Issue 7 - 6 August 2013 enews home

Harvard to hear desert voice training lessons

By Leanne Coleman



Vocal Studies lecturer Paolo Fabris said that the singing voice carried much more than a tune

A Charles Darwin University researcher who has used the secrets of a voice training program to teach Indigenous musicians has shared his experience with some of the world’s leading vocal experts at Harvard University.

Vocal Studies lecturer Paolo Fabris attended the “Estill World Voice Symposium” this month to share his experience delivering vocal workshops at Ross River in remote Central Australia to prepare some of the best Indigenous desert rock artists in Australia.

An accomplished Italian actor, singer and vocal coach Mr Fabris said that the singing voice carried much more than a tune. It could also provide a glimpse into someone’s mood and even background.

“The voice and singing is an emotive and intimate experience for artists,” Mr Fabris said. “At one point during the final workshops in Central Australia we were all brought to tears when as a group we performed a harmonised song together."

Mr Fabris said that his research at CDU focused on the science behind the voice, which also assisted him with his teaching allowing him to delve deeply into the structure of vocal chords and art of the voice.

“When someone is crying or sad their voice sounds differently to when they are happy, or angry,” he said. “Attractor states of the voice reflect moods and even life experiences, origin, culture. These “attractor states” are the different states that give the voice its unique sound.

“The Estill program allows us to isolate every structure of the voice to get different sounds, improving our understanding of anatomy and our ability to teach using the latest techniques.”

Many artists rehearse and sing for up to 12 hours a day. It is vital that they learn about the structure of the voice and the muscles that support the vocal chords so they can look after them.”

The Estill World Voice Symposium 2013 was held from 2 to 4 August 2013, at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts USA.