The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #44448   Message #654323
Posted By: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
20-Feb-02 - 07:51 PM
Thread Name: Sound Of Pear-Shaped Tones
Subject: RE: Sound Of Pear-Shaped Tones
The definitions by Firth and MMario are close enough. I remember a vocal coach in my school (1930s, long time ago) trying to teach those of us in the school choir to use our diaphragm, not just vocalize from the throat. She would place her hand on her ample middle and call on us for pear-shaped tones, then on her throat and say No! No! and sing in a thin falsetto to point out the difference.
I am sure the phrase goes back to some long-forgotten vocal coach.
I couldn't find the term in the OED either, but it is in Merriam Webster's (Firth's def.). I doubt that the term is only North American, however.