Intro to Primal Voice
All Primal Voice work is based on the idea of cooperating with nature to find maximum efficiency for minimal effort. Research suggests that most humans will use similar muscular reflexes in the body, breath and throat to create Primal Sounds. These sounds, present from birth, are inherently muscularly efficient. For singers, this means that we can use Primal Sounds as a foundation for our singing to increase efficiency, stamina, and effective emotional communication.
Primal Sound Throughout History
Primal sound was first described in a singing context by Oren Brown in his book "Discover Your Voice." This concept was later expanded upon in great detail by Professor Janice Chapman in her book "Singing and Teaching Singing: A Holistic Approach to Classical Voice."
In 2006 Dane Chalfin began investigating using flexible nasendoscopy, whether there were common gestures in the larynx and pharynx associated with specific primal sounds. Over the next 10 years it was concluded that specific primal sounds (sighing, whimpering, crying out and yelling) do have recognisably efficient gestures that can be useful when teaching and rehabilitating the singing voice.
By exploiting nature's efficient, emotionally-triggered reflexes in the vocal tract, singers can have relatively easy and immediate access to more efficient vocal production. With time and practice these new gestures can become the bedrock of the singer's vocal technique.
Dane's clinical research (2006-present) into the endoscopic assessment of disordered singers and the laryngopharyngeal gestures of singing and primal sounds now has over 500 subjects and may be the largest ongoing study into the singing voice to date. He also contributed to the development of the Endoscopic Protocol for the Assessment of Singers in the Voice Clinic (Jones, Chalfin, Garrett 2006-17), which is widely used in voice clinics to help assess singers with voice trouble.
There is more research to be done, but we now have a good basis for the assessment and treatment of disordered voices using Primal Sounds and also its application via Primal Voice training to vocal pedagogy in all styles of singing.