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Pub­lic ex­am­i­na­tion of the doc­toral de­gree of Miika Hyytiäinen

Title of the doctoral project: Voice Map Method: Enhancing Composer-Singer Communication

The board which assessed the ​artistic demonstrations: singer Pia Freund, composer Mathias Hinke, prof. Mieko Kanno, composer Juhani Nuorvala and director Erik Söderblom 

Examiners of the thesis: Prof. Ariadne Jeßulat, Prof. Sten Ternström 


Opening of the Public Defence
Lectio praecursoria 
Music performance during lectio:
Duo Voices of Birds from the Opera “Voice is Voices” (Marika Hölttä and Kaisa Ranta)
Speaker on the tape: Kajsa Dahlbäck
Edit of the tape: Maija Turunen & MuTe
Statement of the Opponent 
Examination of the Dissertation 
Closing Statement of the Opponent 
Public Discussion 
Closing of the Public Defence 

Artistic components of the doctoral project

The artistic entity consists of music theatre pieces written for voice. In all of them, the Voice Map Method was used to enhance communication. In the last concert, the method was fully functional and gave the composer possibility to compose for similarities and differences between the performers’ voices. 

  • Voice Box, Opera performance, 18.5.2017, Black Box, Musiikkitalo, Mannerheimintie 13 A, 00100 Helsinki
  • Nomictic Solutions, part “From Mythology to Logistics”, Opera performance, 11.6.2017, Starnberger See and Villa Waldberta, Höhenbergstraße 25, 82340 Feldafing, Munich
  • Voice is Voices, audio installation opera, 6.9.2021, Helsinki Music Centre, Musiikkitalo, Mannerheimintie 13 A, 00100 Helsinki

Abstract of the thesis

Communication issues often occur between singers and composers in the context of creating new vocal music. The Voice Map Method (VMM), developed here, facilitates more fluent communication and thus supports the artistic process. The VMM consists of two parts: a computer-aided Voice Map Analysis (VMA) and a questionnaire entitled List of Good Questions. This systematic process involves collecting information about a specific singer’s voice; it reveals some of the most essential aspects of the singing voice, which is particularly beneficial to less experienced composers. During the VMA stage, the composer listens to the singer’s voice, to get to know it acoustically. Afterwards, both parties read through the VMA together and proceed to discuss it. 
The VMA is based on the Voice Range Profile (VRP), an analytical tool used in voice studies to efficiently collect numerical data on the voice. The result of the VMA, the Voice Map, reveals the possibilities of the singer’s voice in visual form, indicating each area (‘area’ being analogous to ‘register’) and the dynamic range (range of sound pressure levels) of each tone. Lastly, the singer’s formant is analysed automatically and the audio is stored for later reference. 
Field tests involving different voice types validate the technical functionality of the VMA and optimise the analysis process. Nevertheless, since the VMM is designed to improve communication between artists, the ultimate testing and validation happens in the artistic context, in the form of composing three operas. 
The methodology applied here is ‘iterative development’, which cycles through questions arising from the artistic work as well as the literature, to finally create new versions of the VMM. The development project is grounded in communication theory, collaborative creativity (as per Keith Sawyer), and the analysis of the composer’s work. Furthermore, the voice studies provide a theoretical background for the vocal registers, singer’s formant, vibrato, voice range profile, and the German Fach system. 
While the Fach system itself is a fundamental component of the opera industry, it is often misapplied outside of that context. Composing too vaguely for a voice type is characteristic of inexperienced composers. Structural gaps in the standard training programmes cause them to resort to the Fach system in an uninformed way. 

More information

Miika Hyytiäinen’s music is characterised by the versatile use of the human voice and intimacy. It combines a variety of art forms, such as opera, performance art and theatre, as well as science and academic conventions. 

Hyytiäinen graduated with honours from Professor Daniel Ott’s experimental musical theatre class at the Universität der Künste in Berlin. He continued his studies at the DocMus Doctoral School, Sibelius Academy at the University of Arts, Helsinki. The applied artistic doctoral study has the title: Voice Map Method: Enhancing Composer-Singer Communication. In addition to composing and performing, he is active as a researcher, pedagogue and counsellor in musical theatre. 

Hyytiäinen’s music has been performed at the most important festivals and venues in Finland and Germany. In addition, it has been heard in the Nordic countries, England, Italy, the Netherlands, France, Japan, and the United States, including partners such as the Finnish National Opera, Stuttgart State Opera, and the Glyndebourne Opera Festival. The most important performances include the sound installation opera “Voice is Voices,” which premiered in 2021, thematising the relationship between voice and identity. In the same year, at the Darmstadt Summer Academy, the piano piece “Torstainen” received its premiere by Fidan Aghayeva-Edler, who has since performed it at numerous festivals. In 2018, Julia Mihály performed “Hearing Voices” in Darmstadt. In the same year, Hyytiäinen’s opera “Nomictic Solutions” premiered at the Munich Biennale, and he was the first Finnish composer of the festival. The 2017 lecture opera “Voice Box” premiere was praised for its wittiness and artistic virtuosity.

Miika Hyytiäinen


10.9.2022 at 15:00



Mannerheimintie 13a

00100 Helsinki

Helsinki Music Centre

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