A case-study on the effects of the menstrual cycle and the use of a combined oral contraceptive pill on the performance of a western classical singer: An objective and subjective overview

F. La, Jane Davidson, W. Ledger, D. Howard, G. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This case study explores the objective and psychologically perceived effects of the menstrual cycle and the use of a combined oral contraceptive pill on the singing performance of a western classical female singer. Objective measures of vocal parameters and hormonal concentrations were assessed during her natural menstrual cycle and during the use of an oral contraceptive pill. A diary was kept throughout the six months duration of the study and one lengthy semi-structured interview was also carried out with the singer, focussing on perceptions of her singing quality over the entire study. Aural analyses of the singing recordings were also undertaken by two independently qualified judges to see whether or not vocal changes were perceptible to listeners. The results suggest that: (i) hormonal variations during the natural menstrual cycle affected physiological and psychological aspects of the singer's performance; (ii) the pattern of vibration of the vocal folds seems to be more regular, and vocal control seems to be improved during oral contraceptive pill use; (iii) the singer reported better voice control during oral contraceptive pill use; Ov) listeners perceive intonation problems and wider vibrato during the natural menstrual cycle. This study suggests that further research on the effects of female sexual hormones on the singer's voice is necessary, and that female singers should be educated regarding these matters, in order to protect their voices and careers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-107
JournalMusicae Scientiae
VolumeSpecial Issue 2007
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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