Is there a reference to scientific approaches to singing? For instance a classic book, or a journal? I'm mainly after the acoustics of the voice, and studies about the projection of the sound and the use of the resonance cavities in the head.

What I've found is the book "Dynamics of the singing voice" which is somehow good, but also disappointing (at the end, I remember it refers to quantum effects and the author even sadly cites charlatan Deepak Chopra).

Hence I'm looking for a more serious reference.

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    Can you explain what you're after? The science of controlling vocal cords w/o damage? The science of harmony? The bioneurology of learning music and words? Commented Apr 19, 2015 at 18:32
  • Have you done any basic research - for example a quick web search on "vocal tract acoustics" produces some basic articles and a few names of researchers in the field. This is of importance to speech synthesis, so I'm sure there will be lots of academic material around.
    – Andy
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 9:42
  • Definitely Complete Vocal Technique by Cathrine Sadolin.
    – Ivo3185
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 0:29

2 Answers 2


The Musician's Guide to Acoustics by Campbell and Greated is a wonderful book that includes at least a chapter on the science and acoustics of singing - including standing waves and acoustic impedance in the vocal tract and how resonances create a formant that allows an opera singer to be heard over an entire orchestra despite putting out far fewer acoustic watts.

The downsides are it looks like it will set you back about USD 100 and it is not focused on singing exclusively and in-depth.

If you have a university library near you, that's where I would go and get a stack number for an acoustics book and look at the other titles in that section. There's a highly regarded acoustics book by Benade (the title escapes me) that you might look for also.

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    Fundamentals of Musical Acoustics A. H. Benade, 1976?
    – Dave
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 15:07

I would highly recommend Singing: The Mechanism and the Technic by William Vennard. Also decent is Your Voice: an Inside View by Scott McCoy.

Any good pedagogy text will get you on the right track regarding resonance. My personal favorites are the Richard Miller and the Barbara Doscher.

In terms of computerized synthesis and things of that nature, you might consult that vast body of literature, starting with the CSound community, the Curtis Roads Computer Music Tutorial, and a good search of Computer Music Journal on JSTOR, although you may have to work a little harder in that case.


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