How to Sing Clearly: Vocal Resonance and Vocal Cord Closure

How to Sing Clearly: Vocal Resonance and Vocal Cord Closure

Does your voice sound muddy or muffled when you sing? If so, then you are likely not utilizing your resonance and cord closure properly.

This article will cover:

  • How vocal resonance and vocal cord closure affect the clarity of your voice
  • Exercises to train both vocal resonance and vocal closure

Vocal Cord Closure

Vocal cord closure is the foundation for most of the technical work you will do with your voice. When we make sound, the vocal cords come together, meeting at the center of the throat. This action is called adduction. For the purpose of vocalizing, the cords adduct to resist the air coming up from our lungs. (We never want to push air out from our lungs.) When this happens efficiently, we get a clear, crisp, pure sound.

If your vocal cords are not resisting the airflow efficiently, then the cords will end up leaking excessive air. When this occurs, the resultant sound is airy and dull, lacking in vibrancy. As a consequence, the voice cannot project well. Excessive air passing through the cords dries them out and irritates them. If this continues for extended periods of time, it will lead to vocal damage.

Vocal Resonance

Once the air from the lungs gets converted into sound energy by the vocal cords, the sound moves into our resonance cavities. The resonance cavities function to amplify certain frequencies produced by the vocal cords while dampening (de-emphasizing) others. The resonators include:

  • the throat (the pharynx)
  • the mouth (the oral cavity)
  • and the nasal cavity

Due to its structure and malleable shape, the throat is the most efficient resonator out of them all. 

When vocal resonance is utilized efficiently in combination with efficient cord closure, the voice gets a clear sound and a brightness which comes from the upper harmonics being amplified. This is sometimes referred to as ping or ring in the voice. When you are lower in your range, this resonance can sound a bit like a buzz (think of a bee buzzing); as you move higher into your range, it takes on more of a pure, bell-like sound (think a bell that has just been struck). 

When the voice is resonating efficiently, you will tend to feel sensations in your skull and head, as though the sound is originating there. This is referred to as sympathetic resonance. This occurs because the sound literally sets the bones of your head and skull into vibration. Different sounds will cause the bones to vibrate differently. As a very general rule, darker sounds are felt more towards the back of the head, while brighter sounds tend to be felt more towards the front of the face. (Where you feel sympathetic resonance gets much more complex than this as you delve deeper into your studies.)

How do I apply vocal resonance and cord closure to sing clearly?
Ok, so enough of the background information. How do you do it? 

Since singing is sound based, I have provided a video tutorial demonstrating the beginnings of how you find resonance and cord closure. The tutorial contains two exercises, each in a male and female range. Be sure not to go higher than is comfortable.

After practicing the exercises for several weeks, you should notice an increased comfort range in addition to the increased resonance in your voice as a whole.

Table of Contents

0:13 – Introduction
0:57 – Explanation of Exercise 1
2:40 – Exercise 1: YAA (Male range)
4:12 – Exercise 1: YAA (Female range)
5:27 – Remarks on Exercise 1
5:49 – Explanation of Exercise 2
6:40 – Exercise 2: NO (Male Range)
8:02 – Exercise 2: NO (Female Range)
9:19 – Closing Remarks

Need more help?

If you would like further help improving your resonance and vocal cord closure, take a Skype singing lesson. You can try your first lesson risk free, as it comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Click here for more information.

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