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About Your Voice

About Your Voice.

Your voice is the sound made by vibration of the vocal cords caused by air passing out from your lungs.  This vibration creates a sound wave,    By controlling the air from your lungs, along with the control of opening and closing your vocal cords are are able to produce a sound.   This air naturally needs to exit the body from either your mouth or your nose back out into the atmosphere.

Here again you have control on how you wish to ‘polish’ that sound wave to how you wish it to sound  (more on tone and resonance here).   You may open your mouth for the sound wave to exit there, or you may divert the soundwave more through your nose as you would if you were to hum.

Your Airway

This consists of your nose and mouth, your windpipe and your lungs.  Your voice box  (larynx) is situated at the top of your windpipe (trachea).

Find Your Larynx

You can feel your layrnx (also known as your adams apple) at the front of your neck.   Gently place your hand on it and swallow, you will feel it raise slightly before it returns back to its original position.   As well as housing your vocal cords, your larynx  has a protective flap called your epiglottis which prevents food going into your windpipe as you swallow.

 

Your Vocal Cords

The vocal cords (also known as vocal folds) are two bands of stretchy muscle tissue. They are located side by side in the voice box (larynx) just above the windpipe (trachea).  These membranes are fixed at one end, giving them a V-shaped and open and close to allow for breathing and sound production.

vector illustration of diagram of vocal cord

 

The cords remain open to  create an airway through which you breathe when you are silent.  When you start to speak or sing, the vocal cords tighten up and move closer together. Air from the lungs is forced between them and makes them vibrate, producing the sound of our voice.

The frequency that your vocal cords vibrate will determine the pitch of your sound. They vibrate faster for higher-pitched sounds, slower for lower-pitched sounds.  The tongue, lips, and teeth help form this sound wave into words, or give the sound more tone or resonance.    Your vocal cords are delicate structures.  They appear white as there is little blood supply to them.  They are also covered in mucous to prevent them drying out.

Male vocal cords tend to be longer and thicker and vibrate slower within the larynx, giving the male voice a deeper, lower sound. The larynx i(also known as the Adams Apple) tends to be more visible in males.  Female vocal cords tend to be shorter, thinner and vibrate more quickly, giving the female voice a higher and lighter sound.

 

Your Voice

The physical action of singing or speaking is the same for everyone.  However, the reason we all sound different to each other is down to our physical attributes. The size and thickness of our vocal cords, the shape our bone structure, the position of our teeth, our nasal cavity, our sinuses, our tongue.

Once that sound is produced by our vocal cords, it travels up towards our mouth and nose, where we resonate that sound wave around our head, shaping and polishing before we exhale our own unique sound.

Your tone and resonance can be improved as you learn to sing.    As a singer, learning how to control your breath and using vocal exercises to help you strengthen and develop flexibility in your voice is invaluable.

More on tone and resonance

 

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