Velopharyngeal opening during the homorganic articulations in some variants of a language.

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1 Poster Paper Session: Sunday, August 14, :00 Noon - 2:00 PM Velopharyngeal opening during the homorganic articulations in some variants of a language. by Paolo ZEDDA Université Lyon2 and Ecole Nationale de Musique de Beauvais Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et Danse de Paris Association Française des Professeurs de Chant

2 Please pronounce the following sentences extracted from famous vocal repertoire (lied/mélodie, oratorio and opera ) and feel the quality of your homorganic nasal articulations, indicated by the n in red colour Paolo Zedda will help you to analyse your feeling! Ruhn in Frieden alle Seelen die vollbracht ein banges Quälen ( ) (Schubert lied) Down by the Salley garden, my love and I did meet ( ) (Britten melodie) Ninghe, Ninghe, Ninghe, tan chiquitito ( ) (Montsalvatge melodie) Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ( ) (Mozart s Messe) Summertime and the livin is easy ( ) (Gershwin, Porgy and Bess) La ran la le ra, la ran la la ( ) (Rossini, Barbiere di Siviglia, Figaro s cavatina) e un ben che invan desio ( ) (Mozart s Nozze di Figaro, Count s Aria)

3 All these n letters represent homorganic sounds. Some of them are allophones. What are allophones? Allophones are particular variants of phonemes that result from different factors - individual, social, cultural - or they can be conditioned by the phonetic context. In the latter category, we find homorganic sounds. Homorganic sounds are the sounds of a language articulated at the same place as the following consonant. That s why phoneticians invented different API symbols to indicate these particular sounds : [N][M], to indicate variants of [n]and [m]. Unfortunately, these symbols don t express a graphic coherence, and cause confusion between two different kind of nasal sounds: nasalisations and nasal consonants:

4 Nasalisations are the continuant and relaxed nasal sounds represented by the letters "n" or "m" (1)- preceded by a vowel and followed by another consonant (but not a nasal one, as in amnesia ) Look again at some n s of the vocal sentences at the beginning of this poster and you will recognize these nasalisations changing their place because of the following consonant : in Frieden, ein banges Down by, Ninghe, tan chiquitito, incarnatus, Sancto, La ran la le ra, e un ben che invan desio, etc (2) - at the end of the words like in English : warm, storm, sun, run; in German: morgen, weiten, langsam, stumm; in Italian son, siam, sian; in Spanish: canciòn, in Portoguese pedem *, etc Some n s of the vocal sentences of the beginning of this poster are this kind of nasalisation : Frieden, Seelen, Quälen, garden, etc

5 Nasal consonants* are the momentary and tense nasal sounds represented by the letters "n" or "m 1) - between two vowels, like the English animal, minus, etc... or 2) - in the beginning of a word, followed by a vowel; for instance: now, may, etc... or 3) - after a consonant, like in the Italian apnea, amnesia, in the English amnesty, or the French ethnologie, arnaque, and so on... Indeed these consonants have a short and sharp nasal sound, with a very soft resonance, in comparison to the loud resonance of nasalisation. We don t sing letters, we sing sounds!! When we study or use phonetic arguments, the difference between letters and sounds is the first postulate we have to learn and never forget! Letters are a poor representation of an oral language. When we read a text, whether we speak it loudly or sing it, we must pronounce in a way to return to the treasures and shades of each oral language.

6 We must sing what we say, not the letters we see! an Italian person : if he is thirsty, he could ask : Per piacere, un bicchiere d acqua, and he pronounces : [...umbik»kjere»dakkwa] and not [...unbik»kjere»dakkwa]; If he is still thirsty, he could say: Ancora un po! pronounced[an»koraum»po] and not [an»koraun»po]. In other words, when we pronounce, we make necessary transformations of some letters from the written language to different sounds to respect an oral language. In lyric diction it s exactly the same! Singing language is an oral language and not a written one! In Puccini s famous arias, for instance when Calaf (Turandot) sings : Non piangere Liù, He must pronounce:[nom»pjandzere»lju] and not [non»pjandzere»lju] when Madame Butterfly sings : Un bel dì vedremo, She must pronounce:[umbel»dive»dremo] and not [unbel»dive»dremo]

7 Look again at this famous phrase in Count Almaviva s aria from Mozart s Le Nozze di Figaro. We can find the principal Italian homorganic nasal articulations with letter transformation which is often ignored by many singers : pronounced : [eum»benkeim»vande»zio] with a traditional API transcription, or [eu m»be n kei m»va n de»zio] with a new API transcription proposed by Paolo Zedda! Homorganic nasal sounds are an ideal bridge between vowels and consonants If you articulate them properly, your soft palate stays free and you can obtain the best results in your vocal technique. This offers the possibility of verifying if your voice is sustained by a good resonance (singing formant included!).

