Voice Mechanics

About Your Voice

  • The Vocal Core
  • Sound, Vibration and Resonance
  • How Your Voice is Produced - Voice Mechanics
  • The Thread of the Voice
  • Breath Support
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The Vocal Core

Your voice is produced in the upper third of your body, from the top of the head to the diaphragm. We call this part of your body, "The Vocal Core." The lower two thirds of your body supports and amplifies the sounds made in the vocal core. 

There are specific points in the vocal core that must be released in order for the voice to properly sound and resonate.

Critical release points of the Vocal Core

  • Mind
  • Eyes
  • Ears
  • Head
  • Mouth
  • Tongue
  • Jaw
  • Larynx
  • Chest

Sound and Pitch

Sound occurs when air is vibrated within the range of about 20 to 20,000 vibrations per second.

When the air is vibrated within this range, our eardrums transfer the pressurized waves into sound, frequency and tone.

Pitch is the name for the high and lowness sound of a tone.

High sounds have a high “Pitch” and low sounds have a low “Pitch”.

How Your Voice is Made

At the top of your trachea sits the sound producing part of your vocal instrument: the larynx.

Inside the larynx are your vocal folds (also called "vocal cords"). The air from your lungs vibrates your vocal folds, converting the air into sound waves.

The muscles and ligaments connected to the vocal folds stretch and contract the vocal folds to change from high to low pitch.

When the vocal folds contract, they are shorter, thicker, and vibrate the air at a slower rate, causing a lower pitch.

When the vocal folds are stretched, they become thinner and vibrate the air at a faster rate, causing a higher pitch.

After the air is sounded in the larynx, the sound waves move to spaces inside of your vocal core in a consistent path:

High pitches move to higher spaces within your vocal core, and lower pitches move to lower spaces within your vocal core.

Resonance = Volume

The sound waves echo within the resonating spaces and cause the original sound from your larynx to AMPLIFY, to increase in Volume, to grow louder. 

The body swells with air pressure as the sound saves echo. This air pressure allows the body to sustain open resonating spaces for the sound waves.

Breath Volume = Voice Volume

Breath Volume = Voice Volume (Loudness). More breath inside of your body means the sound saves have more space, more air to amplify the volume.

Thread of the Voice

When your body is properly aligned, your voice moves from high to low, low to high pitches in one long, unbroken line.

We call this unbroken vocal pitch line the, “Thread of the Voice”.

The thread of the voice is your most healthy, core sound. It is the foundation upon which the mightiest voice tones are built.

The thread of the voice is also called the, "Inside Voice Pitch Line."

Breath Support

After the initial sound is made in the vocal core, the lower 2/3rds of your body provides a cushion of breath pressure underneath to "Support" the vocal core.

We call this lower body breath pressure, "Breath Support."

Vocal Release Points  - "Home Position"

There are specific points within the upper body that must release in order to allow the vocal body to swell and contract with breath and sound waves. When these points are free of tension, the voice moves painlessly up and down the inside voice line. 

In the next unit, you will learn the precise movements to unlock the vocal mechanism and release tension in the vocal core.

Summary

  • Your "Voice" is created when your vocal folds vibrate the air from your lungs.
  • The sound vibrations then move into spaces inside of your upper body where they reverberate to amplify the volume.
  • The reverberating spaces for your voice correspond to the high and low pitch of the sound: Low pitches move to lower reverberating spaces in the vocal core and higher pitches move to higher reverberating spaces.
  • When the body is properly aligned, the pitches move in an unbroken line of sound.
  • This unbroken line is called either, "The Thread of the Voice" or "The Inside Pitch Line."
  • The body swells and contracts with air pressure as the sound waves reverberate in their resonating spaces.
  • The lower 2/3rds of the body provides a cushion of breath pressure called, "Breath Support".

Vocabulary

  • AMPLIFY - To increase the volume of a sound or vibration.
  • BREATH SUPPORT - Breath and Air pressure underneath the sound created in the vocal core. The upper third of the body creates the initial vocal sound while the remaining two thirds of your body also contains breath and air pressure to support the vocal core.
  • INSIDE PITCH LINE - When your body is properly aligned, your voices moves from high to low, low to high pitches in one long, unbroken line of sound. Also called the, "Thread of the Voice."
  • PARTS OF THE VOCAL CORE - The most critical parts of the vocal mechanism: Head, eyes, sinuses, mouth, tongue, jaw, larynx, chest.
  • PITCH - The low and high perception of sound waves. Slow and lower sound waves create low pitches. Higher, faster sound waves are higher in pitch.
  • RESONANCE - Acoustic resonance is a phenomenon where acoustic systems amplify sound waves whose frequency matches one of its own natural frequencies of vibration (its resonance frequencies).
  • REVERBERATION - A reechoed sound. Sound waves bouncing or echoing in a resonant space.
  • SOUND - The vibration of air with in the range of 20 to 20,000 pulses per second causes the air to become audible as sound.
  • SUPPORT - There are two kinds of support for the voice: Breath Support and Structural Support. Both give strength to sound first produced in the Vocal Core
  • STRUCTURAL SUPPORT - Proper posture and stance create the structure "Support" for the voice.
  • SWELL - To increase the size of the breath or sound.
  • THREAD OF THE VOICE - When your body is properly aligned, your voices moves from high to low, low to high pitches in one long, unbroken line of sound. Also called the, "Inside Pitch Line."
  • VOCAL CORE - The upper third of the body, from the chest to the head, where the voice is first produced.
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