Lesson 4, Topic 2
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Must Know Tips to Help You Sing on Pitch

John May 23, 2019
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I received my undergraduate degree from Chicago College of Performing Arts with a degree in Vocal Performance, and am earning my graduate degree in Vocal Performance from Loyola School of Music, New Orleans. Along with learning vocal technique, I’ve learned piano, conducting, music theory, ear training, advanced diction, intermediate French, and basic Italian and German

Vocal registration refers to the system of vocal registers within the voice. A register in the voice is a particular series of tones, produced in the same vibratory pattern of the vocal folds, and possessing the same quality. Registers originate in laryngeal function. They occur because the vocal folds are capable of producing several different vibratory patterns. Each of these vibratory patterns appears within a particular range of pitches and produces certain characteristic sounds. The occurrence of registers has also been attributed to effects of the acoustic interaction between the vocal fold oscillation and the vocal tract. The term “register” can be somewhat confusing as it encompasses several aspects of the voice. The term register can be used to refer to any of the following:

  • A particular part of the vocal range such as the upper, middle, or lower registers.
  • A resonance area such as chest voice or head voice.
  • A phonatory process (phonation is the process of producing vocal sound by the vibration of the vocal folds that is in turn modified by the resonance of the vocal tract)
  • A certain vocal timbre or vocal “color”
  • A region of the voice which is defined or delimited by vocal breaks.

In linguistics, a register language is a language which combines tone and vowel phonation into a single phonological system. Within speech pathology, the term vocal register has three constituent elements: a certain vibratory pattern of the vocal folds, a certain series of pitches, and a certain type of sound. Speech pathologists identify four vocal registers based on the physiology of laryngeal function: the vocal fry register, the modal register, the falsetto register, and the whistle register. This view is also adopted by many vocal pedagogues.

Cross-section of the head and neck

Vocal resonation is the process by which the basic product of phonation is enhanced in timbre and/or intensity by the air-filled cavities through which it passes on its way to the outside air. Various terms related to the resonation process include amplification, enrichment, enlargement, improvement, intensification, and prolongation, although in strictly scientific usage acoustic authorities would question most of them.

The main point to be drawn from these terms by a singer or speaker is that the end result of resonation is, or should be, to make a better sound. There are seven areas that may be listed as possible vocal resonators. In sequence from the lowest within the body to the highest, these areas are the chest, the tracheal tree, the larynx itself, the pharynx, the oral cavity, the nasal cavity, and the sinuses.[15]