Vocal Tract and Glottal Function During and After Vocal Exercising With Resonance Tube and Straw



      The present study aimed to investigate the vocal tract and glottal function during and after phonation into a tube and a stirring straw.


      A male classically trained singer was assessed. Computerized tomography (CT) was performed when the subject produced [a:] at comfortable speaking pitch, phonated into the resonance tube and when repeating [a:] after the exercise. Similar procedure was performed with a narrow straw after 15 minutes silence. Anatomic distances and area measures were obtained from CT midsagittal and transversal images. Acoustic, perceptual, electroglottographic (EGG), and subglottic pressure measures were also obtained.


      During and after phonation into the tube or straw, the velum closed the nasal passage better, the larynx position lowered, and hypopharynx area widened. Moreover, the ratio between the inlet of the lower pharynx and the outlet of the epilaryngeal tube became larger during and after tube/straw phonation. Acoustic results revealed a stronger spectral prominence in the singer/speaker's formant cluster region after exercising. Listening test demonstrated better voice quality after straw/tube than before. Contact quotient derived from EGG decreased during both tube and straw and remained lower after exercising. Subglottic pressure increased during straw and remained somewhat higher after it.


      CT and acoustic results indicated that vocal exercises with increased vocal tract impedance lead to increased vocal efficiency and economy. One of the major changes was the more prominent singer's/speaker's formant cluster. Vocal tract and glottal modifications were more prominent during and after straw exercising compared with tube phonation.

