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Synchronization in Ensemble Singing

Project aims:

Human social interaction often involves the synchronization of joint actions between two or more individuals or a self-synchronization with an external source. Music ensemble requires precise and flexible coordination, involving body and mind. 

This study aims to investigate synchronization between singers during vocal ensemble performances. Specifically, the study observes: i) the role of the presence or absence of visual contact between singers on interpersonal synchronization; ii) the effect of the instruction to act as leader or follower on interpersonal synchronization; iii) the leader-follower relationships; iv) the development of synchronization during a first term of study, following a newly formed semi-professional SAATB a cappella  ensemble; v) the perceptibility of the effects of altered visual contact and degree of rehearsal on temporal synchronization during singing duo and quintet performances, for listeners with different levels of musical expertise; and, vi) whether the performed asynchronies are connected with the asynchronies that listeners can perceive.

The combination of controlled experiments and more ecological observations provides comprehensive and well-substantiated results. The investigation of performed synchrony is evaluated through an automated algorithm, TIMEX, designed for the study and optimized for singing analysis, that extracts note beginnings and endings from the fundamental frequency estimates of the audio and electrolaryngograph recordings.

A better understanding of the mechanisms that foster excellence and interpersonal communication will be of particular interest to music pedagogy, as a means to establish strategies to pursue performance excellence, and to psychology research aimed at clarifying human interpersonal communication and coordination. The study will refine rehearsal techniques identifying the more appropriate strategies to excel in music performance, and expand the body of knowledge of interpersonal interaction and communication. 


Peer-reviewed journal articles

 §  D’Amario, S., Howard, D. M., Daffern, H., & Pennill, N. (2018). A longitudinal investigation of intonation in an a cappella singing quintet, Journal of Voice. DOI: 10.1016/j.voice.2018.07.015 

 §  D’Amario, S., Daffern, H., & Bailes, F. (2018). A longitudinal study investigating synchronization in a singing quintet, Journal of Voice. DOI: 10.1016/j.voice.2018.06.011

    §  D’Amario, S., Daffern, H., & Bailes, F. (2018). Synchronization in singing duo performances: The roles of visual contact and leadership instruction, Frontiers in Psychology: Performance Science. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01208

 §  D’Amario, S., Daffern, H., & Bailes, F. (2018). A new method of onset and offset detection in ensemble singing, Logopedics Phoniatrics Vocology

 §  D’Amario, S. & Daffern, H. (2017). Using electrolaryngography and electroglottography to assess the singing voice: a systematic review, Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain, 27(4), 229-243. DOI: 10.1037/pmu0000184

Conference presentations (all reviewed abstracts)

§  D’Amario, S., Daffern, H., & Bailes, F. (2017). Temporal synchronization in singing duet performances. Paper presented at the Pan-European Voice Conference (PEVOC), August 30th – September 1st 2017, Ghent, Belgium.

§  D’Amario, S. & Daffern, H. (2017). Interpersonal interaction of portamento in singing ensemble performances. Poster session presented at the European Society for Cognitive Sciences Of Music (ESCOM), July 31st – August 4th 2017, Ghent, Belgium.

§  D’Amario, S., Daffern, H., & Bailes, F. (2017). Synchronization in singing duet performances: the roles of leadership and visual contact. Paper presented at The Voice Foundation’s 46th Annual Symposium: Care of the Professional Voice, May 31st – June 4th 2017, Philadelphia, USA. 

§  D’Amario, S. (2017). Engaging students in laboratory learning in Engineering, paper presented at York Learning and Teaching Award (YLTA) Symposium, March 22nd 2017, York, UK.

§  D’Amario, S., Kirkbride, R., & Pennill, N. (2016). A preliminary observational study of vocal quartets in a masterclass setting. Paper presented at White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities Conference, October 6th 2016, York, UK.  

§  D’Amario, S. & Daffern, H. (2016). Does a masterclass improve group cohesion? A pilot study of temporal synchronization between singers during vocal quartet performances. Paper presented at the Music Education and Music Psychology Student Conference, June 23rd 2016, Department of Music, University of York, York, UK.

§  D’Amario, S. & Daffern, H. (2016). Electrolaryngography and electroglottography in the assessment of singing voice: a systematic literature review. Poster session presented at 9th International Conference of Students of Systematic Musicology (SYSMUS), June 8th – 10th 2016, Department of Music, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland.

§  D’Amario, S. & Daffern, H. (2016). Understanding singing performances through the lens of empirical acoustics research. Poster session presented at the Performing Knowledge Conference, April 25th – 26th 2016, Emmanuel College, Cambridge, UK.