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Valentina Carlile Osteopata
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  • Writer's pictureValentina Carlile DO

Osteopathy and Singing: Vocal extension and range, the importance of knowing one's limits



One of the fundamental acquisitions of a professional singer or actor is the knowledge of what he can do without risk to the vocal system. There is now general consensus in the belief that speaking or singing outside a certain range or a certain intensity is potentially risky. The literature is full of publications concerning the formation of chordal nodules, contact ulcers, edema and other disorders caused by 'excessive use or abuse of the voice'.

If a 'role' (musical piece or recited text) is vocally demanding and goes a little beyond the vocal skills of the Performer, the general tendency is to 'tempt it' with the risk, however, that the voice may be damaged in the process.

To date, it is possible to determine quite well what the fundamental frequency and vocal range of an Artist is, which would allow the performer to avoid potentially harmful behaviors.

The clinical goal is to try to define the maximum and minimum power of the voice, so as to be able to define as well as possible what can be safely produced by a Performer.

The collaboration of a Phoniatrician with an Osteopath, in this case, would help to evaluate how much a certain vocal range is attributable to the physiological limits of the Artist rather than to functional limitations at the biomechanical level. In the second hypothesis, the osteopath, through osteopathic treatment and its biostimulation and restoration of physiological functionality, would allow to 'recover precious vocal margin' for each artist. The Phoniatrician should 're-measure' the range at the end of the work performed by the osteopath.

Carry a nice anecdote. An artist contacted me a while ago asking 'Listen but is it true that if you treat me, I increase it by an octave?'. Well… No! You don't increase the range by an octave (I'm gearing up for miracles !!!) but you definitely improve the quality and expressive power, obviously within the limits of everyone's physical capabilities!

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