The human voice in speech and singing  

Lindblom, B. & Sundberg, J.*

*Department of Speech, Music and Hearing, KTH, Stockholm

In Handbook of Acoustics (in press). Edited by T. Rossing. New York: Springer Verlag.


The production of vocal sounds, spoken or sung, puts three main anatomical systems into play: The respiratory, the laryngeal and the supra-laryngeal (articulatory) structures. The role of the respiratory component is to direct a steady outward stream of air through the glottis and through the vocal tract (the supra-glottal cavities). At the glottis this flow of air makes the vocal cords vibrate in an open-close motion. It is thereby transformed into a series of glottal pulses. In the VT, the glottally modified breath stream undergoes further modulation by the resonance characteristics of the oral, pharyngeal and nasal cavities. This conceptualization is that of the source-filter theory of speech production (Fant 1960, Stevens 1998). The goal of this chapter is to put speech and singing side by side within that framework and to describe how the speaker and singers use the underlying physiological mechanisms of respiration, phonation and articulation to shape the final product: the acoustic wave to be perceived by the listener.

PERILUS | All issues | 2005 issue | Previous | Next | Phonetics at Stockholm University