Singing has been around since man had the ability to talk, so, forever, it seems. To sing correctly, the singer must understand the singing anatomy and how the voice works.
If you’re singing correctly, it should feel as though you are talking. Tension or soreness when you sing is a vocal defect that can be treated.
If you stick around, I shall try to introduce you to singing CORRECTLY.
To know how to sing correctly, you must learn how the voice is produced. Without this, you will be like the mechanic guy who doesn’t know how the engine of a car works. Imagine!
HOW VOCAL PRODUCTION WORKS
Vocal production in talking and singing happens when exhaled air hits the vocal cords and cause them to vibrate. This vibration travels through the throat (Pharynx) and is amplified by the vocal amplifiers/resonators: chest, larynx itself, throat, mask (sinuses), hard and soft pallets.
Let’s break things down and take it slow.
What are the vocal chords? They are sometimes called the vocal fold, or vocal bands. They are important valves which controls the flow of air to and from the lungs. They are housed in the larynx or voice box (touch your throat, the Adams apple or that protruding bone is the voice box)
I made mention of vocal amplifiers/resonators, these are tissues that help you make your voice louder or bigger.
As a classically trained singer, I am trained to sing without microphone or artificial amplification and my voice must be heard by the last audience in the concert hall.
The first resonator is the chest or thoracic cavity. This is located between the neck and the diaphragm (as a singer, if you’ve never heard this word diaphragm, I’m sorry for you, genuinely.)
This area is not a true resonator being full of organs, but a good singer can leverage on the thoracic cavity for support and resonance.
Secondly, we have the pharynx, this is simply the throat.
There are three subdivisions here: the naso-pharynx just behind the nose; the oro-pharynx at the rear of the mouth; and lastly the laryngo-pharynx located at the bottom of the throat, right above the voice box.
Next we have the sinus also known as mask. When you hear a voice coach say sing into the mask, they mean you should free up and connect your sound through your sinus so that there is a fuller and richer resonation and vocal amplification.
During exhalation, when air hits the vocal folds, it causes it to vibrate, this vibration creates sound for singing and speech.
The size of your vocal folds determines the range of your voice or fach. Bass singers have short and thick folds, sopranos have thin and long vocal folds. The longer your chords, the higher your pitch.
(This is the knowledge you need to increase singing range. A voice coach will give you some vocal exercises or directions to manipulate and make your chords longer/stretch. Then singing high becomes easy and less hurtful. This is a topic for another day.)
The last thing to talk about in vocal production is the articulators. These articulators help you sing words or aid pronunciation. Articulators include: the lips, teeth, tongue, hard and soft pallets, upper gum, and sometimes nasal cavity (especially for native dialect like yorùbá).Articulators transform phonation to enunciation.
Lastly, I must add that breath is GOLD in vocal production. Just as fuel/gas is important to car; water important to plants; food important to your growth; so is the breath important in singing.
The good news is we all have breath, thanks to God. So, we all can sing well, if we learn the rules!
First you must learn proper breathing technique, and then learn breath control and breathing manipulation techniques.
Thus, my friends, we’ve learned the anatomy of singing and vocal production.
I am Music Estate’s Music Director