8 Ascending intervals and homorganic nasal sounds Ascending intervals, particularly in the high register, provide a good musical context for observing the function of these homorganic nasal sounds called nasalisations. If we use the proper manner of articulation in the following vocal phrases: i venti, la tempesta, or in weiten wogen, we can feel and/or observe (listen to) the way the coupling of the nasopharyngeal and buccal resonators is realized. These nasalisations could be an excellent bridge between vowel and consonant, but many singers create a dangerous break because they articulate a momentary nasal consonant (with a velar closure) instead of a continuant nasalisation (with a velopharyngeal opening). from Fiordiligi s aria of Mozart s Così fan tutte Come scoglio : from Richard Strauss famous lied Morgen :

9 In the following two vocal phrases, extracted from Wotans Abschied (R. Wagner, Die Walküre), we can observe in the ascending intervals the possibility of legato realized by the nasalisation Augen strahlendes Paar and the necessity of a break produced by the nasal consonant in Denn Einer nur *: Take care: in Denn Einer nur the nasal consonant n must be sung on the low note G, because in German the vowel must be pronounced with a glottal stroke. On the contrary, in the following phrase, in abbandono, from Vaccaj method, the nasal consonant n must be sung on the top note E, because of the legato of Italian

10 In the following sentences from operatic repertoire in Italian (shown without the score), you can hear some other famous top notes accompanied and sustained by a bridge of nasalisation from Mozart s Così fan tutte 2 nd aria Fiordiligi : «Per pietà, ben mio perdona».al tuo. ca n*--dor from Mozart Countess s aria (le Nozze di Figaro) : «Dove sono i bei momenti» from Rossini s Il Barbière di Siviglia : di ca ngiar l ingrato cor Si, Li ndoro mio sarà (Rosina s Aria) spu nta la bella aurora (Almaviva s Aria) from G. Donizetti, La Favorita, cavatina : «A tanto amor» no n debba maledir

11 from G. Puccini, Turandot, Calaf s aria : «Nessun dorma» Vincerò, vi n*-ce-----rò from F. Cilea, Adriana Lecouvreur, Principessa Bouillon s aria : «Acerba voluttà, Oh vagabonda stella d oriente» E s egli no n*-me------nte. scorta il mio amor Be careful! To obtain a good bridge from the vowel to the consonant after n, all these nasalisations must be thought and sung at the same pitch as the top note! When I try to obtain from singers good articulation with good nasalisations of these intervals, some of them say to me they have the impression that they don t articulate a nasal sound, because of the absence of the apical nasal consonant n... But in fact, in this way they are looking for an ideal space/place for the oro-nasal articulation that creates a relaxed vocal production and, consequently, a wellproduced top note. If singers use the continuant articulation represented by n properly, a possible difficulty could be maintaining the velopharyngeal opening during its pronunciation.

12 The transcription of nasalisations In ancient Italian manuscripts of vocal scores, written before API symbols were created, we can find interesting transcriptions showing a better interpretation of the articulatory reality of nasalisations example with [M] Ohi me cõvien, ch io instead of Ohi me convien, ch io From : Girolamo FRESCOBALDI, Arie Musicali per Cantarsi Nel Gravicimbalo, e Tiorba a Una, a Dua e a Tre Voci, secondo libro, (1630)

13 examples with [M] and [m] ò grã Fernando,Tu che se)pre, instead of ò gran Fernando,Tu che sempre, From : Girolamo FRESCOBALDI, Arie Musicali per Cantarsi Nel Gravicimbalo, e Tiorba a Una, a Dua e a Tre Voci, secondo libro, (1630)

14 examples with [n] and [ M] Nç) sono in esercizio instead of Non sono in esercizio Nç) vè chi suoni il basso instead of Non vè chi suoni il basso Se nç) vuol sonare instead of Se non vuol sonare Per nç) farmi goder instead of Per non farmi goder From: Domenico SARRI, Didone abbandonata (1724).

15 examples with [m] and [n/m] ( )mi creda gra) preda ne farà instead of ( ) mi creda gran preda ne farà e nç) m intendera)no instead of e non m intenderanno From: Domenico SARRI, Didone abbandonata (1724).

