Quantifying Qualities: An Analysis of “Stars”
by the Davidson College Chorale
Choral music is an art form that involves multiple individuals singing together to create a collective sound. In this type of music, more emphasis is placed on fundamental tones, non- resonant choral tones, and frequent intensity changes when performing pieces. Though more research has been conducted for solo singing acoustics, the mathematics of Fourier transforms can be used to analyze any sound for frequency and intensity. Fast-Fourier Transforms (FFT) require sound input, and output detailed plots of the sound with intensity on the y-axis and frequency on the x-axis. Combined with Linear Prediction Coefficient (LPC) analysis, which attempts to predict the resonances of the inputed sound by separating resonant sounds from the source characteristics of that sound, FFTs can provide glimpses of a sound spectrum at a given point in time. Spectrographs are computer algorithms that perform a series of FFTs at different times, then displays the results of these FFTs on a three-dimensional graph of time, frequency, and amplitude. Through spectrographs, longer duration sounds can be quantified and analyzed. The overall purpose of this project will be to analyze a piece by the Davidson College Chorale via Fourier transforms, linear prediction analysis, spectrograms, and two- dimensional frequency and intensity spectra.