We call the voice or human voice the rigid and voluntary sound that is produced when the air contained in the lungs passes through the vocal cords located in the throat, making them vibrate. This is what happens when we talk, sing, laugh or shout. Types of voice organ and qualities
Each human voice is different since it responds to the congenital configuration of our speech apparatus, but at the same time, it can be modulated (in its tone) to transmit a varied range of emotions or socially encoded senses.
It can also be articulated through the intervention of the rest of the organs involved in phonation, such as the tongue or the lips.
In contrast, involuntary, inarticulate, or non-vocal cord sounds, such as coughing, are not usually considered part of the voice.
Male and female voices
Men and women have different voices, due to the fact that their speech systems have a differentiated development during puberty.
Generally, the male voice is more serious, with lower tones, due to thicker vocal cords (between 17 and 25 mm in length, against 12.5 and 17 mm in women). Types of voice organ and qualities
The most common classification of human voices is based on their vocal nuances, according to a classification inherited from Italian opera.
- Soprano. The highest voices, capable of a voice register that on the piano would go from C4 to C6. They can be light sopranos (provided with greater sharpness), lyrical (with more volume but less sharpness), or dramatic (deeper voice and bright timbre).
- Mezzo-soprano. Voices noticeably lower than the soprano, but with essentially the same characteristics, so much so that they can be classified in the same way: mezzo-light, mezzo-lyrical, and mezzo-dramatic.
- Contralto. The lowest of the high-pitched voices, only 2% of the world’s women possess them. They have a rich sonority and enormous amplitude in their register, oscillating between an F3 and an F5.
- Tenor. The highest of the low voices, in a short register: between C3 and C4. They are classified like the sopranos in light, lyrical and dramatic.
- Baritone. The most common of male voices are baritones, they are not very agile voices, but whose intermediate-range allows them to reach a versatility between sharpness and gravity.
- Low. The deepest and darkest voices of all, similar to the low notes of a cello. They are almost totally masculine and appear after the sexual development of the individual.
Generally, the first three are female voices and the last three are male voices.
Organs of the speech apparatus
The speech apparatus is made up of three different groups of organs:
- Organs of respiration. In charge of accumulating and moving the air that allows the voice to emerge. It involves the lungs, bronchi, and trachea.
- Speaking organs. Those in charge of conducting air from the inside of the body to the outside, making it pass through the vocal cords. It involves the larynx, vocal cords, and mouth.
- Organs of articulation. They are in charge of modifying the airflow of the voice, thus forming certain sounds, and that a flow of sound does not simply emerge from the mouth. It involves the tongue, teeth, lips, palate, and glottis.
The human voice has four fundamental qualities:
- Joint. The ways in which the voice is modified through the movements of the organs of the speech apparatus, to achieve certain sounds and thus form, for example, words.
- Tone or intonation. The modulation in the rhythm of voice production, which allows a specific aspect, such as emotion or accent, to be attributed to sounds.
- Doorbell. The individual and characteristic way in which the voice is produced, which can be low (low) or high (squeaky).
- Intensity. The amount of force with which the sounds are obtained, being able to fall on some parts of the sound chain, as in the different syllables of a word. Types of voice organ and qualities
How is the voice produced?
The elaboration of the human voice involves different stages:
- Air is inhaled from outside the body and accumulates in the lungs.
- Air is exhaled through the pharynx, where it meets the vocal cords, causing them to vibrate and fill with sound waves.
- The sound-laden air reaches the mouth, where it is modulated and articulated to have the specific characteristics of a word or a specific sound.
- The voice comes out of the mouth and reaches the ears of those who listen.
What are the functions of the voice?
The human voice serves us for a gigantic range of communicative interactions, such as speaking, singing, laughing, screaming, moaning, etc. It is a fundamental element in the communication of human beings.
Why is voice important?
The human voice is the fundamental socialization apparatus that we have since our species is the only one in the world capable of communicating through articulated verbal language.
Thus, our voice is not only the physical medium (air and sound vibrations) through which we put language into operation, but it is also another element that intervenes in the communicative process.
This is because it can add information to the message, even contradictory information, as does a person who claims to be happy, but with a sad tone.
The human voice serves, like many other things, to convey rhythm, just as singers do.
In general, rhythm is the number of words or sounds that can be emitted during the same breath, that is, how fast or slow the voice is produced, as well as the variation intervals with respect to said pattern.
Thus, the rhythm can vary depending on the individuals, but also depending on the culture and society to which they belong. Types of voice organ and qualities
Aphonia of the voice
Aphonia is the term that refers to the loss of voice, that is, to the decrease or attenuation of the ability of the vocal cords to vibrate.
It can be due to different reasons, such as diseases and infections, excessive use of the voice (after shouting a lot or talking very loudly for a long time), or due to alterations in the auditory system that cause loss of voice (when not being able to perceive it).
How can we take care of it?
Some tips for voice care are:
- Avoid excessive and repetitive use of the voice, without giving the speech apparatus appropriate breaks.
- Modulate appropriately when speaking, especially for long periods, and try to do so at a slower pace.
- Avoid cigarettes.
- Do not clear your throat excessively or in a brutal way.
- Go to the specialist when perceiving any speech difficulties.
Types of voice organ and qualities