16 examples with [N] nell arie io sç) con lei instead of nell arie io son con lei potrà cantar cç) quella instead of potrà cantar con quella From: Domenico SARRI, Didone abbandonata (1724).

17 Traditional API transcription gives us a wrong interpretation of nasal sounds! With my proposition in 2003, for a new API transcription to distinguish nasalisations ([ m ] and [ n ] are the symbols I proposed in the international Congress Il parlato italiano, in 2003) from nasal consonants [m]and [n], we obtain a better visibility of the difference between articulating these two kinds of nasal sounds which are found in all the languages of the world (Look at table N 1 to compare different transcriptions!) If we understand this difference in articulation, we can more easily obtain good, free singing, because we allow the velum its natural mobility (velopharyngeal opening). The symbols API for allophones (conditioned variants) [M],[N],but also [m]*,[n]*, and some others, less used: the palatal[n j ], are inadequate to describe the rich and complex phonetic reality of our languages. * in words like : warm :[»wç:m], lamp :[»lqmp], son/sun :[»s n], and : [»Qnd] better transcribed by Paolo Zedda proposition with [»wç: m ], [»lq m p], [»s n ], [»Q n d]

18 In fact,[m]and[n]describe both phonemes and allophones. In Italian, for instance : amore [a»more] or in parità [impari»ta]. In English, for instance : nature [»neits r] or intense [In»tEns] In another example, the traditional API transcription for the French and English words organism/e, creates confusion in the pronunciation of the m [m]. In fact, this transcription respects better the French phonetic reality, [çrga»nism], with a nasal consonant, but it deforms the corresponding English word organism [ç rg»niz m],pronounced with a nasalisation [ç rg»niz m] Homorganic is a phonetic attribute used to describe the continuant nasalisations. We must not use that for all nasal sounds. Nasal consonants have no homorganic status, because of their momentary articulation. In many ancient manuscripts, we observed interesting transcriptions in which the scribe tried to demonstrate the phonetic reality of articulations of nasalisations. The symbol ~, used in the past in these transcriptions, is today an API symbol for nasal vowels. Then I proposed exponential n or m, which permits eliminating many other symbols and gives to these homorganic sounds a better visual interpretation.

19 Look now at the following table where you can compare some of the sentences of the ancient manuscripts you saw before, with normal spelling and three different kinds of transcriptions Italian normal ancient new (Paolo Zedda) API traditionnal API Orthography transcription transcription transcription convien, ch io cõvien, ch io [ko m»vje n»kio] [kom»vjen»kio] Oh gran Fernando Tu che sempre ò grã Fernando Tu che se)pre [o»gra m fer»na n do ] [»tuke»se m pre ] [o»gramfer»nando] [»tuke»sempre] Non vè chi suoni Nç) vè chi suoni [no m»veki»swoni] [nom»veki»swoni] Non sono Nç) sono [no n»sono] [non»sono] non vuol sonare nç) vuol sonare [no m»vwolso»nare] [nom»vwolso»nare] non farmi goder nç) farmi goder [ no m»farmigo»der ] [nom»farmigo»der] è ben quel core è be) quel core [E»be n kwel»core] [E»beNkwel»core] gran preda gra) preda [ gra m»preda ] [gram»preda] Non m intenderanno nç) m intendera)no [»no m minte n de»ranno] [»nonmintende»ranno] Io son con lei io sç) con lei [io»so n ko n»lei] [io»sonkon»lei] Cantar con quella cantar cç) quella [ka n»tarko n»kwella] [kan»tarkon»kwella] Table N 1

20 The fortune of [N] in singing! The nasalisation represented normally by the symbol [N]attracted much attention from many researchers. Richard Miller reminded us : ( ) Many phoneticians believe that in [N] the mouth cavity does not contribute to the sound because of close contact between the soft palate and the tongue. Some other phoneticians question such complete occlusion of tongue and palate during the execution of [N]. The pedagogical merit of [N] as long been acknowledged by singers as a means of achieving an improved resonance balance. Thomas Fillebrown (1911, pp ) did not invent the use of [N] for resonance balancing in singing, he popularized it through his now-famous Hung-ee series of vocalises. For most singers, the velar nasal posture of [N] produces a sensation located high in the masque. Vibratory sensations in the frontal area of the face are often intense. This is the sensation of forward resonance associated with the singer s formant. ( )

