1. Describe the action, name, insertion and attachment of the primary muscles of inspiration for singing.
Primary Muscles of Inspiration= Diaphragm and External Intercostals
Diaphragm is attached in front to sternum, at sides to costal cartilage and ribs and in back to lumbar vertebrae and to the central tendon
displaces the viscera and increases the space in the thoracic cavity causing negative pressure which, in turn, forces air into the lungs
External intercostals inserts into the bottom rib and attaches to the rib above. They pull the lower rib up towards the upper rib and it expands the space in the thoracic cavity, creating negative pressure and forcing air into the lungs
2. What are the ADductor muscles as related to the vocal folds and how do they function?
ADductor muscles pull the vocal folds together for phonation by rotating the arytenoids. The ADductor muscles are the lateral cricoaryteoids, the interarytenoids (oblique & and transverse)
3. What does lengthening the vocal folds produce in terms of sound quality and pitch? Explain the muscles involved in that lengthening process.
Lengthened vocal folds create higher pitches and thinner sound. The Cricothyroid muscles tip the thyroid cartilage towards the cricoid cartilage and lengthen the vocal folds.
4. Discuss the role of agonist and antagonist muscles of the body and give an example of muscles that function in this way. Be sure to include the idea of stretch weakness.
An agonist muscle and an antagonist muscle work together with opposite functions. One example is the internal intercostals (antagonists) to the external intercostals (agonists): the EIs pull the bottom rib towards the top rib expanding the space in the thoracic cavity, and the IIs pull the top rib down towards the bottom rib decreasing the space in the thoracic cavity.
Agonist vs. Antagonist muscles
Agonist: muscle whose role is to produce the motion (flexer)
Antagonist: muscle whose role is to produce the opposition to the motion of the antagonist (extender)
Tension vs. Weakness
The farther a muscle is stretched, it becomes more difficult for that muscle to connect; also, the closer together it gets, the more difficult because it is too close to connect the pieces and pull together– there is an optimal position
The reason that when we stand up-right is the best for us is because the muscles are at an optimal position because poor posture causes weakness in your muscles.

The process by which the antagonist muscle group is automatically relaxed upon activation of the agonist muscle group is called reciprocal inhibition. Shortening of an agonist muscle forces the antagonist muscle into a lengthened position, which over time, leads to ‘‘stretch weakness’’

5. Discuss various teaching strategies for resonance and include an example of each style of teaching. Be sure to mention at least 4 different approaches.
ask them to physically do something
Raise the soft palate (involuntary, but you can learn to make it a voluntary muscle)
Relax the jaw
Round the lips
with the language (altering vowel/consonants)
Put more [u] in your [a]
Sing [m] and feel the buzz
Tone quality
Brighten the tone
Warm the sound
Listen to the buzz of “hmm”
Acquaint the student with the feeling/sensation of teaching
Associating body movement with vocal feelings (large motor vs small motor)
Feel vibration on your lips
feel a sense of openness
We use phrases:
“brighten the vowel”
“lift the soft palate”
“focus the sound”
“inner smile”
“in the mask”
Other strategies
Imitate a sound
may not always be a good thing because your voice quality is substantially different than theirs
“sing from the heart” etc..
Use of spectrogram in the lesson
6. Talk about the skeletal system. Include the bones of the spine, pelvis and thorax. Without stepping on any other questions, you are encouraged to include information on how the skeletal system impacts posture for singers.
The spine is made up of 5 sections of vertibrae forming an S curve and encasing the spinal cord. The vertebrae in the neck are the cervical, then below that is the thoracic vertebrae (the part of the spine that connects with the thorax), thent he lumbar spine which are larger vertebrae that support posture, the sacrum which is the tailbone area, and the coccyx at the bottom. The curves in the spine at an optimal position form an S shape and support the weight of the head evenly without creating tension in any muscles in good posture. The thorax is made up of rib bones and cartilage and connect in the back to the spine and come around front to the sternum. These provide a cage like structure for the lungs and heart that is able to expand and contract due to the cartilage and muscles that connect to it. The base of the spine connects to the pelvis which serves as the floor of the torso and connects with many of the abdominal muscles that support posture. For singers, good posture allows freedom of muscles, greater and more controlled breathing, and ultimately freedom of tone because many of the muscles that contribute to posture also affect laryngeal position.
7. Two factors in vocal fold vibration are the Bernoulli Effect and vocal fold elasticity (restorative muscle tension). Describe the contribution of each.
When there’s a flow of fluid, there’s a reduction of pressure at the surface of the flow perpendicular to the direction of the flow
Restorative muscle tension that pushes the folds together and brings them back
When the vocal folds are adducted during phonation, the airstream is momentarily stopped by the vocal folds. At this point subglottic pressure begins to build up below the vocal folds. When the pressure is high enough, the soft tissues of the vocal folds are forced to separate and the airstream is allowed to flow through the vocal folds. Like the paper duct above, the airstream through the vocal folds then accelerates causing a drop in pressure. This drop in pressure then sucks the vocal folds back together. Subglottic pressure then builds up again and the process continues. This cycle of vocal folds motion create the air compressions and rarefactions that cause sound.
8. Discuss 3 of the Extrinsic laryngeal elevator muscles and explain where they are inserted, attached and their effect upon the larynx. If someone has already answered this question, choose from the remaining 4 that were not discussed.

