Dr. Laurier Fagnan

Affiliation: University of Alberta, Campus Saint-Jean
Presentation: Interest Session, Research Paper Presentation
Title: “The Intrinsic Pitch of Vowels: Why does my choir have such trouble singing in tune?”
Abstract: Vowels can, and often do, have a direct and sometimes pejorative effect on a choir’s intonation. The articulatory adjustments and alterations in harmonic structure that enable the production of different vowel sounds tend to wreak havoc on pitch stability. This session will offer insight into the little-known phenomenon of the intrinsic pitch of vowels, and focus on very practical solutions to help mitigate this pervasive acoustic problem in choral singing.

Biography: With a doctorate in choral conducting (U of A / IRCAM, Paris) and a master’s degree in vocal pedagogy (U. Laval), there is nothing Laurier Fagnan enjoys more than inspiring singers to make the most beautiful sound possible. He is Professor of Music at Campus Saint-Jean of the University of Alberta, where he has conducted the dynamic Chorale Saint-Jean since 1995. His doctoral thesis titled “The Acoustical Effects of the Core Principles of the Bel Canto Method on Choral Singing” won national dissertation prizes in Canada and the US (Julius Herford Prize). He is currently writing a book on this subject. Dr. Fagnan is director of the Vocal Acoustics Lab at the U of A and has recently released an instructional DVD that combines the practical application of bel canto principles to choral singing with innovative vocal acoustics analysis techniques. He has enjoyed giving over five hundred workshops in the area of bel canto vocal technique to choirs from Canada, the U.S. and France. He was keynote speaker for the General Assembly of the European Choral Association in Sophia, Bulgaria and invited speaker for the Acoustical Society of America. The endless possibilities of the human voice in both solo and choral contexts never cease to amaze him.