Tua Hakanpää

Teaching vocal improvisation through emotion expression

Tua will present her research which examines the possibilities of teaching improvisation using emotion portrayal as a raw material for generating different types of musical information. The study is an impact study looking at the effects that exercises, designed to address the physical and acoustic correlates of emotion portrayals have on musical improvisation. Six singers (3 female 3 male) with limited improvisation experience participated in a 5x45 minutes training intervention where they were taught to portray expressions of anger, sadness, joy, tenderness and neutral states while singing. A questionnaire was issued pre- and post teaching intervention and data from the answers given was analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively.
Results indicated that the use of different voice qualities needed for different emotion portrayals broadened the concept of singing technique as such. The use of different voice qualities in the singing voice was viewed as liberating by all test subjects but it was not necessarily combined with the ease of inventing new improvised material.

Tua Hakanpää is currently doing a PhD project on emotional singing voice at the University of Tampere and studying improvisation at the Music and Theatre Academy of Tallinn. She is firmly positioned between art and research and is trying to merge these two practices in her daily work. Her research subject is, conveniently enough, emotional expression in the singing voice. She is looking into questions such as: what do we hear when we hear emotions in music and singing? How can we add emotion to voice? How can emotional expression in the singing voice be taught?