Does the soprano voice change with ovulation?

Does the soprano voice change with ovulation?


norman lebrecht

September 22, 2011

Researchers in Germany have been working on the age-old legend that sopranos have their monthly ups and downs.

After intensive study of 23 female singers, the Department of Cognitive Ethology in Göttingen, working with partners in Britain and Israel, has come up with an answer. Or maybe half an answer. Sort of.

It concludes that there is no apparent change to the voice with ovulation, but some roughness and higher pitch during menstruation. The survey leans rather heavily on male perspectives of changes in the female voice. Here’s a sample:

In the perceptual preference tests, British heterosexual males who did not speak German rated the free speech samples recorded three days prior to estimated ovulation to be, marginally significantly, more attractive than those recorded in the middle of the ovulatory period (t27 = 2.662, p = 0.013). There were no significant differences between attractiveness ratings during the period of ovulation and at the onset of menstruation (t27 = ?0.377, p = 0.709; see Fig. 4). For the sustained vowels, we found no difference in preference (vowel /a/ pre-ovulation vs. ovulation t27 = 0.493, p = 0.626; ovulation vs. menstruation t27 = ?0.891, p = 0.381).


Here‘s the full peer-reviewed academic report.



  • Amanda de Andrade says:

    That´s a really cool study! So the voice does change over the cycle and this difference can be percieved by males. I wonder if females would show similar results…