to muscles at the side of the Larynx. The cords stand in a horizontal position across the voice box, and their thin inside edges vibrate as the air is sent over them from the lungs, and thus produce voice. In the production of pure tone the cords stand very close together, but in ordinary breathing they are wide apart, as shown in the accompanying figures.

4. The Pharynx is that part of the throat between the larynx and the nasal cavities. It may be seen when the mouth is well open, the tongue depressed, and the soft palate lifted. The dome of the Pharynx just back of the soft palate is one of the most important cavities of vocal resonance.

5. The Nasal Cavities are two irregularly constructed passages separated by a bony partition and having for their base the hard palate. They constitute the chief air passages in normal breathing, and act as resonators, giving ring and character to the voice. These cavities temper and filter the air we breathe and prevent dryness of the mouth occasioned by mouth breathing.

6. The Mouth contains the articulating organs, the tongue, the lips, and the palate. The dome of the mouth is one of the chief resonators of voice, and the soft palate at the back of this dome consists of a flexible fold which acts with the tongue in placing and shaping tone.


The chief muscles used in voice production are (1) the Diaphragm, (2) the Abdominal Muscles, and (3) the Rib Muscles.

1. The Diaphragm is a heavy muscle which separates the chest from the abdomen. It stands like a vaulted arch, with the front side higher than the back. Its function is to contract and flatten in inspiration so as to enlarge the cavity of the chest, and to relax to its normal position in expiration so as to decrease the chest cavity.

2. The Abdominal Muscles form the front wall of the abdomen. This wall presses out as the diaphragm contracts, and moves back as the diaphragm rises. In quiet breathing the diaphragm and abdominal wall act and react alternately upon each other. At such times the abdominal muscles are only passively engaged; but in forcible expiration, as in coughing, laughing, or shouting, the muscles of the abdomen strike inward with great vigor.

3. The Rib Muscles are divided into the outer and the inner muscles. The outer muscles contract and lift the ribs out and up. The inner muscles, in forced expiration, draw the ribs down and in to the position of repose. In tranquil breathing the inner muscles are not actively engaged, as the ribs fall by their own weight.


Respiration is the process of drawing in and expelling the breath, primarily to sustain life and incidentally for the purposes of speech. The two acts are (1) Inspiration and (2) Expiration.




FIG. 3. INSPIRATION I, trachea; 2, sternum; 3, diaphragm; 4, abdominal walls


In Inspiration the process is as follows: (1) The diaphragm contracts and sinks. (2) The wall of the abdomen pushes forward.

(3) The ribs and sternum move out and up.

(4) The upper chest is expanded laterally and vertically (see Fig. 3).

As these four acts of inspiration progress the air rushes in to equalize the pressure and expand the lungs. Thus inspiration is an active process.


In Expiration the process is reversed: (1) The diaphragm relaxes and rises. (2) The wall of the abdomen is drawn in.

(3) The ribs and sternum move down and in.

(4) The upper chest sinks to its normal position (see Fig. 4).

Expiration may be active or passive. It is active in vigorous speaking, laughter, or coughing, when the expiratory muscles outrun the relaxation of the in

spiratory muscles. It is passive in ordi- FIG. 4. EXPIRATION nary breathing, when the muscles, made

tense in inspiration, relax suddenly to their normal position.

1, trachea; 2, sternum; 3, diaphragm; 4, abdominal walls


The Law of Correct Breathing for voice production is as follows: In inspiration there should be an increase, in expiration a decrease, in the size of the waist and the lower part of the chest. The chest should begin to enlarge from its lowest depths. The depression of the diaphragm and the outward movement of the abdomen lower the floor of the chest and enlarge its vertical diameter. The outward and upward movement of the ribs and sternum enlarges the chest laterally and vertically.

The lungs are the bellows of the vocal apparatus, and the force should be applied around the waist, at the largest part of the bellows, the part farthest from the voice box. These parts are the most flexible, and, the bony structure of the chest being suspended from the shoulders, may be moved back and

forth by the muscles without being lifted. This method will enable the speaker to conserve his strength and grow steadily in vocal power.

If the abdomen be drawn in and the chest raised in inspiration, the natural movement is reversed and respiration becomes fatiguing because the chest must expand at its smallest and least flexible part, and because the shoulders must be lifted and sustained. In voice production it is difficult to sustain this weight and supply the air steadily. This accounts for the fact that persons who habitually use the upper-chest method produce breathy tones and do not progress in vocal power.


(1) For the Lungs :

a. Inhale slowly through the nostrils until the lungs are full, and then exhale with the prolonged sound of — h—. Occupy about ten seconds.

b. Inflate the lungs, hold the breath 5-10 or 15 seconds, so that the heat of the body may expand the air, and then expel the breath in about one second with the whispered sound of — hah.

c. Fully inflate the lungs, retain the breath, strike the chest gently ten times with the open palms, and then pour out the breath quickly in the whispered sound of haw

d. Inhale and retain the breath while striking forward, right and left, and up and down, vigorously with the fist as follows: right arm four times, left arm four times, alternately four times, and simultaneously four times; exhale quietly.

e. Place the arms akimbo, inhale and sustain the breath while bending the body to the right four times, to the left four times, then alternately four times; exhale. In like manner bend forward four times, backward four times, then alternately four times.

(z) For the Vocal Cords:

a. Inflate the lungs and exhale slowly with the sharpest possible whisper of -ah

b. Repeat the above, emitting the sound in glottal strokes. (3) For the Pharynx and Nasal Cavities:

a. Inflate the lungs and exhale slowly through the nostrils with a sharp aspirated sound.

(4) For the Abdominal Muscles :

a. Inflate the lungs and, with inward strokes of the abdominal wall, expel the breath in partially vocalized coughs of - uh

b. With a slight occlusive cough of uh, sound each of the syllables hā, hē, hi, hō, hū, three times, thus: uh-hā, uh-hā, uh-hā; uh-hē, uh-hē, uh-hē, etc. Take breath after each set.

c. Inflate the lungs, and with abdominal impulses expel the breath through the nostrils in a suppressed or aspirated laugh. d. Laugh out each of the vowels ă, ě, ĭ, ŏ, ŭ, ō, beginning slowly and accelerating the abdominal strokes.

(5) For the Diaphragm:

a. Draw in the breath with vigor through the smallest possible opening of the lips. Exhale with equal vigor through the compressed lips (abdominal action).

(6) For the Rib Muscles:

a. Take breath, distending the ribs laterally as far as possible, then contract them in expiration.

(7) Catch-breath Exercises:

a. Catch the breath quickly and inaudibly, first through the mouth, then through the nostrils.

b. Count by threes, by fives, and by tens, inhaling after each group.

It is better to take partial breaths at frequent intervals than full breaths at long intervals. The habit of taking short, inaudible inspirations between the phrases of speech should be carefully cultivated.

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