How is Voice Produced

Voice is created as a result of the following elements:

Respiration

Respiration (breathing) refers to the work of the lungs and provides the source of energy for creating voice.

When we breathe in we pull air in through our nose or mouth, down through the larynx and the trachea and into our lungs. As we breathe out this air is pushed from the lungs, up the trachea, through the larynx and out through our mouth/nose again.

Phonation

Phonation, which is the production of sound, occurs in the larynx (voice box) when the vocal folds vibrate.

As the airstream passes through the vocal folds, the vocal folds open and close very rapidly. This vibration produces sound in a similar way to how a musical instrument creates sound through the vibration of a string or a reed.

By manipulating the length and tension in the vocal folds and the position of the larynx in the neck we can change the way our voice sounds. A healthy voice allows an individual to have full control over the volume, pitch and quality of sound.

Resonance

After producing sound at the level of the vocal folds, the airstream continues travelling upwards and enters the cavities above the larynx.

Resonance refers to the modification of this airstream, by the structures of the vocal tract (neck, mouth and nose). The vocal tract is able to assume various shapes, which can alter the way in which the air reaching the cavities moves, and therefore the way in which the voice sounds. An ‘ah’ sound resonates mainly in the mouth, whereas an ‘m’ sound resonates mainly in the nose.

The surface of the vocal tract, the shape and relationship of the cavities to each other, the restrictions of the cavities, and the size of their openings all affect resonance and the quality of the sounds produced.