Glossary

An informal glossary of voice-related words

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A

  • Abduction – Movement of one or more body parts away from one another or a central point
  • Adduction – Movement of one or more body parts toward one another or a central point
  • Amplitude – The maximum extent of a vibration, oscillation, or wave from the point of equilibrium. More amplitude will produce a louder sound
  • Aperiodic – Occurring at irregular intervals

B

  • Body – The deeper, muscular layer of the vocal folds

C

  • Cartilaginous Adduction – Adduction of the posterior portion of the vocal folds at the arytenoid cartilages. Colloquially known as ‘vocal fold closure’
  • Closure – See: Cartilaginous Adduction
  • Cover – The surface, membranous layer of the vocal folds

D

  • D

E

  • Expiration – The act of releasing air from the lungs

F

  • Filter – See: Vocal Tract
  • Frequency – How often something occurs or repeats in a period of time. Usually measured in hertz (Hz). (e.g. on the pitch A4, your vocal folds vibrate at a frequency of 440Hz)
  • Formant (Voice) – A concentration of acoustic energy around a particular frequency value in a sound. Formants are frequently referred to as F1, F2, F3, and so on, starting from the formant with the lowest frequency value

G

  • Glottis – The vocal folds and the space between them

H

  • Hertz (Hz) – Unit representing the number of cycles per second.
  • Harmonic (Voice) – A wave produced by the periodic vibration of the vocal folds Harmonics are frequently referred to as H1, H2, H2, and so on, starting from the harmonic with the lowest frequency value
  • Harmonic Series – The set of all harmonics present in a sound

I

  • Inspiration – The act of drawing air into the lungs
  • Interharmonic Noise – Sound energy present between the frequency values of harmonics

J

  • J

K

  • K

L

  • Laryngeal Vibratory Mechanism – See: M(0-3). The pattern in which the vocal folds are vibrating
  • Larynx – The cartilaginous organ housing the vocal folds. The ‘voice box’

M

  • Membranous Medialization – Adduction of the membranous portion of the vocal folds accomplished via bulging the body of the vocal folds. Colloquially known as ‘vocal fold thickness’
  • M0 (Mode 0) – The vocal fold vibratory pattern involved in vocal fry
  • M1 (Mode 1) – The vocal fold vibratory pattern involved in modal voice
  • M2 (Mode 2) – The vocal fold vibratory pattern involved in falsetto voice
  • M3 (Mode 3) – The vocal fold vibratory pattern involved in whistle voice

N

  • Nasal Cavity – The space behind the nose through which air travels

O

  • Oral Cavity – The space of the mouth through which air travels

P

  • Periodic – Occurring at regular intervals
  • Pharynx – The throat. The pharynx is divided into the laryngopharynx/hypopharynx, oropharynx, and nasopharynx
  • Pitch – The perception of how high or low a sound is, determined primarily by the frequency value of a sound’s lowest harmonic 
  • Power – See: Subglottal Pressure

Q

  • Q

R

  • Resonance (Voice)  – The tendency of the vocal tract to preserve sound energy near the vocal tract’s resonant frequencies and dampen it at other frequencies. Resonant frequencies (or simply resonances) are frequently referred to as R1, R2, R3, and so on, starting from the lowest resonant frequency

S

  • Soft Palate – The soft tissue starting at the back of the roof of the mouth which separates the nasopharynx and oropharynx, capable of sealing the nasal cavity off from the rest of the vocal tract
  • Source – Sound produced at the glottis
  • Subglottal Pressure – The pressure of the breath beneath the glottis
  • Support (Voice) – The relationship between the position and shape of the glottis and the volume of airflow
  • Spectral Tilt (Voice) – The distribution of energy from lower harmonics to higher harmonics in a sound
  • Spectrogram – A visual representation of the spectrum of frequencies in a sound over time

T

  • Thickness – See: Membranous Medialization
  • Timbre – The perceived qualities of a sound apart from its overall loudness and pitch. Can be thought of as the unique color or character of a sound

U

  • Unvoiced Sounds – Sounds produced while the vocal folds are not vibrating, such as a whisper

V

  • Velum – See: Soft Palate
  • Vocal Tract – The space connecting the glottis, lips, and nostrils through which air travels. The vocal tract consists of the larynx, pharynx, oral cavity, and nasal cavity
  • Voiced Sounds – Sounds produced during the vibration of the vocal folds, featuring a series of harmonics

W

  • W

X

  • X

Y

  • Y

Z

  • Z

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