Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Fine Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Noemi Lugo


The articulation of Portuguese nasalized vowels poses some articulatory problems accompanied by negative acoustic effects for the performance of Brazilian art songs. The main objective was to find strategies that permit the singer to conciliate an idiomatic pronunciation of these vowels with a well-balanced resonance, a desirable quality in classical singing. In order to devise these strategies, the author examined sources dealing with nasalized vowels from varied perspectives: acoustic properties of vowel nasalization, phonetic and phonological aspects ofBrazilian Portuguese (BP), historical views on nasality in singing, and recent vocal pedagogy research. In addition to the overall loss of sonority, the main effect of nasalization is felt mainly in the first formant (F1) region of oral vowels, due to the introduction of nasal formants and antiformants, and to shifts in the tongue posture. Several sources report the existence of a nasality contour in BP, by which a nasalized vowel starts with an oral phase and transitions gradually to a nasal phase. The author concludes that the basic approach to sing nasalized vowels in BP is (1) to find the tongue posture corresponding to the oral vowel congener (the “core vowel”), and (2) to adjust the nasality contour in such a way that the oral portion remains prominent in order to keep the resonance balance consistent during the emission of the vowel. Once the core vowel is determined, standard vowel modification choices can be made according to voice type and the musical context in which the vowel is being sung. Some challenging excerpts from Brazilian art songs are examined, with suggestions for the application of the discussed strategies.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)