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Table of contents
  1. Glossary
    1. Sound Production Related
      1. Glottal Behaviour
      2. Vocal Weight
      3. Vocal Fold Vibratory Mass (VFVM)
      4. Volume
      5. Quotient
      6. Open Quotient
      7. Closed Quotient
    2. Pitch and Range Related
      1. Pitch
      2. Base Pitch
      3. Phonate
      4. Register
      5. Laryngeal Vibratory Mechanism
        1. M0 - Vocal Fry
        2. M1 - Modal voice
        3. M2 - Falsetto / Head Voice
        4. M3
      6. TA Muscles
    3. Resonance Related
      1. Resonance
      2. Vocal Size
      3. Brightness
      4. Larynx
      5. Embouchure
      6. Macrovowel
      7. Microvowel
      8. OPC, Oropharyngeal Closure
      9. Twang, AES constriction
      10. Formant, F1 F2 or R1 R2 etc
    4. Clarity Related
      1. FVF, False Vocal Folds and constriction
      2. Subharmonics
      3. Harmonic to Noise Ratio (HNR)
    5. Exercise and Training Related
      1. SOVTEs, VFEs
      2. Breath Support
    6. Cover Related
      1. Cover
      2. Tongue Root Retraction
      3. Hypernasality / Nasality
      4. Hyponasality
    7. Speech Pattern Related
      1. Intonation
      2. Tempo
      3. Emphasis
      4. Resonance Fluctuation
      5. Articulation
    8. Anatomy Related
      1. Vocal Tract
      2. Thyroarytenoid muscles
      3. Cricothyroid muscles
      4. Thyrohyoid muscles
      5. Stylohyoid muscles
      6. Vocal Ligament
      7. Vocalis muscle
      8. AES/Aryepiglottic Sphincter


Below is a list of voice related words and the concepts relating to them, links and definitions where available.

Glottal Behaviour

  • covers all behaviours to do with phonation / sound production
  • vocal weight, pitch, closure, FVF, subglottal pressure, onsets, and even some microbehaviours are all under this umbrella
  • a catch all term for how the voice is produced and how ‘cleanly’ it is produced
  • has a lot to do with clarity and tone purity or HNR

Vocal Weight

  • how ‘heavy’ the voice sounds
  • doesn’t take into account volume, pressed phonation, breathiness
  • Vocal Fold Vibratory Mass is likely the underlying cause of the sound

Vocal Fold Vibratory Mass (VFVM)

  • how much of the vocal folds are actually vibrating during phonation
  • when more vibratory mass is involved, we get more surface area creating sound waves, and likely this will increase closed quotient


  • the loudness of a voice
  • usually from airflow-closure more than vocal weight or pressed phonation


  • measurement of how long it takes for the vocal folds to open vs how long it takes for them to close
  • used in research because it’s objective and it’s a good but not perfect correlation to vocal fold vibratory mass / vocal weight
  • usually measured using EGG / electroglottography

Open Quotient

  • related to low vocal weight
  • how long in each glottal cycle (each flap of the folds) the folds are opening

Closed Quotient

  • related to high vocal weight
  • how long in each glottal cycle (each flap of the folds) the folds are closing


  • the fundamental (F0) frequency of the voice

Base Pitch

  • the pitch a voice naturally returns to after intonation
  • defined by vocal weight / fold mass due to the connection between fold mass and pitch
  • the common return to point or anchor or home position for a voice


  • verb: to produce a tone / pitch by making the vocal folds vibrate
  • requires both closure (adduction) and airflow


  • see below

Laryngeal Vibratory Mechanism

  • describes how and how much of the vocal folds vibrates

M0 - Vocal Fry

  • also known as
    • pulse
    • strohbass
    • fry
  • is at the bottom of your range
  • sounds like an idling motorcycle

M1 - Modal voice

  • your normal speaking register

M2 - Falsetto / Head Voice

  • high pitch, often hollow register
  • can be made less hollow with with slightly adding vocal weight


  • whistle register

TA Muscles

The following is assuming TA muscle is the thing responsible for what we see, but it could be something else in which case replace TA with whatever is actually doing the work. TA seems to be involved though and it’s unlikely to be anything else.

  • thyroarytenoid muscles, running the length of the vocal folds
  • more activation ~= more weight
  • can make M2 sound more full and be more stable and bright rather than the “too thin” or hollow quality M2 often has, when used with sufficient closure
  • can help with more general (not breath specifically) support to the voice to make it more robust
  • can blend m1 and M2 to avoid breaks and more reliably come back into m1 from a slide
  • a component of “shouting posture”


  • is a filter, which highlights frequencies in the voice
  • changes the timbre or non-pitch qualities of a voice
  • is dependent on the size and shape of the vocal tract
  • the size of a container is its external volume, space is the internal volume and resonance is how sound is affected by the volume and shape of that space

Vocal Size

  • do not try to change the size of your voice intuitively or without proper exercises / guidance unless you know not to constrict or use extraneous muscles!
  • a perceptual quality of voice, which describes the total effect of all resonance modifications


  1. the amount of high frequency harmonic information in the voice
    • a perceptual quality caused by the amount of high frequency harmonic information
    • a high resonance voice can sound dark due to muting effects like nasality and breathiness
    • clarity, vocal weight and twang are the main factors that allow resonance to highlight upper frequencies, allowing for brighter tone
  2. the frequency of formants, particularly F1, essentially resonance (outdated)


  • houses the vocal folds
  • can be raised to get a brighter sound
  • the ‘adam’s apple’ is outside of the thyroid cartilage, part of the larynx