21 In the first phase of the vocalises, prior to the emergence of the vowel, there should be an acute awareness of nasality, sensation now having progressed beyond that induced by the use of [n]. With the second phase of the vocalise(vowel replaces the nasal continuants), the quick discontinuance of lingua-alveolar contact should be complete. The coupling of the nasopharyngeal and buccal resonators is immediate. Richard Miller (1986), The Structure of Singing, Schirmer Books pp. 85/86

22 ( ) Nearly half of the 34 normal subjects examined in this study showed incomplete velar closure on non nasals. Fritzell (1979, pp ) also suggests that muscular action in velopharyngeal closure varies among normal subjects. Such studies are of importance in providing probable factual support for theories of the open nasal port in some form of singing. The possibility of at least some coupling of the nasal resonator to the buccopharyngeal resonator has also been recognised by Sundberg(1977a, p. 90) ( ) It should be kept in mind that there may well be considerable individual physiological variation with regard to nasopharyngeal coupling. Implications for the technique of singing are significant. Limited degrees of nasopharyngeal coupling (some aperture of the port) seem to be induced by the numerous vocalises that make use of nasal consonants as placement devices. The perception of nasality in non-nasals is always, of course, to be avoided. Richard Miller (1986), The structure of singing, Schirmer Books, p. 64.

23 Most of these assertions concern all nasalisations. The only advantage of [N] is to create a better feeling in the velum because it is a velar allophone of n From a velopharingeal port opening to a closed one, we can then articulate oral vowels with a variable degree of velic openings, thus creating the possibility for the nasal sounds to glide without any breaks and nourish each other in a place which allows for an easy and healthy acoustic amplification of the voice. From the squillo of the ancient Italian terminology for vocal technique, to the "shimmer" in Bartholomew (1934) and the "ring" in Winckel, (1956) and Vennard (1964), different kinds of researchers have tried to find explanations (more or less scientific!) for the many and marvellous ways a voice achieves good and great resonance. Nasalisations contribute largely to obtaining this resonance! The velar position of good nasalisations reminds us of another ancient Italian expression for the vowels of the singing voice called vocali profonde (deep vowels) that we can hear in the speaking voice of many singers. Such voices are not necessarily loud in volume.

24 To improve the pedagogy of singing, it is necessary to build a link from ancient approaches of the vocal technique and the modern scientific reasons, to explain and develop a better awareness of proprioception in singers, and that in all vocal repertories. Good diction is an expression that has unfortunately been deformed by the purist approach of the language. In many singers of different vocal repertoires (from opera to popular repertoires), we can observe some similarities in the quality of their diction (Zedda, P. 1998). These phonetic particularities are also found in their speaking voices. If we consider good diction as an allophonic system acting as a variant of a language (Zedda, 1993/1) and allowing an excellent and healthy use of the vocal tract, we could better understand many studies stating that many professional opera singers sing some vowels with a velopharyngeal opening. Some of these studies are quite recent: Millet (1995), Birch & al. (2002), Bauer (2002), etc This phenomenon of a velopharingeal opening during the pronunciation of a vowel is largely diffused in singers (and speakers!) of any repertoire, having a particular place and manner in their articulations and also facilitating good resonance for the voice. However, this has long been concealed in the restrictive and conflicting conceptions between oral and nasal articulations (Zedda 2003).

25 TEST your capacity to feel the manner of articulation of some nasal sounds! Observing (and comparing) the evolution of the pronunciation of some of our languages, we can better understand the phonetic status of nasalisations and the rule played by this particular articulation in the good diction of a language. The comparison between French and Italian languages is interesting, because it helps us to understand the phonetic reality of the nasalisation as defined earlier (see Table N 2). Look and read (not mentally, but moving your lips!) this table with the word sentiment(o) (1). Try to pronounce these different words in order (1 to 5) Oral vowels Nasalisations and nasalised vowels Nasal vowels 1 standard Italian sentence without nasalisations Se ti metto [»seti»metto] 2 contemporary standard Italian Sentimento [senti»mento] 3 reconstruct pronunciation of high French of XVIII century Sentiment [senti»ment] 4 southern variant of contemporary French sentiment [sa)ti»ma)] 5 standard variant of contemporary French sentiment [sa)ti»ma)] Table N 2 from - ZEDDA, P., (2003)Varietà e qualità dell'articolazione nasale: dal parlato al canto, Actes du congrès :Il parlato italiano, Naples, février 2003.