      Key Words

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Journal of Voice
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Sovijärvi A.
        Nya metoder vid behandlingen av röstrubbningar.
        Nordisk Tidskrift for Tale og Stemme. 1969; 3 ([in Finnish]): 121-131
        • Laukkanen A.-M.
        About the so called ‘‘resonance tubes’’ used in Finnish voice training practice.
        Scand J Logoped Phoniatr. 1992; 17: 151-161
        • Titze I.
        • Finnegan E.
        • Laukkanen A.
        • Jaiswal S.
        Raising lung pressure and pitch in vocal warm-ups: the use of flow-resistant straws.
        J Sing. 2002; 58: 329-338
        • Titze I.
        How to use the flow resistant straws.
        J Sing. 2002; 58: 429-430
        • Simberg S.
        • Laine A.
        The resonance tube method in voice therapy: Description and practical Implementations.
        Logoped Phoniatr Vocol. 2007; 32: 165-170
        • Munro M.
        • Leino T.
        • Wissing D.
        Lessac's y-buzz as a pedagogical tool in the teaching of the projection of an actor's voice.
        S Afr J Ling. 1996; 14: 25-36
        • Story B.
        • Laukkanen A.-M.
        • Titze I.
        Acoustic impedance of an artificially lengthened and constricted vocal tract.
        J Voice. 2000; 14: 455-469
        • Titze I.
        The physics of small-amplitude oscillation of the vocal folds.
        J Acoust Soc Am. 1988; 83: 1536-1552
        • Rothenberg M.
        Acoustic interaction between the glottal source and the vocal tract.
        in: Stevens K.N. Hirano M. Vocal Fold Physiology. University of Tokyo Press, Tokyo, Japan1981: 305-328
        • Titze I.
        • Story B.
        Acoustic interactions of the voice source with the lower vocal tract.
        J Acoust Soc Am. 1997; 101: 2234-2243
        • Titze I.
        • Laukkanen A.
        Can vocal economy in phonation be increased with an artificially lengthened vocal tract? A computer modeling study.
        Logoped Phoniatr Vocol. 2007; 32: 147-156
        • Fant G.
        • Lin Q.
        Glottal source-vocal tract acoustic interaction.
        STL-QPSR. 1987; 1: 13-27
        • Rothenberg M.
        Source-tract acoustic interaction and voice quality.
        in: Lawrence V.L. Transcripts of the 12th Symposium Care of Professional Voice, Part L. The Voice Foundation, New York, NY1983: 25-31
        • Titze I.R.
        Nonlinear source-filter coupling in phonation: theory.
        J Acoust Soc Am. 2008; 123: 2733-2749
        • Titze I.R.
        Acoustic interpretation of resonant voice.
        J Voice. 2001; 15: 519-528
        • Titze I.R.
        • Sundberg J.
        Vocal intensity in speakers and singers.
        J Acoust Soc Am. 1992; 91: 2936-2946
        • Bickley C.A.
        • Stevens K.N.
        Effects of a vocal tract constriction on the glottal source: experimental and modeling studies.
        J Phonetics. 1986; 14: 373-382
        • Rothenberg M.
        Acoustic reinforcement of vocal fold vibratory behavior in singing, vocal physiology: voice production, mechanisms and functions.
        in: Fujimura O. Raven Press, New York, NY1988: 379-389
        • Titze I.
        Voice training and therapy with a semi-occluded vocal tract: rationale and scientific underpinnings.
        J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2006; 49: 448-459
        • Gaskill C.
        • Erickson M.
        The effect of a voiced lip trill on estimated glottal closed quotient.
        J Voice. 2008; 22: 634-643
        • Gaskill C.S.
        • Erickson M.L.
        The effect of an artificially lengthened vocal tract on estimated glottal contact quotient in untrained male voices.
        J Voice. 2010; 24: 57-71
        • Gaskill C.
        • Quinney D.
        The effect of resonance tubes on glottal contact quotient with and without task instruction: a comparison of trained and untrained voices.
        J Voice. 2012; 26: e79-e93
        • Laukkanen A.-M.
        • Lindholm P.
        • Vilkman E.
        • et al.
        A physiological and acoustic study on voiced bilabial fricative /ß:/ as a vocal exercise.
        J Voice. 1996; 10: 67-77
        • Cordeiro G.F.
        • Montagnoli A.N.
        • Nemr N.K.
        • Menezes M.H.
        • Tsuji D.H.
        Comparative analysis of the closed quotient for lip and tongue trills in relation to the sustained vowel /ε/.
        J Voice. 2012; 26: 17-22
        • Hamdan A.L.
        • Nassar J.
        • Al Zaghal Z.
        • El-Khoury E.
        • Bsat M.
        • Tabri D.
        Glottal contact quotient in Mediterranean tongue trill.
        J Voice. 2012; 26: 669.e11-669.e15
        • Guzman M.
        • Rubin A.
        • Muñoz D.
        • Jackson-Menaldi C.
        Changes in glottal contact quotient during resonance tube phonation and phonation with vibrato.
        J Voice. 2013; 27: 305-311
        • Laukkanen A.M.
        • Pulakka H.
        • Alku P.
        • et al.
        High-speed registration of phonation-related glottal area variation during artificial lengthening of the vocal tract.
        Logoped Phoniatr Vocol. 2007; 32: 157-164
        • Barrichelo V.M.
        • Behlau M.
        Perceptual identification and acoustic measures of the resonant voice based on "Lessac's Y-Buzz", a preliminary study with actors.
        J Voice. 2007; 21: 46-53
        • Sampaio M.
        • Oliveira G.
        • Behlau M.
        Investigation of immediate effects of two semi-ocluded vocal tract exercises.
        Pro Fono. 2008; 20: 261-266
      1. Angulo M, Muñoz D, Mayerhoff R. Effect on long-term average spectrum of pop singers' vocal warm-up with vocal function exercises. Int J Speech Lang Pathol. [in press].

      2. Higueras D, Finchiera C, Muñoz D, Guajardo C, Dowdall J. Immediate acoustic effect of straw phonation exercises in subjects with dysphonic voices. Logoped Phoniatr Vocol. [in press].

        • Guzman M.
        • Callejas C.
        • Castro C.
        • et al.
        Therapeutic effect of semi-occluded vocal tract exercises in patients with type I Muscle tension dysphonia.
        Revista Logopedia Foniatría y Audiología. 2012; 32 ([in Spanish]): 139-146
      3. Guzmán M, Higueras D, Fincheira C, Muñoz D, Guajardo C. Immediate effect of a vocal exercises sequence with resonant tubes. Revista CEFAC 2011.2012;14:471–480.

