About Johan Sundberg

Johan Sundberg, professor of Music Acoustics at KTH Stockholm (Royal Institute of Technology) 1979 – 2001. After his doctoral dissertation on organ pipe acoustics in 1966, he turned to acoustical aspects of music, his main research topics being singing voice and theory of music performance. 

His analyses of male operatic singer voices have shown that the singer’s formant cluster greatly enhances solo singers’ voices and can be explained as a resonance phenomenon in the vocal tract.

His analyses of female singers revealed that they widen the vocal tract constriction and the jaw opening in order to avoid that the pitch frequency becomes higher than the lowest vocal tract resonance, the first formant.

His analyses of the pulsating glottal airflow produced by the vocal fold vibrations have shown how breathing pressure and glottal adduction affect the voice characteristics loudness and timbre. Thereby, he identified a special type of phonation, flow phonation, which is produced with the lowest degree of glottal adduction that generates vocal fold closing during the glottal vibration cycle.

His analysis-by-synthesis of singing and music performance has revealed a number of performance principles, such as markers of melodic structure, emphasis, and different effects.

He has published more than 350 research articles in scientific journals. In the book The Science of the Singing Voice (Swedish Röstlära, translated into English, German, Portuguese and Japanese) he summarizes physiological, acoustical, and expressive aspects of voice production. He has also written a book on the acoustic aspects of musical sounds (The Science of Musical Sounds, 1991) and has been the organizer and editor/co-editor of numerous proceedings.


He has also had extensive experience of performing music as a choir and solo singer and celebrated his 50th birthday with a public Lieder recital in Stockholm.

He is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music and Doctor Honoris Causa at the University of York, UK, University of Athens, Greece, and Université de Liège, Belgium.


The Science of the Singing Voice (Wisner Verlag, Cornell University Press) »

Cincia da Voz (Amazon) »