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Jornal da Sociedade Brasileira de Fonoaudiologia

versión On-line ISSN 2179-6491

J. Soc. Bras. Fonoaudiol. vol.23 no.4 São Paulo dic. 2011 



Speech-Language Pathology production regarding voice in popular singing


Produção fonoaudiológica sobre voz no canto popular



Lorena Badaró DrumondI; Naymme Barbosa VieiraI; Domingos Sávio Ferreira de OliveiraII

IGraduate Specialization in Voice, Núcleo de Estudo da Voz Falada e Cantada e suas Alterações - CLINVOZ - Niterói (RJ), Brazil
IINúcleo de Estudos da Voz Falada e Cantada e suas Alterações - CLINVOZ - Niterói (RJ), Brazil; Graduate Program (Professional Masters degree) in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Universidade Veiga de Almeida - UVA - Rio de Janeiro (RJ), Brazil

Correspondence address




PURPOSE: To present a literature review about the Brazilian scientific production in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology regarding voice in popular singing in the last decade, as for number of publications, musical styles studied, focus of the researches, and instruments used for data collection.
RESEARCH STRATEGY: Cross-sectional descriptive study carried out in two stages: search in databases and publications encompassing the last decade of researches in this area in Brazil, and reading of the material obtained for posterior categorization.
SELECTION CRITERIA: The databases LILACS and SciELO, the Databasis of Dissertations and Theses organized by CAPES, the online version of Acta ORL, and the online version of OPUS were searched, using the following uniterms: voice, professional voice, singing voice, dysphonia, voice disorders, voice training, music, dysodia. Articles published between the years 2000 and 2010 were selected. Data analysis: The researches found were classified and categorized after reading their abstracts and, when necessary, the whole study.
RESULTS: Twenty researches within the proposed theme were selected, all of which were descriptive, involving several musical styles. Twelve studies focused on the evaluation of the popular singer's voice, and the most frequently used data collection instrument was the auditory-perceptual evaluation. The results of the publications found corroborate the objectives proposed by the authors and the different methodologies.
CONCLUSION: The number of studies published is still restricted when compared to the diversity of musical genres and the uniqueness of popular singer.

Keywords: Voice disorders; Review literature as topic; Music; Voice training; Voice


OBJETIVO: Apresentar revisão bibliográfica sobre a produção científica brasileira da Fonoaudiologia na última década referente à voz no canto popular, quanto ao número de publicações, gêneros musicais estudados, enfoques atribuídos e instrumentos de coleta de dados utilizados.
ESTRATÉGIA DE PESQUISA: Estudo descritivo transversal realizado em duas etapas: levantamento em bases de dados e publicações, englobando a última década de pesquisas na área no Brasil, e leitura do material obtido para posterior categorização.
CRITÉRIOS DE SELEÇÃO: Foram utilizadas as bases de pesquisa LILACS e SciELO, o Banco de Dissertações e Teses da CAPES, a versão online da Acta ORL, e a versão online da OPUS. Foram empregados os seguintes unitermos: voz, voz profissional, voz cantada, disfonia, distúrbios da voz, treinamento da voz, música, disodia. Foram selecionados artigos publicados entre os anos 2000 e 2010.
ANÁLISE DOS DADOS: A classificação e a categorização das pesquisas foram realizadas a partir da leitura dos resumos e, quando necessário, do texto na íntegra.
RESULTADOS: Foram selecionadas 20 pesquisas com a temática proposta, todas do tipo descritivo, envolvendo diversos gêneros musicais. Doze estudos apresentavam enfoque na avaliação da voz do cantor popular e o instrumento de coleta de dados utilizado com maior frequência foi a avaliação perceptivo-auditiva.Os achados das publicações pesquisadas estão de acordo com os objetivos propostos pelos autores e as diferentes metodologias.
CONCLUSÃO: O número de estudos publicados ainda é restrito quando comparado à diversidade de gêneros musicais e à singularidade do cantor popular.

