London: The image of young boys singing wonderful Christmas carols could soon be a thing of the past as male voices are deepening earlier due to rich diet, a study says.

Boy's voices are deepening at 11 or 12 years now, down from 13 or 14 years in the 1960s.

Martin Ashley, professor and research head at Edge Hill University's Faculty of Education, in Ormskirk, Lancashire, claims the change is because we enjoy a richer diet than in the past.

"People are concerned that we will not get the quality of older, more mature boys with improved singing skills performing as trebles in choirs, and this is becoming a fact," says Ashley, a daily reports.

They are more mature when they get to 15 and are still singing, but this is rare now.

"The answer to it is to begin teaching boys to sing earlier by allowing them more time to mature as choristers. We are seeing in today's 12-year-olds what was seen in the 1960s in 14-year-olds," adds Ashley.

"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. So the image of young boys singing wonderful Christmas carols could soon be a thing of the past," says 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.

(Agencies)

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