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Singing Lesson #3 Your Vocal Cords Will Do The Work If You Let Them

Updated: Jun 17, 2023

This singing lesson shows why it's so important not to force the voice while singing. Any tension in or around the throat will make singing more difficult. The vocal folds are designed to do whatever sound you want to make easily when you either imagine the correct sound or allow the throat to remain relaxed.

How? The vocal folds have five different muscles used to change the pitch of the voice. That's right, five. Think about it. Most people think that the vocal folds just stretch to change the note, like a rubber band or tuning a guitar string.

There are five muscles that are involved in this very intricate process, the thyroarytenoid muscle, the cricothyroid muscle, the posterior cricoarytenoid muscle, the lateral cricoarytenoid muscle, and the interarytenoid muscle.

I know, I can see you folks yawning already. Don't worry, I'm not going to go into an explanation of what each muscle does to change the pitch. I just needed you folks to know that there are five different ways, not only one.

I do, however have to teach you some linear algebra to go along with these five muscular movements.

P(n, r) = n!/(n−r)!

LOL! More yawning. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to explain this formula as simply as I can. This is so you can understand the importance of the infinite number of combinations that are possible from five muscle movements.

Listen closely, I'll just go through it once. :)

Open your hand. If you slowly brought your thumb down to the middle of your palm how many photos could you take of the different positions? Let's make it simple and say 10. Now do the same with your pointing finger. Again you could take 10 photos. What are the different photos you could take of BOTH in different positions? 10? 20? No, 100. It would be 10 x 10. 100 different combinations of movements with just two fingers. Now add the middle finger. Another 10 positions. And with the other two, how many different pictures? You probably caught on by now. 100 x 10 = 1,000 different pictures. With the fourth finger, 1,000 x10 = 10,000. And with the fifth finger, 10,000 x 10 = 100,000 different pictures! And remember we simplified it by saying each finger had only 10 different movements. A high definition camera and a disciplined finger could probably do a hundred different movements. Get the picture? Just for those who were wondering, 100 x 100 x 100 x 100 x 100 = 10,000,000,000 or 10 BILLION different pictures! And THAT's the possible permutations the vocal folds have to choose from for EVERY NOTE!

Whew! High five, you made it this far!

Okay, so why is this so important to know as a singer? It's what every singer is working for, for every note of the song. We want to deliver a note that's as perfect as possible, in accuracy, beauty, resonance, power and emotion.

Yes, the vocal folds are capable of using AI (artificial intelligence) level of choosing among the infinite number of combinations possible from just those five vocal muscles.

That's why this is the second most important scientific fact about how the vocal folds works that every singer should know. Two other blogs explain the problems that occur that prevent the vocal folds from having full access to all the permutation. Please study these blogs. We're going to have to put it all together for you to sing in the most efficient way possible. That's what I call an "ecosystem". Please watch youtube short:

Thanks for your time. If you've learned anything, please "heart" the blog and become a member. Or go ahead and try a lesson.

Thanks for your time and have a greaaaat day!

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