By Brendan Hahne
Edited for online by Matthew Gharakhanian
Musically-talented twins are the focus of a world-first study investigating the genetics of singing ability.
The University of Melbourne and the Australian Twin Registry launched a year-long study today.
This research was brought into focus when Australian audiences were recently exposed to the musical talents of twins on Channel Nine’s The Voice.
Victorian twins Bec and Sebastian Ivanov wowed judges with their rendition of Jessie J’s ‘Nobody’s Perfect’.
Bec and Sebastian Ivanov singing Nobody’s Perfect in The Voice. Uploaded by The Voice Australia’s YouTube account.
The University of Melbourne is asking for twins like Bec and Sebastian to take part in its research project.
Study head Associate Professor Sarah Wilson says they are aiming to gather and compare recordings of identical and nonidentical twins singing along with other online tasks.
“The idea being that if it’s a genetic basis, then the identical twins will show more similar singing abilities than the nonidentical twins,” Ms Wilson says.
She says the results should determine whether a person’s environment has an impact on singing ability.
“So what we’re doing is we’re putting a call out for twins to participate in a study that’s going to be investigating whether or not our ability to sing in tune is based on our genes (so it’s nature) or our environment (nurture),” she says.
She says the idea began as an initiative at the university.
“Well basically the idea came from our research lab here,” she says.
“We have a big research group and we have an initiative called Music, Mind and Wellbeing, and what we’re doing is we’re exploring right from the genetics through to the social aspects of music.
“So it’s one piece in a larger research program looking at the benefits of singing for people in everyday life.”
Other twins who made it to The Voice’s blind auditions were Emma and Sarah Linnegar, but they failed to get the judges to turn their chairs.
Emma and Sarah Linnegar in a blind audition for The Voice. Uploaded by The Voice Australia’s YouTube account.
One thing researchers can agree on is that the study is likely to unearth more “twin talent”.
They can do so by uploading their voices to the Australian Twin Registry’s website.