Tara continues part two of delving into some basic definitions and terms that make up parts of singing. This week she focuses on the larynx itself—the voice box. She breaks down each part to give singers more confidence in exploring their own voice and the physical parts of their body that make up the voice.
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Today we look at the Larynx—what is it?
It is also called the Voice Box and sits in the anterior neck.
The epiglottis is the valve that closes over the trachea when swallowing is needed. It lifts when breathing and phonation is done.
The layrnx is made up of extrinsic and intrinsic muscles.
What are the extrinsic muscles?
The suprahyoid and the infrahyoid group sets make up these muscles and attach to the hyoid bone.
Ligaments bind these to the larynx itself, causing it to move as one whole.
The suprahyoid raises the larynx and the infrahyoid muscles move it down.
What are the intrinsic muscles and what do they do?
They control the shape of the opening (glottis) and the length and tension of the vocal folds themselves.
Cricothyroid—stretches and causes tension on the vocal ligaments—increases pitch
Thyroarytenoid—Relaxes the vocal ligaments—loosens and lowers pitch
Transverse and oblique cricoarytenoid—closes the arytenoid cartilages during exhalation—they act in a sliding motion. (The area at the middle of the vocal folds in the voice box looking down.)
Lateral cricoarytenoid—The adductors of the vocal folds—closes them—exhalation.
(Also how whispering is produced.)
Posterior cricoarytenoid—the abductors of the vocal folds—opens them—inhalation.
“It’s more important if you simply remember the things that they (these intrinsic muscles) actually do.”
Here is a link to see the video that shows these parts:
Vocal folds themselves: They are attached at the front to the thyroid cartilage and at the back to the arytenoids.
They contain the vestibular folds and the vocal folds.
Vestibular folds: (false vocal folds)
They are the vestibular ligament covered by a mucous membrane and are pink. They are fixed folds.
Vocal folds: They are white in color and are controlled by the muscles to open/close, relax/tense.
“The beautiful part of this is that all of these muscles and ligaments are working together to create all the pitches and the actual sound of what’s being produced.”
Another video to watch to help you see how these work together:
On all the parts of the voice box and vocal tract combining together:
“When they do work together…it becomes effortless. It feels effortless.”
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