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University of York celebrates World Voice Day

Posted on 2 April 2013

If you have ever wondered about questions such as 'Do I really sing better in the shower?' and 'Why can't my dog talk?' then a fascinating event at the University of York will provide the answers.

The University will showcase the amazing potential and importance of the human voice as it celebrates World Voice Day.

From ensemble singing to beat-boxing, electronic voices to choral singing, the York event will explore the spectacular versatility of the human voice.

The highlight of the University celebrations, which are open to all, will be a concert at the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall as part of a Global Choral Concert.  Starting in New Zealand, the choral concert involves over 30 countries around the world staging events on Tuesday, 16 April at 7.30pm local time, with the concert travelling west in pace with the sun, ending  in Hawaii.

The UK World Voice Day representative, Professor David Howard, Head of the University’s Department of Electronics, will host the York event.

Professor Howard said: “World Voice Day is an annual global event designed to celebrate the incredible phenomenon, emotion and power of voice and demonstrate its importance for communication in our daily lives.

“Our aim is to raise awareness of the voice and vocal health, and demonstrate the voice’s uniqueness and expressive potential as both a musical instrument and our main communication tool.”

The York event, which features a talk on the science of the voice, an inter-active exhibition and a concert, brings together both scientists and artists. It has been organised by the University’s York Audio Network – a network of academics from the Departments of Electronics, Music, Psychology, Language and Linguistics, and Theatre, Film and Television. 

Highlights will include:

  • A performance of Stripsody by Robert Hollingworth, which exploits a range of vocal techniques using  comic book sounds
  • A demonstration of a virtual acoustic which creates the impression of a singer performing in York Minster
  • Examples of beat-boxing (vocal percussion where drum beats, rhythm and musical sounds are produced using the mouth, lips, tongue and voice) and throat/overtone singing (where a vocalist produces two distinct pitches simultaneously).
  • A Strange Conversation - a theatre-piece involving an actor interacting with a synthesised computer voice
  • A performance of Vocal Vision 1 by David Howard – a piece for computer 4-part quartet and two sopranos to juxtapose real and synthetic vocalise
  • Interactive exhibits including singing with an X-box controller, measuring your vocal tract and making your own model larynx.

Event organiser Dr Helena Daffern, co-ordinator of the York Audio Network, said: “We have put together an event designed to capture the imagination of all the family, which celebrates the potential of the voice.

“Our concert will exploit the large range of sounds the voice can create, and explore how and why it has evolved into such a versatile tool in everyday life.”

The World Voice Day event takes place at the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, Department of Music, on Tuesday, 16 April at 6.30pm.  Admittance is by free ticket only available from  For more information visit

Notes to editors:

Contact details

Caron Lett
Press Officer

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