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The mechanism of laryngeal pitch

, : The mechanism of laryngeal pitch. Anat Rec 63(1): 13-28

The vocal ligament has an elasticity which approaches that of a rubber band; so it does not obey the tension equation for structures like vibrating metal strings. Therefore, no theory of linear tension for producing modulations in pitch, as heretofore expressed in the literature, is tenable. Analysis of the structures mediating pitch shows that the edges of the vocal lip are capable of being separated into tensed and non-tensed segments of a definite length. The non-tensed segments are freely vibratile by means of the pneumatic pressure from the lungs. The length of the non-tensed segment can be instantly regulated by a relatively short neurone chain from the hearing apparatus, which acts as a check upon the pitch. Thus, almost infinite modulation is instantly possible. The aryvocalis muscle fibers, investigated by Jacobson, are inserted at such an angle that they can make tense any part or parts of the edge of the vocal lip. By specific innervation of these fibers the length of the vibrating segment, and hence the pitch, is controlled. The vibrating segment (the glottal valve) operates passively by the air blast from the lungs, and by its own elastic recoil.


DOI: 10.1002/ar.1090630104

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