Normative Voice Range Profile of the Young Female Voice by Andersen, Egsgaard, Ringside, Grøntved, and Printz from the July 2023 edition of the Journal of Voice. The team set out to build normative data for healthy 18 to 28-year-old female singers due to the increased stress this group’s vocal folds may experience due to a higher fundamental frequency resulting in more vocal fold collisions per second, the probability of a posterior triangular chink preventing full closure, potentially causing further compression of the vocal folds to compensate, and less hyaluronic acid in their lamina propria than male counterparts, providing less shock-absorption. Normative data exists for female singers in a more extensive age range; however, fundamental frequency usually descends as female singers mature.
The team used two microphones, one placed as close as possible and the other at 30 cm. Participants sang an easy pitch, sang that pitch softly, raised the pitch while singing softly, then lowered the pitch remaining soft, to find the lowest tone by yawning. Participants then sand an easy pitch as loudly as possible, lowered the pitch remaining loud, then raised the pitch remaining in modal voice. Participants finally sang in head register tone-by-tone upward to find the highest pitch at high intensity and then at low intensity.
The team found that the mean pitch range for the 39 participants was 34.7 semitones with a standard deviation of 3.9 semitones. The average minimum fundamental frequency was 143.6 Hz, approximately D3, and the average highest fundamental frequency was 1063.5 Hz, approximately C6. No statistically significant difference was found between the age groups present in this study. The mean minimum Sound Pressure Level (SPL) was 43.2 dB, and the maximum was 108.9 dB.
Compared to other studies, this study found the lowest minimum sound pressure level to be lower; the team attributes that to the equipment being used, allowing for lower sound pressure levels to be recorded and noting that previous studies hit the functional minimum their equipment could measure. Additionally, a narrower range of fundamental frequencies was recorded from this study’s participants, likely due to the reduced age range of the participants.
If you found this information interesting, I would encourage you to read the whole study in the Journal of Voice, volume 37, No. 4.
Andersen, H.S., Egsgaard, M.H., Ringsted, H.R., Grøntved, Å.M., Godballe, C., Printz, T., 2023. Normative Voice Range Profile of the Young Female Voice. Journal of Voice 37, 546–552. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2021.03.023
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