How would you describe the sound

Singing voice

How the voice is created - the vocal apparatus

The voice is an instrument from which an incredible number of tones and sounds can be extracted. With her we can seduce or deter, scream or whisper, cheer or cry - and we can sing with her. At the same time, the voice is an expression and reflection of our soul.

The voice is not a human organ, it does not exist physically. It only sounds when we generate tones. Different muscles and parts of the human body have to work together to generate the tones. Breathing - more precisely, exhaling - is the origin of every sound.

If a sound is to be produced, air must first be inhaled and then forced out through the larynx. The vocal folds sit on the larynx. When the inhaled air is pressed out of the lungs again, it encounters resistance - on the vocal folds. The air now pushes the elastic vocal folds apart.

The speed at which the air stream flows through the narrow windpipe creates a negative pressure on the open vocal folds, which ensures that they are pressed together again by the suction. This interplay of opening and closing the vocal folds creates the (primary) sound, which is also called the larynx sound.

Loudspeakers of the voice - the resonance chambers

The sound on the vocal folds is more like a noise. In order for it to be audible to the human ear, i.e. to gain volume, it must be amplified in our body. This function is fulfilled by the resonance chambers of our head.

The resonance spaces are the oral and nasal cavities and the pharynx. They do the job of speakers. If we scream, speak or sing very loudly, our whole body is used as a resonance space. But the resonance spaces not only amplify the tones, they also give them their individual sound.

From the sound of the voice

The timbre - the unmistakable timbre - of a human voice is also formed by the anatomy of the resonance spaces, including the nature of the pharynx, the oral and nasal cavities. The position of the teeth, the size of the tongue and the shape of the lips also play a role in the tone color.

The individual timbre can be represented, for example, on a piece of music performed by two different singers. Even if the two are singing the same notes, the sound is individual.

High voices, low voices

Voices don't just have an individual sound. They are different high or low. This is decided by the anatomy of the larynx and the vocal folds. Basically, the shorter the vocal folds and the narrower, the higher the voice and vice versa.

For example, the vocal folds of a newborn are only about six millimeters long. In an adult woman with a soprano voice, the vocal folds are around 15 millimeters long. A grown man with a very deep bass voice can measure around 25 millimeters.

The soul in the voice

Even if everyone has a distinctive timbre, their voice is not the same every day. We use it to tell whether people are sad, depressed, angry, offended or euphoric. Depending on our state of mind, we use the functions of our vocal apparatus very differently.

If we are depressed, our voices are slow, weak - without great vigor. Our body lacks tension - including the vocal folds. The vocal folds close more slowly and with little tension, so that our voice sounds deeper and breathy and therefore more indistinct and less present.

Quite different when we are in a good mood and full of energy. The body is tense, we breathe deeply in and out so that there is a lot of pressure on the shortening vocal folds: the voice sounds higher, the tones are clear, clear and louder. So when the vocal folds vibrate violently, they produce a high pitched sound. If they vibrate more slowly, the tone is deeper.

The voice - the first human musical instrument

What applies to speaking also applies to singing. Anyone who sings also needs lungs, larynx, vocal folds and resonance spaces. When singing, the notes are held longer and the vowels are stretched more. Breathing and breathing technique play a particularly important role here.

The right breathing technique allows the breathing pressure to be controlled and creates the space in the body in which the voice can develop volume and sound. If you inhale into the chest, only the upper area of ​​the lungs fills and inflates the chest with it. The lower part of the lungs seems to be constricted and remains unused. If you try to produce such a tone, it sounds tense and pressed.

The secret of the correct breathing technique of a singer lies in the stomach - more precisely in the diaphragm. If you breathe into the abdomen, the abdominal muscles pull the diaphragm downwards.

The diaphragm - as the link between the lungs and the abdomen - in turn pulls the lungs downwards. In this way, the incoming air can be distributed evenly in the lungs, the chest remains relaxed.

This breathing technique is the first step in properly supporting your voice. In the trained singer, breathing into the stomach strengthens the back muscles up to the shoulders and neck. This posture also affects the larynx and thus the vocal folds. So the voice becomes controllable.

If the singer has mastered this breathing technique, his body becomes a large sound space, like the body of an instrument. There is a complete conversion of the voice energy of the breath into sound energy.

This balance between breath pressure and vocal fold tension leads to a sustained tone. This phenomenon can be demonstrated well with an experiment: If you hold a candle to your mouth while singing, it should not flicker. With optimal sound production, the entire flow energy of the breath is converted into sound.