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Making Sound. Sound is made and amplified in the vocal tract, which consists of the larynx (voice box) and the pharynx (throat).

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Making Sound

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making sound
Making Sound
  • Sound is made and amplified in the vocal tract, which consists of the larynx (voice box) and the pharynx (throat).
  • Voiced sound is produced by the vibration of the vocal folds. Air is expelled by the lungs, through the glottis, creating a pressure drop in the larynx. When this drop becomes large enough, the folds begin to oscillate.
  • This oscillation serves to balance the pressure of air through the larynx, creating voiced sound.
folds oscillating
Folds Oscillating
  • Made up of cartilages and muscles.
  • Suspended and supported in the neck from the front, behind, above, and below by groups of paired muscles.
  • It has a complex relationship with the pharynx (throat), jaw, neck, and chest. Position of the next and chest contribute to laryngeal efficiency.
laryngeal structure
Laryngeal Structure
  • Main structure consists of four cartilages and a bone: the criocoid, two arytenoids, thyroid, and the hyoid bone.
important muscles of phonation
Important muscles of phonation
  • The vocal fold consists of a muscle that runs from the front (arytenoid cartilages) to the inside back of the thyroid cartilage. This is called the vocalis muscle (also called the thyroarytenoid muscle).
  • The muscle is covered with mucous membrane and a ligament (vocal ligament) on the inside edge of each fold. This ligament is the loose end of the conuselasticus, a structure that arises from the cricoid cartilage and forms a support for the folds.
adduction and abduction
Adduction and Abduction
  • Abduction- folds blown apart. The muscles that control this action are the posterior crico-arytenoids. Upon contraction, they swing the arytenoids wide taking the folds with them.
  • Adduction- closing of the folds. Lateral crico-arytenoids contract, causing the folds to meet in the center. To close the glottal gap, the arytenoids must slide toward each other and close the gap, using the interarytenoids.
pitch change
Pitch change
  • Folds are relaxed and short for lower pitches, and stretched and thin for higher pitches.
  • The cricothyroids contract and tilt the thyroid cartilage forward, while the cricoid goes backwards. This creates a slight pull, and when this is done smoothly, pitch change occurs.
  • When the folds are not stretched, as in chest voice, the main muscular action is that of the thyroarytenoids- creating a tight glottal closure.
  • Initiation of sound is called onset or attack. For a clear sound, the folds need to touch each other cleanly and gently; this happens upon coordination of breathing muscles, airflow, and the onset of sound.
  • Hard attack- glottal attack; a lot of pressure upon onset, where the folds create a small explosion of sound.
  • Breathy- too much air escaping; weak glottal closure.
  • Coordinated onset- ideal balance of breath, air flow, and onset of sound.
voice quality
Voice Quality
  • Improved efficiency of the vocal mechanism improves sound quality.
  • Styles- classical, CCM, ethnic.
  • Balanced registers- a smooth sound from top to bottom
  • Most speaking voices are closer to the bottom of the vocal range; this can make singing higher pitches more difficult, as it is not “the norm” for some.
vibrato and straight tone
Vibrato and Straight Tone
  • Vibrato enhances a musical pitch by quick, consistent oscillations of that tone, intensity of sound or of timbre, or by a mixture of these. Neumann, Frederick, “The Vibrato Controversy,” Performance Practice Review 4, no. 1, Article 3, (1991).
  • Vibrato is an acoustic phenomenon that occurs in most voices. There is a LOT of controversy on how it is produced and regulated, and voice science is constantly exploring new research methods.
  • Ideal vibrato- consistent, even acoustic waves; generally, 5 to 8 fluctuations per second.
  • Straight tone0 the absence of vibrato- jazz, some pop, some world music. Straight sound is fine, as long as it is not tight, strained, or blatant.
the pharynx throat
The Pharynx (throat)
  • Responsible for sound quality; flexible
  • Main purpose: dual passageway for air and food
  • Breathing- relaxed and spacious; swallowing-closes around the food and squeezes it down
  • A relaxed pharynx is long and wide; a constricted pharynx is short and narrow
pharyngeal structure
Pharyngeal Structure
  • The pharynx Is a sleeve-like structure that hangs from the base of the skull
  • Attached to various bones and cartilages along the way
  • Three divisions: Nasal, Oral, Laryngeal
soft palate
Soft Palate
  • Not considered part of the pharynx, but shares muscles with those of the pharynx..
  • Very flexible- capable of moving up and down; closes off the back of the nose during swallowing to prevent food from entering the nasal passages.
  • During singing, the raising of the soft palate creates more space and resonance in the vocal tract.
tongue tension
Tongue Tension!
  • Tensing the tongue or pulling it back can prevent the soft palate from lifting; the palatoglossus acts as an antagonist to the levatorpalati. The sound result is garbled and not pleasant.
posture again
Posture again?
  • When the skull, jaw, hyoid bone, and larynx are in alignment,the muscles of the pharynx and position of the larynx are freely suspended in the neck.
  • If the head or jaw pushes forward, the alignment is distorted and the pharynx and larynx are compromised.
  • Good posture is the key to allowing the muscles of the throat to respond and make the sound you wish to make!
i hate the sound of my voice
I hate the sound of my voice
  • Remember, the sound you hear coming out of your month is different than the sound heard by the audience. Why? Feedback inside your head, distance from your mouth to your ear, bone conduction, and vocal tract buzz.
  • Outside feedback is important.
tract manipulation
Tract manipulation
  • Manipulation of the pharyngeal muscles is not necessary to create colorful sound. Instead, try focusing on energy of the text and effective communication, rather than muscular maneuvering.
  • Tension is a primary problem associated with the pharynx- tension will narrow the space and cause the larynx to rise under the tongue.