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attaches to thyroid and hyoid in this case, the muscle brings the thyroid to the hyoid (not the opposite which is typical)



Paired muscles Serves to raise larynx and lower the jaw Anterior attaches from the jaw near center point of the chin and to the hyoid Posterior lifts hyoid and larynx during swallowing and elevation of the hyoid occurs helps to open the mouth by working to depress the jaw bone



originates at the styloid process and inserts into the hyoid bone very slender and is on top of the digastric true swallowing muscle- assists in chewing



Right next to (immediately above belly of) digastric Paired muscle flat and triangular muscular floor for cavity of the mouth contraction produces an action that combines jaw depression with laryngeal elevation



Attaches to chin and hyoid bone depresses the jaw, raises larynx The next two are also laryngeal elevators, but more articulatory:



thin and quadralateral muscle arises from side of the body and the whole length of the greater hyoid to (almost vertically upward) to the side of the tongue represses and retracts the tongue (down and back) laryngeal elevator



May have secondary action to assist in elongation of vocal folds tongue-sticker-outer muscle Pulls larynx out of position

9. Discuss the primary muscles for expiration. Be sure to include their insertions, attachments and function as related to breathing for singing.

Internal Intercostals

Natural Antagonists to External Intercostals Upon contraction, the higher rib is pulled down and inward toward the lower, depressing the ribcage, decreasing the circumference Found underneath the external Run obliquely away from the midline, criss-crossing the neighbors Voluntary muscles Contraction is delayed as long as possible


Rectus Abdominis

Four sets of anterior (towards the front) abdominal muscles Play a very small role in respiration Flexor of the lumbar spine Long muscles Longitudinal fibers 4 bellies Origin: tendons of pelvic bone Insertion: 5th -7th rib and base of sternum cartilage portions Contraction: ribcage is pulled towards pelvis which arches the back forward sit-ups, crunches, leg lifts strengthen the Rectus Abdominis Lowers sternum, lessening distance between backbone and sternum; cross-sectional area is lessened


External Oblique Abdominals

Strongest of the three Directly below Rectus Abdominis Superficial Lateral muscle: fibers run downward and medially Origin: Exterior thorax attaching to ribs 5-12 Insert into iliac crest of pelvis (where you can feel your hips) Cover largest surface area of all ab muscles


Internal Oblique Abdominals

Function: Compresses the abdominal contents. Contraction of both internal oblique muscles flexes the vertebral column Fibers run perpendicular to external Original at Iliac crest Insert into Thorax at ribs 9-12


Transverse Abdominals

Also have attachments to Iliac crest Located in interior of thorax where they attach to ribs 6-12 Also interlaces with diaphragm (functional unity of body) Thinnest layer, get least amount of work Lowest, deepest layer


Quadratus Lumborum

Posterior Located in back abdomen Originates at crest of Iliac Inserts in lowermost rib and transverse processes of lumbar vertebrae Stabilizes base of thorax against the downward pull of the diaphragm (antagonistic) For singers: act as a girdle around the lower back, directing the viscera upward towards the diaphragm during contraction of the anterior abdominal muscles Stabilizes lower back for posture

10. Discuss the secondary muscles for inspiration. Be sure to include their insertions, attachments and function as related to breathing for singing.


