolonged use of the voice, it is not easy for these actors to implement phases of vocal rest.
Marjolaine Christien-Charrière

Key Words: street actor; vocal production; projected voice; vocal fatigue; vocal strain; vocal overuse; vocal professionals.


On the Music Teacher’s Dual Management of the Projected Voice and the Singing Voice

In the performance of their job, music teachers alternate between using their spoken (projected) voice and their singing voice. Are there specific vocal risks linked to this dual usage? To find out, the authors observed teachers in a real-life situation using a detailed observation grid; the teachers were asked to report their sensations concerning their projected voice and their singing voice, via a self-administered questionnaire derived from the Voice Handicap Index. The results obtained from the observation grids and questionnaires revealed faulty postures and breathing techniques, frequent vocal fatigue, and in general, a less physiological use of the projected voice than of the singing voice, where the teachers’ vocal technique was more visible. This study also highlighted the teachers’ lack of information on professional risks and their desire to take preventive action.
Maud Guyon, Célia Maire

Key Words: projected voice; singing voice; voice professionals; music teaching.


Lingual Dyspraxia and Discomfort during Détaché Tonguing on the Clarinet

In clarinet playing, clarinetists use the tongue to produce the sound, and thanks to the tongue’s various movement possibilities, they can vary their phrasing. A preliminary questionnaire-based survey run on a population of 130 clarinetists indicated moderate complaints concerning the tongue during detached phrasing. In order to more precisely analyze clarinetists’ difficulties on the instrument, a more detailed questionnaire was administered to these same musicians for the purpose of evaluating the tongue’s functions, while exploring breathing (resting position of the tongue, type of breathing, etc.), swallowing, and phonation. Half of the sample mentioned discomfort during détaché tonguing, and a third of the musicians had lingual dyspraxia. No direct link was established between the dyspraxia and the discomfort experienced by the clarinetists while playing. The author provides some suggestions for optimizing tongue-movement coordination.
Mathilde Sabourin

Key words: clarinet; clarinet player; tongue; lingual dyspraxia; swallowing; questionnaire.


Portrait of the artist as a worker N°84

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