Background and objectives
The valleculae can be seen as a pair of side branches of the human vocal tract like the piriform fossae. While the acoustic properties of the piriform fossae have been explored in detail, there is little evidence of full exploration of the acoustic properties of the valleculae. A recent investigation (Vampola, Horáček, & Švec, 2015), using a finite element model of a single vowel /a/, suggests that the valleculae created two antiresonances and two resonances in the high frequency region (above 4kHz) along with those produced by the piriform sinuses. In the current study, we investigate, in multiple vowels, the acoustic influences of the valleculae in singing voice, using 3-D printed vocal tracts.
MRI data were collected from an operatic tenor singing English vowels /a/, /u/, /i/. The images of each vowel were segmented and edited to create a pair of tracts, where one is the original and one had the valleculae digitally removed.The printed tracts were then placed atop a vocal tract organ loudspeaker, excited by white noise. Recordings were made with a microphone placed in front of the mouths of the tracts, to measure their frequency responses.
Dimensional changes were observed in valleculae of different vowels, with the long-term average spectra of the recordings illustrating clear differences between the frequency responses of the va-nova (valleculae – no valleculae) pairs, which varies with vowels.
The experiment demonstrates the dynamic
The dynamic nature means changes during running vocalization. Note that the analysis of single vowels is static, but when it comes to the variation across vowels, the analysis is on the dynamic effect. The intention is trying to find out how valleculae and their acoustic consequences change in running vocalisation, which is about the temporal change, where the vowels are snapshots of the running vocalization.
1The dynamic nature means changes during running vocalization. Note that the analysis of single vowels is static, but when it comes to the variation across vowels, the analysis is on the dynamic effect. The intention is trying to find out how valleculae and their acoustic consequences change in running vocalisation, which is about the temporal change, where the vowels are snapshots of the running vocalization.nature of the shapes of the valleculae in the human vocal tract and its acoustic consequences. It provides evidence that the valleculae have similar acoustic properties to the piriform fossae but with larger variations, and in some cases can influence acoustically the frequency region below 4kHz. The results suggest that large volume valleculae have the potential to impede to some extent the acoustic effect of the singers formant cluster and small valleculae may do the reverse. Since the volume of the valleculae is observed to be largely dependent on tongue movement and also with changes to the uttered vowel, it can be assumed that the high frequency energy, including that within the singer's formant region, could be vowel dependent. Strategies to control valleculae volumes are likely to be highly relevant to voice pedagogy practice as well as singing performance.
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:Subscribe to Journal of Voice
Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
Already an online subscriber? Sign in
Register: Create an account
Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect
- Articulatory interpretation of the “singing formant.J Acoust Soc Am. 1974; 55: 838-844
- Acoustic characteristics of the piriform fossa in models and humans.J Acoust Soc Am. 1997; 101: 456-465https://doi.org/10.1121/1.417990
- Acoustic interactions of the voice source with the lower vocal tract.J Acoust Soc Am. 1997; 101: 2234-2243https://doi.org/10.1121/1.418246
- A new method to explore the spectral impact of the piriform fossae on the singing voice: benchmarking using MRI-Based 3D-printed vocal tracts.PLoS One. 2014; 9https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0102680
- Modeling the influence of piriform sinuses and valleculae on the vocal tract resonances and antiresonances.Acta Acustica United with Acustica. 2015; 101: 594-602https://doi.org/10.3813/AAA.918855
- Die recessus piriformes unter phoniatrischer sicht.Folia Phoniatr. 1966; 18: 153-167
- Sensitivity of acoustic resonance properties to a change in volume of piriform sinuses.Appl Mechan Mater. 2016; 821: 671-676
- Voice Science Acoustic and Recording.Plural Publishing, San Diego, CA2008
- Acoustic analysis of the vocal tract during vowel production by finite-difference time-domain method.J Acoust Soc Am. 2010; 128: 3724-3738https://doi.org/10.1121/1.3502470
- Influence of lips on the production of vowels based on finite element simulations and experiments.J Acoust Soc Am. 2016; 139: 2852-2859https://doi.org/10.1121/1.4950698
- The vocal tract organ: a new musical instrument using 3-D printed vocal tracts.J Voice. 2018; 32: 660-667https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2017.09.014
- How to precisely measure the volume velocity transfer function of physical vocal tract models by external excitation.PLoS One. 2018; 13: 1-16https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0193708
- An experimentally measured source–filter model: glottal flow, vocal tract gain and output sound from a physical model.Acoustics Australia. 2016; 44: 187-191https://doi.org/10.1007/s40857-016-0046-7
- Acoustic interaction between the right and left piriform fossae in generating spectral dips.Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 2013; 134
Published online: January 01, 2021
Accepted: December 9, 2020
© 2020 The Voice Foundation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.