Lays in the anterior and lateral (side) neck Fairly significant role in inspiration Originate at your sternum & clavicle Insertion into mastoid process of skull (behind & below the ear) On contraction the upper thorax is drawn upward (opposite than normal- origin is being pulled towards insertion) Slight elevation of shoulders Thoracic elevation is a secondary function; primary is the ability to turn your head from side to side

Scalenes (Scaleni)

Lie in a position deeper than the SCMs Function: Stabilize and rotate head; contraction can assist in locally helping to raise the thorax Active in singers who rely on high thoracic elevation during breathing Origin:Transverse Processes of Cervical Vertebrae Insertion:Upper ribs

Pectoralis Major

Large fan shaped muscles Covers significant portion of upper anterior & lateral ribcage (pushups) Primary function: Assists arms & shoulder to move Secondary: Inspiration Originates: from breadth of the half of the anterior surface of the sternum, as low down as the attachment of the cartilage of the sixth or seventh rib;


Pectoralis Minor

Fan shaped Underneath Pectoralis Major Origin: ribs 2-4 Inserts: into Scapula Functions: An extender when reaching for something Expands upper chest by lifting Serratus Anterior Primarily used to manipulate shoulder blade (Saw-toothed) Originate: side of thorax from ribs 1-9 Insert into scapula (shoulder blade) McCoy: Significant secondary muscles for thoracic and appoggial breathing



