Boys' voices breaking earlier due to 'rich diet'
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Male voices are breaking earlier than ever due to 'rich diet', which could make the 'angelic' choir boy singing carols at Christmas a thing of past, experts claim.
A study of 1,000 boys over two years found that where male voices were breaking around the age of 13 or 14 years in the 1960s, they can now expect to deepen aged just 11 or 12.
Researchers claim the change is because people enjoy a richer diet than in the past, the 'Daily Mail' reported.
"There is some controversy building around what our findings mean for choirs," said Professor Martin Ashley, Head of Research at Edge Hill University's Faculty of Education.
"They are more mature when they get to 15 and are still singing, but this is rare now. We are seeing in today's 12 year olds what was seen in the 1960s in 14 year olds.
"Unfortunately, the consequence is that older and musically experienced boys are being lost early, with a potential impact on the choir's ability to perform the more difficult music," said Ashley.
Ashley is also nearing completion of a large digital audio database of present day voices, which contains analytical recordings of over 1,000 boys, including boys from seven of the cathedral choirs that produce festive music.
The voices are compared with other measurements such as the boys' heights, weights, neck sizes and lung volumes.
"We know far more about girls than boys because there isn't the interest in reproductive health and because puberty in boys is difficult to measure.
"However, modern computerised analysis allows conclusions to be made from voice alone and our voice data is telling us that many boys' careers as angelic singers are now coming to an end at only twelve years of age because puberty in boys does seem to be earlier now than it has been over the last two thousand years," he said.