Honoring the Masters. Sharing the Journey.

Johan Sundberg

Ph.D. in Musicology Uppsala University

Introductory Video

Johan Sundberg
Share Johan Sundberg’s profile
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

Biography

Johan Sundberg (born in 1936, Ph.D. in musicology Uppsala University 1966, doctor honoris causae 1996 University of York, UK) has a personal Chair (Emeritus) in Music Acoustics at the department of Speech Music and Hearing (KTH), Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm.

He early became interested in the acoustical aspects of music, starting with a doctoral dissertation work on organ pipes. After the dissertation, singing voice and music performance have been his main research topics.

He led the music acoustics research group from 1970 to 2004. In Musikens Ljudlära Sundberg presents music acoustics in popularized form to the interested layman.

As the President of the Music Acoustics Committee of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, Sundberg has been the editor of eight volumes in a series of proceedings of public seminars on music acoustic themes arranged in Stockholm since 1975. Sundberg has also had extensive experience of performing music.

For 24 years he was a member of the Stockholm Bach Choir, 9 years as its president. He has studied singing for Dagmar Gustafson and made his public debut with a Lieder recital on his 50th birthday. He is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, of the Swedish Acoustical Society (President 1976-81) and a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America.

Interview with
Johan Sundberg

What would you consider to be the main focus of your career, or your “specialty”?

Acoustics and physiology of singing voice, music perception, theory of music performance

How did you discover your calling for your speciality? How did it start?

Contact with the Gunnar Fant department at KTH, Stockhom

What do you love the most about your work?

Finding new facts and communicating them to interested audiences

In your opinion, what qualities do you feel make an “excellent” Vocal Pedagogue?

Excellent results of teaching

Can you speak to the importance of having mentors? How have mentors influenced your life/career? Can you tell us about some of your mentors?

They share their experiences, so you don’t need to earn them yourself. A kind of shortcut. Radio engineer flutist bassoonist Frans Fransson was my first mentor, guiding me to acoustic measurement; phonetician Björn Lindblom guided me to scientific research technique, particularly the analysis-by-synthesis method; singing teacher Dagmar Gustafson have guided me in finding the essence of vocal music, violinist Lars Frydén guided me to the principles underlying expressiveness in musical performance. In addition, some of my many doctoral students have guided me to the joy of cooperation.

Building Blocks – Questions About Ten Key Areas of Voice

When it comes to breathing, what are the most influential tips, insights or research findings that you would like to share with our audience?

Tracheal pull, Need to tailor subglottal pressure for each pitch and its position in the phrase, Need to master glottal adduction/resistance

When it comes to the larynx, what are the most influential tips, insights or research findings that you would like to share with our audience?

Relevance of larynx position

When it comes to the vocal folds, what are the most influential tips, insights or research findings that you would like to share with our audience?

Relevance of phonation type, the continuum between pressed and breathy, particularly finding flow phonation; Avoiding compulsory couplings between the three main phonatory parameters pitch, loudness, phonation type

When it comes to acoustics/resonance, what are the most influential tips, insights or research findings that you would like to share with our audience?

Never let fundamental frequency pass first formant; vowel egalisation,

When it comes to registration, what are the most influential tips, insights or research findings that you would like to share with our audience?

Learn how to avoid breaks and learn seamless transition between registers

When it comes to vocal health, what are the most influential tips, insights or research findings that you would like to share with our audience?

Pay attention to how it feels in your body

When it comes to style, what are the most influential tips, insights or research findings that you would like to share with our audience?

Listen and contemplate

When it comes to posture, what are the most influential tips, insights or research findings that you would like to share with our audience?

Important during learning

When it comes to teaching methods for communicating complex ideas about singing, what are the most influential tips, insights or research findings that you would like to share with our audience?

Take into account what type of instruction works

Final Thoughts (Words of Wisdom, Recommended Books and Resources)?

In the absence of theoretical knowledge, misconceptions and superstition rage

Share Johan Sundberg’s Profile
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

Related Vocal Pedagogues

Other experts you may find interesting.

Lilli Lehmann

German Operatic Soprano & Voice Teacher
German born operatic soprano and voice teacher, Lilli Lehmann (1848-1929) was a rarity in the voice world. She was equally masterful as a performing artist and teaching practitioner. Lehmann sustained...

Kittie Verdolini Abbott

Professor of Communication Sciences & Disorders at the University of Delaware
Katherine/Kittie Verdolini Abbott is one of the leading researchers and pedagogues in today’s world of vocal science.

Mathilde Marchesi

Mezzo Soprano & Singing Teacher
Mathilde Marchesi was a mezzo-soprano and singing teacher. She was born on 24 March 1821 and died on 17 November 1913, in London. Marchesi was a student of Manuel Garcia...