Origin: Spinal processes C2-T12

Insertion: Clavicle & Scapula

Function: Assists in respiration by stabilizing thorax and neck elongation


Levator Scapulae

Origin: C1-4

Insertion: Scapula

Function: Primary rotator of shoulder thus lifting the thorax

11. What is a formant? Is there another word that is nearly synonymous? What vocal quality is determined by F1 & F2? What contribution do F3, F4, and F5 make, especially in lower pitched voices? What do high voices tend to do instead in their upper range?
Fixed pitch areas of resonance
will pick up whatever harmonic is near it and reinforce it
Affect amplitude of overtones
Dependent on frequency, NOT the number of the harmonic
Like the tone controls on a stereo or equalizer
Falling out of favor: New research is using R1 & R2 instead of F1 and F2 (formant 1, formant 2)
There are about 5 formants; the lowest 2 or 3 determine what vowel is heard
Singer’s formant
formant cavities in front and behind tongue hump- SPP1 Demo
IPA Formant Frequencies
Formants, generally, are how we hear the timbre of the voice
12. Discuss the ABduction of the vocal folds and the muscles involved in the process and how they function.
To ABduct is to pull apart and the single muscle used for this is the posterior cricoarytenoids which are attached to the arytenoids and pull the vocal folds apart as the natural antagonist to the lateral cricoarytenoids and the other ADductors. These muscles insert to the arytenoids and originate at the cricoid cartilage.
13. Discuss the constrictor muscles of the larynx. Explain where they are located and how they function in relation to singing and other functions.
Superior pharyngeal constrictor
wraps around top of vocal tract around the nasal/oral pharynx and attaches to jaw & skull; when constricted will narrow your pharynx
Middle pharyngeal constrictor
attaches to hyoid bone and stylohyoid ligament; narrows pharynx when constricted
Inferior pharyngeal constrictor
narrows pharynx and raises larynx; attached to thyroid cartilage and cricoid cartilage
direct elevator and elevates the larynx
basically, doing nothing with these muscles (relaxing) is the “open throat” (McCoy)
14. Discuss the vocal fold structure and layers. Be sure to talk about the vocal ligament.
There are 3 layers of the vocal folds: the cover, transitional, and body. The cover is the top and most fluid layer which contains the epithelium. The transitional layer has three sections called the lamina propria: each of which is progressively more set. The superficial layer and the deep layer make up the vocal ligament which determines how far the vocal folds can be stretched. Finally the body of the vocal folds is made up by the thyroarytenoid muscle.
15. Discuss the structural precipitators of vocal pathology presented by Dr. Chang and give an example of each.
Trauma: baseball bat to the throat
Inflammation: illness (strep, infection)
Neurologic: spasmodic dysphonia
Tumor: cancer
Congenital: misshapen at birth or misconnected
endocrine: hypothyroidism can lower voice
16. Discuss the cartilages of the larynx and how they are connected. Be sure to include discussion of the synovial joints.
The largest cartilage of the larynx is the thyroid cartilage. It is shaped like a shield and connects at the top via a membrane to the hyoid bone and the bottom via a membrane to the cricoid cartilage. This cartilage is shaped like a signet ring, with the wide part towards the posterior part of the throat. On top of the cricoid cartilage sits the arytenoid cartilages. This paired cartilage is connected by synovial joints that allow them to rotate and move around freely so that the vocal folds, which are attached to the arytenoids, can freely move. Below the cricoid cartilage is the trachea which brings air from the lungs.
18. Discuss the Extrinsic Laryngeal depressor muscles and explain where they are inserted, attached and their effect upon the larynx.
connects on inside surface on sternum to the lower edge of the thyroid cartilage
contraction of that muscle will lower the larynx (tracheal pull)
sternum to the hyoid (paired)
contracts, anchors, and depresses larynx
depress larynx
anterior portions (edges) of scapula to hyoid bone (Omo=shoulder)
runs underneath the sternocleidomastoid and back to the shoulder (very long)
Superior Belly & Inferior Belly
19. Discuss the glottal relaxor muscles and how they effect the vocal folds in terms of pitch and quality of sound.
The glottal relaxor muscles are the thyroarytenoids. These muscles thicken and shorten the vocal folds, relaxing them and creating a lower pitch and heavier sound.
20. Discuss the functional precipitators of vocal pathology presented by Dr. Chang and give an example of each.
Mucosal (nodule, polyp, cyst, etc); Muscular (bowing, deconditioning, etc); Non-Organic (habituated dysphonia, mimicked asthma, etc)
21. Discuss why proper posture is important based upon the lecture by Dr. Telemeco. Be sure to use the article provided on Blackboard (Arboleda) as a resource for this answer as well as your class notes and to discuss specific postural issues that are critical to the singer.
Proper posture is important to the singer to allow optimal respiration and relaxed muscles in the neck and back, especially. Ideal posture is one which a plumb line runs down the center of the body from the head just in front of the ears,down through the feet. The spine should be in a slight S curve with the plumb line running through it. When the body posture is out of alignment, the muscles in the neck around the cervical spine are lengthened and muscles at the front of the neck are shortened. Shortening of an agonist muscle forces the antagonist muscle into a lengthened position, which over time, leads to “stretch weakness.” Muscle tension is thought to be the cause of some voice pathology, and also decreases the space in the vocal tract, thinning the sound.
22. Discuss the primary role of the ventricular vocal folds and also any other role they may have related to singing/phonation. Also discuss where they can be found.
The primary role of the ventricular folds is to prevent food from entering the laryngeal cavity. They are located directly above the true folds. They are used for phonation in some monk singing as well as potentially used in certain types of rock singing.
23. Discuss all the parts of the vocal tract that are involved in changing the size and shape of the resonating tract. Be sure to include the articulators and discuss how the hardness or softness of the different elements effects the timbre of the sound.
The parts of the vocal tract responsible for changing size and shape for resonance are the space of the mouth above the vocal folds as well as the nasal cavity above the mouth. The soft palate can lift or drop to utilize the nasal cavity or not. The shape of the tongue can become fuller or more flat, harder or softer, and can change spots in the mouth to form different types of sounds and vowels. The lips also can change shape and roundness as well as can extend to lengthen the vocal tract. The harder the walls of the vocal tract, the brighter and brassier the sound; the softer, and rounder the more warm and full the sound.