The Effects of Circular Singer Gestures on Acoustic and Perceptual Measures of Middle School and High School Choral Singing
Coffman, Ashley Kathleen
University of Kansas
Music Education & Music Therapy
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The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of three singer conditions (low circular arm gesture, high circular arm gesture, no arm movement) performed by nine middle and high school choirs while singing. Recordings were analyzed on acoustic (long-term average spectra [LTAS]) and perceptual (singer and expert listener preferences) measures. Among primary findings: (a) results of a repeated measures ANOVA of LTAS data indicated a significant interaction effect; (b) entire spectrum grand mean and range differences between gestures comparisons indicate twelve pairings of more than 1 dB difference (Just Noticeable Difference); (c) more than half of the singer participants noticed differences in overall choral sound while using the high circular arm gesture; (d) participants in high school choirs noticed differences in individual vocal sound (80%) and overall choral sound (78%) when singing with the low circular arm gesture; (e) singer preference responses indicate 5 choirs preferred the high circular arm gesture, 3 choirs preferred singing without arm movement, and 1 choir reported a preference for the low circular arm gesture; (f) 63% of singer participants reported liking the addition of gestures while singing; (g) expert listeners ranked tone quality while performing with no arm movement highest for 5 choirs and while performing the low circular gesture highest for 3 choirs; and (h) 4 choirs received the same ranking from the expert listeners: (1) no arm movement, (2) high circular gesture, and (3) low circular gesture. Results were discussed in terms of comparisons of acoustic and perceptual measures, limitations of the study, and suggestions for further research.
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