The Effect of Conductor Lip Rounding on Individual Singers Lip Postures during Sung Latin /u/ Vowels: A Pilot Study

James F. Daugherty, Melissa C. Brunkan


The purpose of this pilot study was to assess potential effects of conductor lip rounding of /u/ vowels on the lip postures of individual singers. Participants (N=62) sang a cappella the opening phrase in the melody line of Mozarts motet Ave Verum Corpus, while watching a videotaped conductor under two conditions: (a) conducting gestures with neutral facial affect (baseline condition) and (b) the same conducting gestures plus conductor lip rounding on the /u/ vowels of verum and corpus (experimental condition). Participants were video-recorded in each condition. A panel of experienced voice teachers (N=6) rated each participant on a 7 item scale (a lot less to a lot more) with respect to degree of lip rounding evidenced in the experimental condition on sung /u/ vowels.
Results indicated increased lip rounding by all participants on at least one of the sung Latin /u/ vowels, regardless of age, choral singing experience, and other demographic factors, with no participant evidencing less lip rounding in the experimental condition on either /u/ vowel. Means for the /u/ in corpus tended higher than means for the /u/ in verum. Means for female lip rounding were higher than male means. Participant means were higher for singers with 3 or more years of private voice lessons. Most participants (n=54, 87.10%) noted some difference in conductor behaviour between the two conditions, yet only 29% of participants specifically and accurately described the difference.
Results were discussed in terms of the theory what they see is what you get in choral singing contexts, limitations of the study, and suggestions for further research.cifically and accurately described the difference.

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