        • Laukkanen A.
        • Titze I.
        • Hoffman H.
        • Finnegan E.
        Effects of a semi-occluded vocal tract on laryngeal muscle activity and glottal adduction in a single female subject.
        Folia Phoniatr Logop. 2008; 60: 298-311
        • Laukkanen A.M.
        • Lindholm P.
        • Vilkman E.
        Vocal exercising and speaking related changes in glottal resistance. A pilot study.
        Logoped Phoniatr Vocol. 1998; 23: 85-92
        • Laukkanen A.-M.
        • Lindholm P.
        • Vilkman E.
        Phonation into a tube as a voice training method: acoustic and physiologic observations.
        Folia Phoniatr Logop. 1995; 47: 331-338
        • Laukkanen A.-M.
        • Horáček J.
        • Krupa P.
        • Švec J.G.
        The effect of phonation into a straw on the vocal tract adjustments and formant frequencies. A preliminary MRI study on a single subject completed with acoustic results.
        Biomed Signal Process Contr. 2010; 7: 50-57
        • Laukkanen A.M.
        • Horáček J.
        • Havlík R.
        Case-study magnetic resonance imaging and acoustic investigation of the effects of vocal warm-up on two voice professionals.
        Logoped Phoniatr Vocol. 2012; 37: 75-82
        • Vampola T.
        • Laukkanen A.-M.
        • Horáček J.
        • Švec J.G.
        Vocal tract changes caused by phonation into a tube: a case study using computer tomography and finite-element modeling.
        J Acoust Soc Am. 2011; 129: 310-315
        • Fant G.
        Acoustic Theory of Speech Production. With Calculations Based on X-ray Studies of Russian Articulations.
        2nd ed. Mouton, The Hague, The Netherlands1970
        • Kent R.
        Vocal tract acoustics.
        J Voice. 1993; 7: 97-117
        • Hertegard S.
        • Gauffin J.
        • Sundberg J.
        Open and covered singing as studied by means of fiberoptics, inverse filtering, and spectral analysis.
        J Voice. 1990; 4: 220-230
        • Miller D.G.
        • Schutte H.K.
        Toward a definition of male ‘head’ register, passaggio and ‘cover’ in western operatic singing.
        Folia Phoniatr Logop. 1994; 46: 157-170
        • Laukkanen A.M.
        • Takalo R.
        • Vilkman E.
        • Nummenranta J.
        • Lipponen T.
        Simultaneous videofluorographic and dual-channel electroglottographic registration of the vertical laryngeal position in various phonatory tasks.
        J Voice. 1999; 13: 60-71
        • Elliott N.
        • Sundberg J.
        • Gramming R.
        Physiological aspects of a vocal exercise.
        Speech Transm Lab Progr Status Rep. 1992; 2-3: 79-87
        • Aronson A.E.
        Clinical Voice Disorders.
        3rd ed. Thieme Stratton, New York, NY1990
        • Sovijärvi A.
        • Häyrinen R.
        • Orden-Pannila M.
        • Syvänen M.
        Aänifysiologisten kuntoutusharjoitusten ohjeita.
        ([Instructions for voice exercises]) Publications of Suomen Puheopisto, Helsinki, Finland1989
        • Sovijärvi A.
        Die Bestimmung der Stimmkategorien mittels Resonanzröhren.
        Int Kongr Phon Wiss. 1965; 5 ([in German]): 532-535
        • Sovijärvi A.
        Adnifysiologiasta ja artikulaatiotekniikasta.
        ([On Voice Physiology and Articulatory Technique] [in Finnish]) Department of Phonetics, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland1966
        • Echternach M.
        • Sundberg J.
        • Arndt S.
        • Breyer T.
        • Markl M.
        • Schumacher M.
        • Richter B.
        Vocal tract and register changes analysed by real-time MRI in male professional singers—a pilot study.
        Logoped Phoniatr Vocol. 2008; 33: 67-73
        • Echternach M.
        • Sundberg J.
        • Markl M.
        • Richter B.
        Professional opera tenors' vocal tract configurations in registers.
        Folia Phoniatr Logop. 2010; 62: 278-287
        • Echternach M.
        • Sundberg J.
        • Arndt S.
        • Markl M.
        • Schumacher M.
        • Richter B.
        Vocal tract in female registers—a dynamic real-time MRI study.
        J Voice. 2010; 24: 133-139
        • Echternach M.
        • Traser L.
        • Markl M.
        • Richter B.
        Vocal tract configurations in male alto register functions.
        J Voice. 2011; 25: 670-677
        • Gundermann H.
        Die Behandlung der gestörten Sprechstimme.
        Fischer, Stuttgart, Germany1977
        • Sundberg J.
        Articulatory interpretation of the singing formant.
        J Acoust Soc Am. 1974; 55: 838-844
        • Omori K.
        • Kacker A.
        • Carroll L.
        • Riley W.
        • Blaugrund S.
        Singing power ratio: quantitative evaluation of singing voice quality.
        J Voice. 1996; 10: 228-235
        • Stemple J.
        Voice Therapy: Clinical Studies.
        Singular Publishing Group, San Diego, CA2000
        • Leino T.
        • Laukkanen A.M.
        • Radolf V.
        Formation of the actor's/speaker's formant: a study applying spectrum analysis and computer modeling.
        J Voice. 2011; 25: 150-158
      4. Laukkanen A-M, Radolf V, Horáček J, Leino T. Estimation of the origin of a speaker's and singer's formant cluster using an optimization of 1D vocal tract model. In: Juan Ignacio Godino Llorente, Pedro Gomez Vilda, Ruben Fraile (eds.)Workshop AVFA'09: 3rd Advanced Voice Function Assessment International Workshop, 18th–20th May 2009, Madrid, Spain. Madrid:Cost 2103 Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, 2009; pp. 1–4.

