Vibrato Characteristics in Prepubescent Professional Male Singers The skilled singing of boy singers has captured the hearts of audiences for centuries. Those gifted singers of yore were sometimes subjected to castration to maintain their unique prepubescent voice and worldly status. By the time recording of these unique voices became possible, castration was no longer practiced. The ... Article
Article  |   July 01, 2002
Vibrato Characteristics in Prepubescent Professional Male Singers
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Linda M. Carroll
    Private Practice, New York, NY
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Articles
Article   |   July 01, 2002
Vibrato Characteristics in Prepubescent Professional Male Singers
SIG 3 Perspectives on Voice and Voice Disorders, July 2002, Vol. 12, 21-24. doi:10.1044/vvd12.2.21
SIG 3 Perspectives on Voice and Voice Disorders, July 2002, Vol. 12, 21-24. doi:10.1044/vvd12.2.21
The skilled singing of boy singers has captured the hearts of audiences for centuries. Those gifted singers of yore were sometimes subjected to castration to maintain their unique prepubescent voice and worldly status. By the time recording of these unique voices became possible, castration was no longer practiced.
The developmental aspect of vibrato from prepubescent to post-pubescent (mature) voice has not been well-studied, but there does exist a strong literature on the vibrato characteristics in the post-pubescent voice. It is known that respiratory function is similar to the adult model by age 12–14 (Stathopoulos & Sapienza, 1993) and that respiratory control can affect vibrato. Physiologically, children have a limited capacity to control the voice due to the relatively short membranous portion of the vocal folds (the ratio of membranous to cartilaginous vocal fold length in children is 2.5 times smaller than adults). Although the laryngeal structure of younger children is immature, such as an undeveloped vocal ligament, the function of their vocal folds during voicing resembles that of women who have mature laryngeal structures.
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