Demetrio Stratos rethinks voice techniques: a historical investigation at ISTC in Padova

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


SMC Conference 2011 (2011)


Demetrio Stratos (1945-1979) was a singer known for his creative use of vocal techniques such as diplophony, bitonality and diphony (overtone singing). His need to know the scientific explanation for such vocal behaviors, drove him to visit the ISTC in Padova (Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies) in the late Seventies. ISTC technical resources and the collaboration with Franco Ferrero and Lucio Croatto (phonetics and phoniatric experts), allowed him to analyze his own phono-articulatory system and the effects he was able to produce.

This paper presents the results of a broad historical survey of Stratos’ research at the ISTC. The historic investigation is made possible by textual criticism and interpretation based on different sources, digital and audio sources, sketches, various bibliographical references (published or unpublished) and oral communications.
Sonograms of Stratos’ exercises (made at the time and recently redone) show that various abilities existed side by side in the same performer, which is rare to find. This marks his uniqueness in the avant-gard and popular music scene of the time. 
The ultimate aim of this study was to produce a digital archive for the preservation and conservation of the sources related to this period.


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