        • Yanagisawa E.
        • Estill J.
        • Kmucha S.
        • Leder S.
        The contribution of aryepiglottic constriction to "ringing" voice quality—a videolaryngoscopic study with acoustic analysis.
        J Voice. 1989; 3: 342-350
        • Hanayama E.
        • Camargo Z.
        • Tsuji D.
        • Pinho S.
        Metallic voice: physiological and acoustic features.
        J Voice. 2009; 23: 62-70
        • Nordenberg M.
        • Sundberg J.
        Effect on LTAS of vocal loudness variation.
        Logoped Phoniatr Vocol. 2004; 29: 183-191
        • Verdolini K.
        • Chan R.
        • Titze I.R.
        • Hess M.
        • Bierhals W.
        Correspondence of electroglottographic closed quotient to vocal fold impact stress in excised canine larynges.
        J Voice. 1998; 4: 415-423
        • Iwarsson J.
        • Sundberg J.
        Effects of lung volume on vertical larynx position during phonation.
        J Voice. 1998; 12: 159-165
        • Iwarsson J.
        • Thomasson M.
        • Sundberg J.
        Effects of lung volume on the glottal voice source.
        J Voice. 1998; 12: 424-433
        • Jiang J.
        • Titze I.
        Measurement of vocal fold intraglottal stress and impact stress.
        J Voice. 1994; 8: 132-144
        • Horácek J.
        • Laukkanen A.M.
        • Sidlof P.
        Estimation of impact stress using an aeroelastic model of voice production.
        Logoped Phoniatr Vocol. 2007; 32: 185-192
        • Morrison M.D.
        • Rammage L.A.
        • Belisle G.M.
        • Pullan C.B.
        • Nichol H.
        Muscular tension dysphonia.
        J Otolaryngol. 1983; 12: 302-306
        • Roy N.
        • Ford C.N.
        • Bless D.M.
        Muscle tension dysphonia and spasmodic dysphonia: the role of manual laryngeal tension reduction in diagnosis and management.
        Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 1996; 105: 851-856
        • Dworkin J.P.
        • Meleca R.J.
        • Abkarian G.G.
        Muscle tension dysphonia.
        Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2000; 8: 169-173
        • Boone D.
        The Voice and Voice Therapy.
        Pearson, New York, NY2010
        • Mitchell H.F.
        • Kenny D.T.
        • Ryan M.
        • Davis P.J.
        Defining open throat through content analysis of experts' pedagogical practices.
        Logoped Phoniatr Vocol. 2003; 28: 167-180
        • Mitchell H.F.
        • Kenny D.T.
        The effects of open throat technique on long term average spectra (LTAS) of female classical voices.
        Logoped Phoniatr Vocol. 2004; 29: 99-118
        • Sundberg J.
        Articulatory configuration and pitch in a classically trained soprano singer.
        J Voice. 2009; 23: 546-551
        • Fant G.
        Speech Sounds and Features.
        MIT Press, Cambridge, MA1973
        • Bickley C.A.
        • Stevens K.N.
        Effects of a vocal tract constriction on the glottal source: data from voiced consonants.
        in: Baer T. Sasaki C. Harris K. Laryngeal Function in Phonation and Respiration. College-Hill Press Little Brown and Company, Boston, MA1987: 239-254
        • Spieß G.
        Methodische Behandlung der nervrsen Aphonie und einiger anderer Stimmstrmngen.
        Arch Laryngol Rhinol. 1899; 9 ([in German]): 368-376
        • Habermann G.
        Funktionelle Stimmstrrungen und ihre Behandlung.
        Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 1980; 227 ([in German]): 171-345