Perhaps, one might be right to say the human voice is the single most important sound producer in the world. It is the oldest and most versatile musical instrument, and it is readily accessible by every human being.
Although the voice is available to everybody, not all can use it professionally. The first thing to grasp in your pursuit of a better singing voice should be a fair knowledge of how your voice works, and then you can proceed to developing it.
- How the Voice Works
When you want to speak or sing, you breathe out, and the breath travels upwards to your larynx, located in the throat (in the area behind the ‘Adam’s apple’). The larynx is located at the top of the windpipe. The larynx is bigger in males than it is in females, which attributes to the deeper voice in males. You can feel your larynx vibrating by placing your hand on your throat and humming.
When you’re not speaking the air passes through without any obstruction. But when you speak, the vocal cords are brought close together by tiny muscles in the larynx.
When the air hits these vocal folds it makes them vibrate. At this stage, the ‘voice’ is just a buzz, which is then amplified by the resonating cavities in your mouth and upper throat. This sound is further enhanced by vibration in the bones of your skull and other parts of the body (this is why, if you are ill with a head cold or a sore throat, your voice often sounds different than usual).
The sound is shaped into words by your ‘articulators’ – things like the tongue, lips and soft palate, the shape, size and motion of which create your own unique voice. A person can control the pitch of their voice, by making the vocal cords stretch at different lengths.
A person does not consciously think about stretching his vocal cords when he speaks. Throughout a person’s life, the sound of his voice may change. The voice of a child will deepen as he grows older, due to their larynx increasing in size. Changes in facial shape, also changes the sound of one’s voice. Losing or gaining teeth can change the sound of a persons’ voice.
Sing for 5 minutes, record it and analyse how you think your voice is different from every other voice you’ve heard.
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