Descritores: Distúrbios da voz; Literatura de revisão como assunto; Música; Treinamento da voz; Voz




Popular music in Brazil is one of the most diversified and spread forms of artistic expression. Every year new singers and/or bands launch their careers. This increasing population has particular characteristics which define their musical and social identity. One of these characteristics is the informal beginning of the career, with no guidance or studies, different from what is seen in singers of classical music(1). In a recently conducted research, that professional group was found to have an early interest in the activity, generally related to a musical familiar environment(2). In addition, technical vocal preparation is not considered relevant for popular singers, and their general and vocal health habits are as well as preventive care are insufficient(2).

The concept of "evidence-based practice", which has been widely discussed, is fundamental to show the relevance of conducting systematic researchers in this area, once it enriches the integration of knowledge produced by these researches and the clinical practice. It has the purpose of subsidizing the decision-making process, ensuring the quality of services and help in the training of speech-language pathologists. Speech- Language Pathology is has not have enough knowledge base so that profesionals chose the best practice only based on the literature(3).

Although it is a traditional objecti of studies in Speech- Language Pathology, the category of singing voice was, for many years, researched pioritizing issues regarding the voice in classical singing, as well as music and singing schools which are historically dedicated to classical music. In spite of the popular singing being a recognized professional activity in Brazil(4) and the increasing demand for these singers who seek vocal improvement or management for alredy established changes, the investiment in controlled research with popular singers remains scarce.

A survey on scientific productin in Speech-Language Pathology regarding singing voice showed 117 publications from 2005 to 2007. The most researched population was that of choir singers and there were 27 studies with popular singers. Most studies was presented in conference proceedings, found only in seven studies(5) published in Speech-Language Pathology journals at that time.

Due to historical elements on the appearance of popular music in Brazil and its particular sound chatacteristics, which lead to the consolidation of a social image of the singer profession in the Brazilian culture, it is important to highlight only the scientific production in our country. Thus, with the purpose of distinguishing and enriching the increasing number of popular singers in Brazil, in their diversity and singularity, we suggest verifying a scientific investment targeting them, and thus ensuring the social relevance of the current research.

The scientific importance of the research lies in surveying studies carried out and published, both as scientific papers in journals and as theses and dissertations. The availability of researches in a controlled format, i.e., peer reviewed or accepted by a examiners (such as papers publishd in journals and also theses and dissertations, respectively) is fundamental to allow access to new information and the technical-scientific advance of Speech-Language Pathology. In addition, analyzing the scientific production regarding voice in popular singing and its points of interest allows a deeper reflection on new themes which may improve the knowledge in this area.



The objective of the present study was to analyze the Brazilian scientific production in Speech-Language Pathology in the last decade regarding voice in popular singing, as for the number of publications, musical genres studied, focuses attributed and tools used to collect data.



This is a documental descriptive study, which analyzed Brazilian publications in journals and database of theses/dissertations on voice of popular singers conducted by speech-language pathologists, from 2000 to 2010. The study was carried out in two phases: first the survey of publications, and then, studies were categorized as for the musical genre, the tupe of research and the focus attributed and the tools used to collect data.



The survey on studies published from 2000 to 2010 was carried out by accessing the LILACS and SciELO databases, the Banco de Dissertações e Teses (a database on dissertations and theses) organized by Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES), the online version of the Acta ORL Técnicas em Otorrinolaringologia journal (Techniques in Otolaryngology), and the online version of OPUS (journal of Associação Nacional de Pesquisa e Pós-graduação em Música - ANPPOM). Although the last two journals were not indexed, they were included in the search as the onine version of Acta ORL publishes studies from health professionals, gathering publications of interest in the area surveyed, and the online version of OPUS publishes studies from post-graduation programs in music, regarding the theme of this research, in addition to accepting studies from speech-language pathologists who are researchers.

Descriptors used, isolatedly or combined in pairs (all possible associations) were: voice, professional voice, singing voice, dysphonia, voice disorders, voice training, music and dysodia. Selection was based on titles of articles and then their respective abstracts. Only publications which included a speech language therapist among the authors were considered.

