Singing Voice Preferences

As suggested by the many singing contests and music programs in the media, the singing voice attracts ample attention. Recent studies showed that lay and expert listeners share similar definitions of what is “correct” when listening to untrained (Larrouy-Maestri et al., 2015) and trained singers (Larrouy-Maestri et al., 2017). The definition of pitch accuracy (i.e., correctness) relies on specific acoustic features that can be measured. However, we usually don’t attend opera or pop concerts to evaluate the correctness of a performance but to enjoy it. This project aims to investigate what “preference” means when listening to sung performances, and to explore the roots of such aesthetic experience.

For this purpose, we apply experimental methods in which acoustic analysis of ecological material (i.e., true performances) and behavioral responses of listeners are investigated, compared, and integrated. Altogether, this project empirically examines singing voice preferences and the mechanisms behind listeners’ appreciation of very common but very complex auditory signals.