Jie PanFollow

Award Date

May 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



First Committee Member

Kimberly James

Second Committee Member

Alfonse Anderson

Third Committee Member

Spencer Baker

Fourth Committee Member

Richard Miller

Fifth Committee Member

Katrina Liu

Number of Pages



This document presents a comparative study of the traditional Chinese vocal style which was primarily developed in the 20th century and Western bel canto singing practiced from the 19th century onward. It provides background information on their historical contexts and thorough analysis of various aspects in their pedagogical approaches. Through the examination of important literature, and the assessment of their acoustic properties, this project demonstrates the similarities and differences between these two vocal styles: 1) both singing styles require their singers to master the art of breathing to maintain a steady flow of air while keeping the support low; 2) both vocal styles hold high standards for the singer’s diction, however, their specific approaches are almost the opposite from each other; 3) each vocal style preferred a contrasting vocal timbre—the traditional Chinese vocal style aims for a focused and bright quality, while bel canto desires a color of chiaroscuro (light-dark); 4) both vocal styles stress the importance of voice placement. The traditional Chinese vocal style places the focus of the voice at the frontal part of the face, between the two eyebrows. Bel canto singing emphasizes balancing the forward and back, bright and dark; 5) both vocal styles demonstrate rich resonance and strong singer’s formant in the voice, however, the traditional Chinese vocal style primarily enhances the higher harmonic frequencies around 3520 Hz, while bel canto singing demonstrate prominent harmonic frequencies around 2640 Hz. This is due to their different approaches in shaping the vocal tract; 6) the two vocal styles convey music expression in contrasting ways—the traditional Chinese vocal style through yi yang dun cuo, staccato coloratura passages, and exclamatory long notes, and bel canto emphasis legato singing through music phrases and coloratura passages, and incorporates the technique of messa di voce while sustaining long notes.


Bel canto; Chinese; Resonance; Vocal pedagogy; Vocal style


Music | Theatre and Performance Studies

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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