The second phase of the research - reading and classifying the material - was carried out based on the material surveyed.



Initially, titles were organized in a single database. Publications which were repeated in LILACS and SciELO, as well as studies whose objectives were not compatible with the theme of our review were excluded.

Afterwards, studies were analyzed qualitatively and categorized based on the reading of the published material. Most studies were read thoroughly. This procedure is not always possible regarding theses and dissertations, since some of them do not have the complete text in the Internet. In these cases, only information available in the abstracts is considered. Categorization was performed using the technique of content analysis(6). This technique aims to objectively and systematically describe the content of the material surveyed. The procedure involves organizing the research material with a general reading of the articles, breaking up the text in units of register and organizing information into categories, which may be previously or posteriorly designed.

As for the types of researches, the categorization was performed considering what was previously designed: exploratory (first approaching the theme searching for a familiarity with the fact or the phenomenon), descriptive (survey of characteristics of the well-known fact/phenomenon) and explanatory (identifying factors which determine the occurrence or how facts/phenomena occur)(7). The material was read and categorized by two researchers and posteriorly compared in order to define agreement.

Focus of the researches was also categorized from the content analysis, however, categories were theme groups emerging from the texts along the analysis of the material.



First, 18 publications were located based on LILACS, 12 publications based on SciELO, four articles from Acta ORL journal, seven dissertations and three theses from CAPES thesis database, totalizing 44 publications. No publications were identified from OPUS journal. It is important to highlight that Acta ORL journal provides only publications carried out from 2003.

After the initial survey, ten articles were excluded as they were repeated in LILACS, SciELO databases and in the CAPES thesis database. Afterwards, other seven articles(8-14) and two theses(15,16) were excluded as they were not conducted with popular singers, but with choir singers and/or choir conductors. One article was excluded as it deals with a case study with the purpose of reflecting on the mother-baby relationship, by means of body therapy associated to the singing voice production, whose participant had experience with classical music(17). Three articles and one dissertation were located and excluded because they were conducted with singers of gospel music(18-21). Thus, there were 20 publications on popular singing (Chart 1).

Some of the articles included in the present study were conducted with singers of particular musical genres, such as: rock(22), dance music(23), Brazilian country(24), samba(25, 26), bossa nova(26), pagode(27), Japanese popular music(28), regional music(29,30), singer of the night(31). A research was conducted with recordings of ballads(32). Three articles were conducted with teachers of popular singing or speech language therapists, without diverting from the theme of popular singing(33-35). In a research regarding juvenile singers, although authors make considerations on choir singing, it is not evident the style of music they refer to, whether popular or classical(36). Thus, it was considered as a general study, and therefore, appropriate for popular singing. The other researches were not restricted to a single musical genre, referring only to popular singers(37-41).

All researches analyzed were descriptive. Some studies had an exploratory design. Therefore, no research was explanatory, which makes the scientific production of speech language therapy on the theme "popular singer". The most relevant scientific information come from explanatory researches as they advance the knowledge beyond the first impressions and make the researchers assume more responsibility(6).

Different focuses have been observed in researches and in the content analysis allowed the identification of the following categories:

1. Vocal techniques: involved three studies with a theoretical perspective. One aimed to define respiratory support by singing teachers and speech language therapists, as well as their work strategies and the benefits of their application(34). Another article, on literature review, reflected the respect for differences and benefits of muscle stretching, relaxing and warm-up(37). Other article aimed to verify metaphorical expressions ("images") used as teaching tools to work on vocal resonance by singing teachers (including popular singing), the possible physiological correspondence and reasons to use each metaphor(35).

2. Voice assessment: corresponded to the most expressive category. Out of 20 researches, 12 focused on assessing the singer's voice, whether on researching aspects of voice quality, of vocal techniques or of laryngeal or vocal adjustments(22-26,28-32,39-40). As examples, we may mention a research which investigatedlaryngeal adjustments of ball singers while imitating the classical style(23) and a study carried out in order to characterize the vibrato in classical and Brazilian country genders(24).