  • loosely describes how resonance changes in the mouth
  • affected by macrovowel


  • the use of a vowel shape to color speech
  • keeping the mouth in the same position / posture as a certain vowel when speaking


  • to modify individual vowels to be darker or brighter without changing how the vowel is interpreted

OPC, Oropharyngeal Closure

  • raises resonance by decreasing the width of the back of the mouth
  • affects formants F1 and F2
  • associated with loli voice and some “anime” voices, hyperfem, “small” voices

Twang, AES constriction

  • at the cost of buzziness (not vocal weight), adds the impression of high resonance
  • increases the impression of brightness
  • seen in some country singers, some Australian accents
  • often induces hypernasality

Formant, F1 F2 or R1 R2 etc

  • these are resonance peaks in the voice, caused by the shape of your vocal tract
  • the ratio between F1 and F2 largely determines vowel
  • F1 is the first formant and is often altered through larynx height and OPC
  • F2 is the second formant and often altered through mouth space
  • F3 is from the difference in size between the mouth and the space between the teeth, mostly between the teeth and tongue
  • F4 is from the same but lips

FVF, False Vocal Folds and constriction

  • “white noise” quality in background is louder and may be present even when not breathy
  • increased subharmonics
  • sometimes a “rattle” like quality is heard, which is essentially really high frequency harmonics up around 10kHz
  • bad for vocal health in the long term


  • rough quality similar to creak/fry
  • extra harmonics appear; one in between each harmonic, essentially making it as if the pitch was halved
  • this is due to every 2nd cycle of the vocal folds being interrupted
  • it’s also possible for it to cancel out every 3rd cycle instead, leading to two extra harmonics instead of just one
  • theoretically there’s no limit to the fraction of cycles interrupted as long as it’s consistent
  • can be a sign of slight FVF constriction interfering
  • on subharmonics

Harmonic to Noise Ratio (HNR)

HNR is the description of essentially how noisy a voice is. We have harmonics - which are the horizontal lines in the image - and then there’s noise in between, either from constriction, breathiness or a combination. You can see in the image how there is a clean looking pattern on the left, and a noisy one on the right. This could be called the ‘clarity’ of the voice, though it refers specifically to noise and not things like nasality or knodel effects which might make a voice sound ‘out of place’.


Primary sources of low Harmonic to Noise ratio: ・abduction (breathiness) ・FVF constriction ・vocal fry and creak


  • Semi Occluded Vocal Tract Exercise and Vocal Function Exercises
  • helps give a baseline for airflow and glottal behaviour to an extent
  • helps warmup and warmdown the voice to help with vocal health and fatigue
  • can show if there are any voice related problems

Breath Support

  • low support voices are typically unstable and fluctuate in pitch uncontrollably, may flip between m1 and M2 unpredictably
  • high support voices are more robust
  • putting a fair bit of pressure into the /s/ sound can induce better support
  • M2 and quiet voices tend to be low in support without training


  • hides or restricts a certain aspect of voice, usually fullness or resonance

Tongue Root Retraction

  • has a goofy, dark sound
  • associated with Meatwad, Stitch
  • can sometimes happen unintentionally when doing OPC

Hypernasality / Nasality

  • too much passage of air through the nose when phonating
  • darkens the sound and works as an antiformant
  • makes F1 and F2 almost nonexistant
  • can make vocal weight less prominent at higher pitches
  • nasal sounds should be the only muffled sounds when the nose is pinched, so you can read ?non-nasal passages to test for it


  • too little passage of air through the nose when phonating


  • the changing of pitch to add color to speech
  • intonation range is how far we intonate / change pitch in speech
  • intonation frequency is how often we change pitch in speech


  • how much we change the speed of speech where some words are slowly spoken and some are rushed past
  • how fast in general the speech is


  • making a single sound or word stand out in speech
  • this usually relates to the use of volume for emphasis but can also be used in other ways
  • emphasis can be from volume, intonation, tempo

Resonance Fluctuation

  • how much the resonance changes through speech, or how much it is linked to pitch
  • some resonance fluctuation is normal
  • more resonance fluctuation is more dynamic and sometimes sounds out of place
  • no resonance fluctuation can sound unnatural


  • how and how much the mouth moves in order to form vowel sounds
  • under vs overarticulated can sound like the difference between “uh muh guhd” and “ouw maiy gaud”
  • this can be used to emphasize things, or for generally making the voice more expressive
  • since it deals with how the mouth moving, a subset of this is mouth space as a resonance and brightness modifier

Vocal Tract

  • the mouth, nose, larynx and pharynx; everything from the larynx up

Thyroarytenoid muscles

  • lowers pitch
  • adds weight (probably)
  • can be used to make M2 more full sounding
  • if deactivated, results in a hollow, M2-like, dark sound

Cricothyroid muscles

  • raises pitch

Thyrohyoid muscles

  • raises the larynx to the hyoid bone
  • usually activates when raising pitch, resulting in pitch/resonance conflation

Stylohyoid muscles

  • raise the hyoid bone (and therefore larynx) toward the base of the tongue
  • can be activated when consciously raising the larynx

Vocal Ligament

  • the vocal folds, without the muscles

Vocalis muscle

  • thyroarytenoid muscle
  • [needs disambiguation]

AES/Aryepiglottic Sphincter

  • associated with twang
  • when the epiglottis is moved to make the passage in the throat smaller and cause a high frequency filter
  • it being responsible for twang is contested, but generally high closure plus AES constriction does result in the twang sound quality