The Singing Power Ratio as an Objective Measure of Singing Voice Quality in Untrained Talented and Nontalented Singers


Journal of Voice, vol. 20(1), pp. 82–88

Publication Year



Singing talent



  • Christopher Watts
  • Kathryn Barnes-Burroughs
  • Julie Estis
  • Debra Blanton


Summary A growing body of contemporary research has investigated differences between trained and untrained singing voices. However, few studies have separated untrained singers into those who do and do not express abilities related to singing talent, including accurate pitch control and production of a pleasant timbre (voice quality). This investigation studied measures of the singing power ratio (SPR), which is a quantitative measure of the resonant quality of the singing voice. {SPR} reflects the amplification or suppression in the vocal tract of the harmonics produced by the sound source. This measure was acquired from the voices of untrained talented and nontalented singers as a means to objectively investigate voice quality differences. Measures of {SPR} were acquired from vocal samples with fast Fourier transform (FFT) power spectra to analyze the amplitude level of the partials in the acoustic spectrum. Long-term average spectra (LTAS) were also analyzed. Results indicated significant differences in {SPR} between groups, which suggest that vocal tract resonance, and its effect on perceived vocal timbre or quality, may be an important variable related to the perception of singing talent. {LTAS} confirmed group differences in the tuning of vocal tract harmonics.

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