What is Vocology, Exactly?

 The word vocology comes from pairing the latin “voco” meaning voice or speech with “ology” meaning the study of, or science of.  So, vocology is to voice what audiology is to hearing.  The person who coined the term is Dr. Ingo Titze of the National Center for Voice and Speech in Salt Lake City, UT.  I have a soon-to-be-published video interview with Dr. Titze where he says he was the one, THE guy, who coined the term.  It is no secret that Dr. Titze is one of the foremost experts in the world in voice science, as well as one of the kindest human beings you’ll ever meet, but to be the one who founded language to describe a whole field of study . . . just wow.

The reason I’m interested in the field of vocology is because I enjoy the how and why of life.

I’d like to know what happens physically when we sing, and how the brain responds to sound.  Things like that.

My nature is to dig for deeper answers in areas like psychology and voice, as well as a few other subjects.  Of course, knowing all the how and why will never get accomplished in any “ology.”

What’s amazing to me is that we are living in a time where a LOT of the answers to voice questions are bubbling to the surface and being twittered and tweeted about between voice geeks and gurus across the globe.  The voice is utterly and miraculously complex!  We will never fully comprehend it’s beauty and interconnectedness with our psyche and God, let alone the mechanics that make it function.

Often, we can’t even articulate why it moves us like no other instrument in the universe.  But!  Now we know so much about the bio mechanics of the voice, that we are on the verge of what I think of as a voice revolution.  Sometimes I dream about what the next generation of voice teachers and coaches and researchers will do and discover, and it almost brings me to tears.  The truth is that we are still in the hoarse and buggy days (pun intended) of vocology, and we have yet so very far to go.  Instead of seeing this as a negative thing, it makes me crazy excited.  I’ll refrain from using many exclamation points, but I really, really, really want to use them . . . right now!!

At a voice nerd conference two years ago, a veteran speech language pathologist said we are about 30 years behind sports medicine in terms of universal understanding.  She said, “sports medicine is just now starting to figure out that concussions cause brain damage, and we are 30 years behind them.”  Very funny, Ms. Researcher-Therapist-Lady, and not at all far from the truth.  In my post about vocal athleticism, the point I was trying to make is just this: no matter what kind of singing you do, you are taxing your body.  Singing is physically demanding.  You gotta be careful, or at least learn how your voice works, yo.  Just kidding.  You don’t have to do anything.  I just want people to have access to information that can help them sing forever.  Hopefully the field of vocology will start hashtag trendingallovertheworld because we all start blogging about it, and ultimately help voice users collide with it’s amazing discoveries.

I want the word vocology to become popular.  I want people to know what it means so they have a reference word for looking up information on the interweb.  I want vocology to grow like wildfire, and for you to read this blog and have more questions than you came here with.  I want a lot of things, and all I know is that the “they” we hope for to make it all happen is us.

If you’d like to read the book called Vocology, click here.  You can also contact the National Center for Voice and Speech at www.ncvs.org for free voice information and resources.  I plan to blog about many more free voice resources, so stay tuned.

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