Leigh Usilton

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Creative Arts


School of Music

Committee Chair

Nicholas K Perna

Committee Co-Chair

Hope Koehler

Committee Member

Robert Orlikoff

Committee Member

Travis Stimeling

Committee Member

Michael Vercelli


This study relates acoustic changes that occur during female belt voice, mix voice, and legit voice to the self-reported physical sensations of elite music theater (MT) singers for the purposes of developing further pedagogic language to convey imagery and sensation to students of MT singing.;Six professional female MT singers comfortable producing belt, mix, and legit styles of singing sang a series of C major and E-flat major scales on the vowels /alpha/, /ae/, /epsilon/, and /[special character omitted]/, followed by three brief excerpts from the modern MT repertoire. Both prior to and following the sung exercises, subjects described the three styles based on their own kinesthetic feedback. Sung examples were recorded using spectrograph software and compared to the stated physical sensations of the singers.;The results of the study support the need for a MT specific pedagogy. Information provided by the six singers, both through interview and sung exercises, shows a clear difference between techniques they successfully use in the MT industry and those traditionally taught to classical singers. The results support the current literature on belt and mix techniques. In addition, a pattern in the acoustic spectrum of legit voice was found that shows a distinct difference between legit and classical styles of singing. Further research in this area is needed to clarify terminology used in the MT industry.