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How The Human Voice Works

By Edited Oct 13, 2015 1 5
Singing Voice
Credit: www.jamminsenzation.com

The Physiology of The Human Voice

The Human Voice

Words are how humans communicate. This communication could not be possible without sounds; these sounds are known as a voice. The human voice is composed of air being pushed through a, complex, anatomical structure. The voice can be divided into three main parts; the lungs, the larynx (aka voice box), and the articulator's, like the tongue.


Human Voice

The Steps to Creating A Voice

  1. When you want to speak, air from the lungs is pushed through the windpipe.

  2. The air travels upwards to the voice box, in the throat. (in the area behind the Adam’s apple)

  3. The vocal cords, vocal folds, are brought close together by tiny muscles in the voice box.

  4. When air hits these vocal folds it makes them vibrate.

  5. This vibration is then amplified by the cavities in the mouth and the upper throat.

  6. The sound is enhanced by vibration in the bones of your skull and other parts of the body.

  7. The sound is shaped into words by the shapes, size, and motions of your mouth, tongue, and lips.

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If you are not speaking then air is moving from your lungs passed the voice box without any obstruction or vibrations. Also, if you are sick or have a sore throat this will affect the sound of your voice because the vibrations are being dulled by the collection of mucus in your sinuses.

Hearing Voices

It is completely fascinating how the sound waves work. To think that life has evolved to the point of being able to take long and short waves of code and turn them into chemical signals in the brain is absolutely amazing. Then to be able to take those chemicals and translate them into feelings like aggression, anger, love, or sadness is very cool to think about as well. Not to say we would have been able to communicate otherwise, but that life without sound, whether that be from a human or an instrument would almost not be worth living. Thanks to the workings of mother nature and evolution we are able to indulge in the listening of music, poetry, comedy, and even the loose tongues of politicians.

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May 29, 2014 6:39pm
Prometheus, you did a great job of explaining the way the human voice works. The step-by-step description of creating a voice was outstanding! I have never heard anyone break down the human voice in such a detailed manner. Great job!
May 29, 2014 8:08pm
Hey thanks, I appreciate the comments. Thanks for the read.
May 31, 2014 8:38pm
Good read. Are vocal cords and vocal folds one and the same?
May 31, 2014 8:45pm
They are! Great comment. The term folds were used from the research I did, so I decided to use the correct terminology. Thanks for the read.
Jun 1, 2014 8:34am
I would just like to point out that the air is being "pushed" from the lungs by the abdominal muscles (not, as is commonly believed, by the diaphragm, as the diaphragm is a smooth (involuntary) muscle, and therefore not under conscious control), much like the bellows of an accordion. I even have an accordion at my studio to demonstrate vocal workings.

Most vocal problems stem from the vocal folds not meeting properly, or the mismanagement of the abdominal muscles and articulators, and this is what good voice lessons are designed to correct.
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