Doctor of Musical Arts Dissertations


Ingressive Phonation in Contemporary Vocal Music

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Contemporary Music

First Advisor

Jane Rodgers

Second Advisor

Ronald Scherer (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Sean Cooper (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Elaine Colprit (Committee Member)


The use of ingressive phonation (inward singing) in contemporary vocal music is becoming more frequent, yet there is limited research on the physiological demands, risks, and pedagogical requirements of the various ingressive phonation techniques. This paper will discuss ingressive phonation as it is used in contemporary vocal music. The research investigates the ways in which ingressive phonation differs acoustically, physiologically, and aesthetically from typical (egressive) phonation, and explores why and how composers and performers use the various ingressive vocal techniques.

Using non-invasive methods, such as electroglottograph waveforms, aerodynamic (pressure, flow, flow resistance) measures, and acoustic analyses of recorded singing, specific data about ingressive phonation were obtained, and various categories of vocal techniques were distinguished. Results are presented for basic vocal exercises and tasks, as well as for specific excerpts from the repertoire, including temA by Helmut Lachenmann and Ursularia by Nicholas DeMaison.

The findings of this study were applied to a discussion surrounding pedagogical and aesthetic applications of ingressive phonation in contemporary art music intended for concert performance. Topics of this discussion include physical differences in the production and performance of ingressive phonation, descriptive information regarding the various techniques, as well as notational and practical recommendations for composers.