3. Assessment of the singer: comprises two researches which focused on the Singer, besides the voice, that is, also investigated aspects of the singer's history and his/her career. One was carried out with rock singers(22) and the other one was conducted with a group of singers of the night(31). It is highlighted that both were included in category 2.

4. Vocal well-being: three researches had the purpose of investigating aspects of popular singers' vocal well-being. One research compared habits of vocal well-being among classical and popular singers(41), another described vocal well-being of pagode singers(27) and the third one investigated the vocal well-being of Cururu singers(29).

5. Speech-Language Pathology: two researches focused on Speech-Language Pathology investigating criteria and procedures directed towards popular singers. One research investigated information on recently-graduated speech-language pathologists regarding the relation they had with assisting popular singers(33), another aimed to discuss proposals of vocal assessment in juvenile singers(36).

6. Dysphonia: only one research, of literature review, had the purpose of investigating the most common vocal changes in the population of popular singers(38).

In view of a larger number of researches focusing on the vocal analysis of the singer, it is noteworthy the importance of new investigations in which considerations are made. Understanding the nature of the activity of popular music singers requires considering other aspects, such as the social-cultural context, the working environment, the importance attributed to the voice by singers, among others. No research was located, for example, involving evaluation in loco, which is extremely important to identify habits, postures, working conditions and aspects of the environment which directly interfere in the voice and in the life of popular singers.

Tools to collect data used in the researches were: perceptive- auditive evaluation, used in 12 studies(22-26,28-32,39-40); questionnaires, used in seven researches(22,23,27,32,33,35,41); acoustic analysis, used in five studies(23,24,26,32,39); imaging evaluation, included videolaryngoscopy, nasofibrolaryngoscopy and videofluoroscopy, used in five studies(23,26,31,39-40); interviews in two studies(29,34); and a literature review, used in four studies researched(33,36-38).

However, the perceptive-auditive evaluation is the main tool for data collection used in researches on this theme. As it has a subjective character, and it does not have high costs, it is still the most accessibletool for speech-language pathologists. Acoustic analysis, an important complementary tool, was little used in researches involving popular singing. Four out of five studies which used the acoustic analysis corresponded to master's degree dissertations, conducted in higher education institutions with the required apparatus, with a prolonged duration (generally two years), revealing that access to this type of tool is still limited and little explored in other contexts.



The investigation on the scientific production in Speech-Language Pathology in Brazil regarding the voice in popular singing reveals the diversity of the researches with an academic and particular interest. However, the number of studies developed on the theme is limited, when compared with the diversity of musical genders, and with the singularity of popular singing. It should also be considered that most studies published do not refer to a single style of popular music. Thus, particular characteristics of each style are not thoroughly explored.

Results from the studies researched are in accordance with the purposes proposed by authors and different methodologies. However, publications analyzed had a descriptive character and few intervention orientations. Focus on vocal evaluation was more frequent, limiting the global understanding of the phenomenon. The most common procedure used in the researches was perceptive-auditive evaluation, keeping in mind that this is also the most frequent evaluative form in clinical practice. However, the importance of complementary tools such as the acoustic analysis is highlighted to enrich data from researches.

New researches are suggested to be developed considering other aspects in addition to the singer's voice, such as general health habits, vocal well-being habits, working conditions and aspects of social identity. Advance in controlled researches is an essential aspect for Speech-Language Pathology credibility as an area of knowledge and to develop new evidence-based practices.



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Correspondence address:
Domingos Sávio Ferreira de Oliveira
Av. Jornalista Alberto Francisco Torres, 251/302, Icaraí
Niterói (RJ), Brasil, CEP: 24230-003.

Received: 4/21/2011
Accepted: 8/11/2011



Study conducted at Núcleo de Estudo da Voz Falada e Cantada e suas Alterações - CLINVOZ - Niterói (RJ), Brazil.

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