26 You perhaps felt that a nasal resonance progressively occupied the vowel space until you pronounced the last one, with a French nasal vowel, more closed (and in the nose!) than in the 4 th example In fact, when we try to very slowly pronounce some Italian syllables and phonemes of the word sentimento, separately, and feeling exactly the articulation of nasal sounds, we say : Se n ti me n to After the syllable Se, pronounce a sort of open nasal resonance like a curtain falling in the Italian word, only in the last part of the vowel. I am asking for a continuant and relaxed nasal resonance added to the oral vowel (with velopharyngeal opening!) and not a momentary and tense nasal consonant that can lower the velum! Now you can feel how, without changing the vocal colour, this nasal curtain comes over the vowel in example 3. Finally, in examples 4 and 5, you must change the colour of the vowel, which becomes [A)]. This is how it is produced in standard French pronunciation (5), with a very low position of the velum.

27 Observe now the word : SENTIMENTAL which exists in many languages: English, German, French, Spanish and Italian. To obtain the Italian word, we need only to add the vowel e : SENTIMENTALE Choose the pronunciation you know best of the word sentimental. Is that the English or German word : Sentimental, [senti»mentl] or [zentimen»ta l] the French one : Sentimental [sa)tima)»tal] or the Italian or Spanish one: Sentimental(e) [sentimen»tal (e)]? See you later, after the following test!

28 TEST YOUR CAPACITY TO PRONOUNCE GOOD HOMORGANIC NASAL SOUNDS! Look at the following Italian sentences written in the table N3, and try to pronounce them pinching your nostrils Normal spelling Traditional API transcription New API transcription (Paolo Zedda) Son contento [»sonkon»tento] [»so n ko n»te n to] Son proprio contento [»som»proprjokon»tento] [»so m»proprjoko n»te n to] Son veramente contento [»somvera»mentekon»tento] [»so m vera»me n teko n»te n to] Table N 3 If you pronounce good nasalisations (homorganic nasal sounds), far from the nose, and consequently in a velar place of articulation, you must not feel any breaks or occlusions between the vowel and the consonant that follows the nasal letter. You must feel your pronunciation as if you had a cold!! That is why some singers say that a cold gives us better singing voices, because we are obliged to feel a good place for the voice, far from the nose, in a spacious commedia dell Arte mask (i.e. Arlecchino) :

29 not this one, but that one! with a feeling of frontal space for voice. If you had the right feeling in pronouncing the examples of the nasalisations of the table N 3, you have obtained a good velar place for all articulations of singing language. Our singing voice needs an ideal allophonic system of language we call good diction In that system, each phoneme requires a particular place and manner of articulation. While pronouncing the short phrases of the table N 3, at the beginning you perhaps felt that your voice was smaller, but in fact it became softer as its potential capacity of resonance became bigger and better! Supported by good posture and an efficient breathing technique, your vocal tract is ready to produce a resonant speaking voice, able to become louder (singing formant!) without any effort. Then your singing can go toward the buon canto you prefer (from opera to pop music!)

30 To finish the route of this poster I suggest you read aloud the following table with your new sensations (I hope!) while feeling the velopharyngeal opening during the pronunciation of the nasalisations. Please try to have a new feeling of these words with homorganic sounds, a feeling which mixes a good conception of diction, both oral and nasal, producing a particular place for the voice. API symbols Italian Spanish English German [N] or [ n ] Cinque Cinco Thinking Links [M] or [ m ] non farlo Un fuego In fact Vom Fach sein [m] or [ m ] In piedi En persona In peace Ein Pfeil [n/m] or [ n/m ] Non mi dire Déjenme con mi In my arms in meinem Herzen [n] or [ n ] Ben Tambien Ridden Schmerzen [m] or [ m ] Andiam Portuguese: pedem Organism Stumm Table N 4

31 We need to educate 1) singers to feel the quality of their 2) singing teachers to hear and to teach nasalisations and their correct articulation with a continuant sound, melted to the vowel, but also to feel (to hear) a bad articulation of them, with a break or a serrage These particular homorganic sounds can be a good reference to help us to build a good and healthy vocal technique. It is quite easy to educate the ears of singing teachers to pay attention to the pronunciation of homorganic articulations in order to obtain an easier production of a voice. Nasalisations are an homorganic articulatory bridge to obtain a comfortable place for good singing, but we need to feel, to hear, and eventually to learn, how to cross it in the best way.

32 Nasalisations are an homorganic articulatory bridge to obtain a comfortable place for good singing, but we need to feel, to hear, and eventually to learn, how to cross it in the best way!