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October 1, 2005

Singers should rest their voices for three days after a gig

New Scientist (UK):

Classical singers know they need to rest their voices after a performance, to avoid overstraining the larynx. Now measurement of the vibration of singers' larynxes has shown that the vulnerable period may last much longer than most performers realise - possibly for as long as three days after the event.

But there is good news too. By resting their voices for two days before a heavy gig, singers can ease post-performance strain and hasten recovery before the next big challenge.

Thomas Carroll and his colleagues at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver attached a vibration sensor to the breastbones of four opera and three choral singers to measure the work done by the larynx during rehearsals and performances. The sensors, which were in place for two weeks, fed a stream of vibration measurements to a small computer the artists carried on their belts.

Carroll found that the larynx's workload as measured by the sensors tallied with the singers' subjective reports of discomfort after the performance. He hopes that similar sensors might eventually allow singers and their coaches to monitor the voicebox and spot potential problems early enough to avoid overstrain.

He presented his team's findings at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology's Head and Neck Surgery Foundation in Los Angeles this week.

Posted by acapnews at October 1, 2005 12:07 AM