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ICVT & PAVA 2022 Posters Supplementary Materials

Welcome to the QR code supplementary materials link from my research posters! Scroll down below & view each section to find more information about each of the research posters I am presenting at ICVT 2022 and at the 2022 PAVA Symposium. Thank you for your interest in my work; I'm grateful to you for stopping by. Please, stay in touch! Feel free to email me at

International Congress of Voice Teachers |

August 3-6, 2022

The Forgotten Ones: Female Composers & Poets from the 20th-21st Centuries

Nestorova Slavic Women Composers Poets 2  ICVT Poster 2022 FINAL.jpg

Pan-American Vocology Association |

August 19-21, 2022

The Forgotten Ones: Female Composers & Poets from the 20th-21st Centuries

Nestorova BG Lyric Diction Poster PAVA Presentation 2022_page-0001.jpg

Try it yourself! Which did you find more approachable to decipher, speak, & sing?

BULGARIAN Reference Audio GuideSilent Night Spoken
00:00 / 00:29
RUSSIAN Reference Audio GuideSilent Night Spoken
00:00 / 00:21
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To evaluate the convergences and divergences of articulatory settings and acoustic properties of sung and spoken Bulgarian, Russian, and North American English.


Deciphering Cyrillic script and Slavic phonemes are often barriers to accessibility of non-Western repertoire for classical singers. Of all Slavic languages, Bulgarian phonology has the least number of distinctive sounds. Despite this, Bulgarian, like other lesser-known Slavic languages (such as Ukrainian, Serbian, Croatian, Montenegrin, and more) remain underrepresented, tending

to be overshadowed by more well-known Slavic languages and repertoires already steeped in the classical music canon. While these may be unfamiliar languages and underexplored repertoires in the North American voice training studio, they stand to be elevated.


A pilot study involving four native English-speaking graduate classical singers with prior experience interpreting International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) were divided into two equally weighted groups. Participants did not have prior experience with Russian or Bulgarian languages. Singers were provided annotated scores (IPA transcription, transliteration, and English translation) and professional example recordings of an excerpt from “Silent Night” in English, Russian, and Bulgarian languages.


The first participant group (G1) listened to the recordings and practiced the text once in both speaking and singing. Then, they recited and sang the excerpt in 1.) Bulgarian and 2.) Russian. The second participant group (G2) completed the protocol in the opposite order (Russian first, then Bulgarian).


Once completing the protocol, singers were asked to fill out a self-reported learning experience survey. A Russian and a Bulgarian lyric diction specialist rated each participant’s linguistic accuracy using a 1 (correct), 0 (incorrect) scale per phoneme.

Preliminary statistical results indicate a strong correlation between the raters’ linguistic accuracy scores and singers’ self-reporting scores in both groups. LTAS and MRI analysis revealed more similarities in articulatory setting configuration between English and Bulgarian than English and Russian. All singers in both groups had a higher Bulgarian linguistic accuracy score than Russian. G1 singers scored a higher Russian linguistic accuracy and self-reporting score.


The results of the present pilot study suggest Bulgarian’s converging phonetic construction with English. Studying Bulgarian lyric diction first may serve as an effective pathway for singers in training who wish to approach other Slavic languages written in Cyrillic script. The Bulgarian lyric diction and repertoire warrant further investigation regarding its pedagogical benefits.

Take a watch/listen to some Bulgarian art songs that are very appropriate for singers in training!

For more information on Slavic repertoire & lyric diction, contact me, or explore the first volume (more to come soon!) of the Bulgarian Art Song Anthology.


BONUS: below, you will find audio & video recordings of traditional Bulgarian folk singing, performed by my great-grandmother, Atanaska Todorova, a self-taught singers & one of the first musicians to record at the Bulgarian National Radio in Sofia in the early 1900s.

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