A voice is an amazing thing.
With our voice, we convey information, express emotion and provide entertainment. We each have our own unique vocal ‘fingerprint’ that allows our friends to recognize us when we call them on the phone. We rely on our voice to win a debate, negotiate a contract, reassure a frightened child, and to celebrate a victory. Our tone conveys honesty, anger, happiness and fear. A song can inspire a spectrum of emotions, and recall past memories.
So how does our voice work? And what do you do when it doesn’t work?
Voice is produced when air is pushed up from the lungs to the level of the vocal cords. The vocal cords vibrate, producing sound. The vocal cords tense, lengthen and stretch to produce different frequencies. The sound is then shaped by the upper airway to add resonance and articulation resulting in speech or song.
The vocal cords themselves are thin bands of tissue over muscle. They sit within a framework that has a complex nerve supply and multiple paired muscles that allow very nuanced changes in vibration of the vocal cords, well demonstrated in professional singers.
Subtle differences in vibration or movement can ...