Consistency of inhalatory breathing patterns in professional operatic singers

J Voice. 2001 Sep;15(3):373-83. doi: 10.1016/S0892-1997(01)00039-X.


Respiratory behavior is generally considered important to voice function, the assumption being that it affects the voice source. Accurate and consistent control of the voice source is particularly important in professional operatic singing. An erratic behavior of a factor influencing voice production is incompatible with a well-controlled vocal behavior. We analyzed the consistency of inhalatory breathing patterns during singing in five professional operatic singers, using the same material as in a previous investigation of phonatory breathing patterns. Rib cage (RC) and abdominal wall (AW) movements were recorded by respiratory inductive plethysmography. Consistency was analyzed in terms of the mean correlation between three takes of ten musical phrases. Results revealed a high consistency in lung volume (LV) change and RC movements in all singers and in AW movements in three singers. Consistency across different phrases was slightly lower. The results are compatible with the idea that inhalatory behavior is important to voice source in singing. A high correlation between LV change and RC movement was found in all singers and between LV change and AW movement in three. The contribution to LV change from RC was greater than that from AW in all singers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Professional Competence*
  • Respiration*
  • Speech*
  • Voice Quality