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Comparison of Children's and Adults' Vocal Ranges and Preferred Tessituras in Singing Familiar Songs

Randall S. Moore
Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education
No. 107 (Winter, 1991), pp. 13-22
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40318417
Page Count: 10
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Comparison of Children's and Adults' Vocal Ranges and Preferred Tessituras in Singing Familiar Songs
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Abstract

Two studies investigated children's and adults 1 potential vocal ranges and preferred tessituras in singing familiar songs. The first study tested 90 children's singing ranges and their chosen tonalities for singing "America." The second study recorded 100 pre-service teachers' singing ranges and their selected tonalities for singing familiar songs. Results indicated that both sets of subjects had nearly identical range spans for singing: children averaged 24.5 semitones and adults, 24.8 semitones. Children's mean range was higher (G₃ to G#₄) than adult females (E₃ to F₃). Mean tessitura findings revealed that all subjects regardless of age sang familiar songs in the bottom part of their potential singing range, that is, 5 semitones above their lowest vocal limit and 10 semitones below their highest vocal limit. Findings suggest that teachers and children may unwittingly sing in low tessituras unless reminded to lift their voices. Teacher education programs are encouraged to alert new teachers to perform songs in suitable ranges for children.

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