Vocal Dose and Vocal Demands in Contemporary Musical Theatre

Ana Flavia Zuim, Celia F. Stewart, Ingo R. Titze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To document and quantify vocal dose and student-singers' self-assessment during rehearsals for a contemporary musical theater production. Methods/Design: Six student singers fastened the sensor from the KayPentax APM 3200 dosimeter to the lower neck to capture neck vibration data during their preparation for the musical Wonderland by Frank Wildhorn. Data were collected during 8-hour periods, at four different stages throughout the rehearsal process: beginning (music and choreography learning phase), middle (staging phase), and end (running the entire show/dress rehearsal phase), plus a post-production day once the production had concluded to establish a baseline vocal load. Students concurrently completed the EASE questionnaire1 after each data collection day. Results: The EASE score (Appendix 1) and demographics/perceptual questionnaire (Appendix 2) revealed that all subjects (three males and three females) found the singing role vocally and physically demanding but only two found the roles to be emotionally challenging. The musical score demanded a higher usage of chest register (judged perceptually) than mixed register from lead singers. All subjects’ maximum fundamental frequency range exceeded the pitch range required by the score. The mean daily vibration dose (distance dose, as computed with Kay Pentax Software) of the three individual female singers' during rehearsals, 5,203 meters, was higher than the mean daily dose of the three male singers, 3,766 meters. The subjects' self-ratings on the EASE were not correlated with the distance dose. Conclusions: A review of Wonderland's score and perceptual judgment of the singers’ performances revealed extensive use of chest register, with belting and mix vocal strategies being the predominant stylistic choices. Students described the singing roles’ vocal and physical requirements as more challenging than the character's emotional components. This pilot study provides information on the vocal dose for lead and ensemble singers in rehearsal for a Contemporary Musical Theatre production. Singers and voice professionals may find dosimetry a valuable tool for monitoring the vocal dose during rehearsals and performances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-68
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Voice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • Belting
  • Contemporary commercial music
  • Dosimetry
  • Musical theater
  • Singing
  • Vocal dose
  • Vocal load
  • Vocal range
  • Voice range profile

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing
  • LPN and LVN
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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