Resonance of voice

Wikipedia: The State of Deseret was a provisional state of the United States, proposed in 1849 by settlers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) in Salt Lake City. The provisional state existed for slightly over two years and was never recognized by the United States government. The name derives from the word for “honeybee” in the Book of Mormon.

Jerry Johnston wrote for Deseret News (“the longest-running newspaper in Utah and the state’s oldest continuously operating business”) on Jun 10, 1999:

“…For (Dr. David Power, vocal performance chairman at the University of Utah), all singing is communication, spirit to spirit, and family closeness simply enhances that unity. But Power also sees several physical reasons sibling voices blend so well.

“With family members,” he says, “noses are alike, ears are alike. So it stands to reason voices will be alike. I know when my sons answer the telephone there’s often a question about who’s speaking. We all sound the same when we sing, too.”

One reason, says Power, is that resonance of voice comes from sounds being enhanced in various chambers: the oral cavity, the nasal cavity, the pharynx.

Like the box of a guitar or a violin, parts of the face and head serve to amplify and color tones. Just the size and shape of your mouth changes vocal quality. So members of the same family produce the same “timbre” because they have the same facial structure.

What’s more, personality may come into play. People who share the same genes and grow up together often approach life — and the arts — with similar attitudes and temperament.

Music history is filled with such examples.

Will any folk group ever achieve the oneness of purpose and sound that June Carter Cash and The Carter Family were able to generate? Probably not.

And what of the three Wilson brothers and the famous Beach Boy sound, the Andrews Sisters, The McGuire Sisters and one of the hottest harmony groups on the circuit today, the Osborn Sisters, who sing as the group SheDaisy?

They all meld together perfectly. And that vocal unity often holds up even when rifts appear in family relationships. The Everly Brothers had a spat and didn’t speak for years. They still live is separate parts of the country and seldom get together. Yet when they take the stage, their Kentucky childhood and the years of working with their father, Ike Everly, come to the fore and create a sound that’s as tight as twin fiddles…

No other harmony group sounds quite like them.

Locally, of course, the kings of kinship harmony are the Osmonds. In the early years the harmonies of the four boys charmed national audiences on the Andy Williams Show. (Williams, of course, was a “sibling singer” himself with The Williams Brothers and took a shine to these siblings of a new era.)…

“Siblings who sing together a lot develop a very special sound that comes simply from singing together,” says choral director Dr. John Cooksey of the University of Utah. “Their vibratos are often similar. And the blend of voices sets up overtones and creates harmonies that are intriguing. It is a pleasing and warm sound.”…”

From Wikipedia:

Andy Williams (youngest of the Williams Brothers) was born in Wall Lake, Iowa, to Florence (née Finley) and Jay Emerson Williams, who worked in insurance and the post office. While living in Cheviot, Ohio, Williams attended Western Hills High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. He finished high school at University High School, in West Los Angeles, because of his family’s move to California.”

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