Research seminar

Wednesday 4 May 2016, 4.00PM

Speaker(s): Dr Helena Daffern (University of York)

Quantifying the singing voice: the value of empirical vibrato analysis.

With the advent of singing science as an academic discipline, and recent advances in technology allowing for fast and efficient analysis of various parameters of the singing voice, vibrato is now a key topic amongst the voice science community as well as the performing and teaching world. It can become a subject of obsession amongst performers: does a voice have too much or too little? Is it a quality that should / could be learned, taught, manufactured? The suitability of various vibrato characteristics is often deemed to change depending on the musical genre being performed. Some of the techniques being used to explore and quantify the phenomenon of vibrato, in terms of its production and perception, will be discussed, alongside the value of current findings to the singing community as a whole.


Helena Daffern is currently a lecturer in Music Technology in the Department of Electronics. She completed her PhD in Music Technology in the Dept of Music and Dept of Electronics at the University of York in 2008 and obtained a Masters degree in singing performance from the University of York before training as a postgraduate at Trinity College of Music. Her doctoral thesis examined the acoustic differences between operatic and early music singing which she continued to explore at postdoctoral level. Her research remains focussed on voice science and acoustics, particularly classical singing techniques and vocal pedagogy, drawing on her experiences as a singing teacher in the Music Department. To this end, Helena has formed York Centre for Singing Science, a cross-­‐‑departmental reserach centre exploiting all perspectives of voice research. She also continues to run the York Audio Network, a successful project which promotes cross-­‐‑discipline collaboration in audio research at the University. A trained BBC expert, Helena has appeared on radio and television broadcasts including BBC Breakfast, and Click for the World Service. Helena continues to sing professionally as a soloist and with various ensembles and opera companies including Opera Holland Park, Opéra de Baugé, Yorkshire Baroque Soloists, Northern Sinfonia, and has recorded for Warner Music UK, NMC records, and Oxford University Press 

Location: I/D003