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The Low Mandible Maneuver and Its Resonential Implications for Elite Singers

Published:October 13, 2015DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2015.03.010

      Summary

      Many elite singers appear to frequently drop the posterior mandible while singing to optimize resonance production. This study investigated the physiology of the Low Mandible Maneuver (LMM) through the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound (US), and spectrographic analysis.
      The study of elite singers has been hampered by the paucity of internal imagery. We have attempted to address this problem by using portable US equipment that we could transport to the homes, studios, or dressing rooms of such ranking singers. With the US and acoustic data gathered in fairly brief sessions, we were able to ascertain the resonance gains garnered from the technique's use.
      The study featured two phases: I—MRI study of the maneuver and its physiological effect on surrounding structures (in collaboration of the Medical University of Graz, Austria) and II—US investigation that studied tongue shape during the maneuver.
      The LMM has significant ramifications for resonance production by enabling a concomitantly lowered larynx and increased resonance space in the pharyngeal and oral cavities. Measurements of the LMM ranged between 0.7 and 3.1 cm and showed a boost in the first harmonics as well as an enhancement in the singers formant. Its use also has a rather significant effect on the tongue shapes required for all sung phonemes. The advantage of using US for this study was the ability to produce real-time videos of the singer in action and then, through the use of stop action, precisely study both individual phoneme production and phoneme-to-phoneme transitions during the LMM.

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