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Fiberscopic video laryngoscopy was performed on five professional singers to determine the presence or absence of aryepiglottic narrowing as a function of voice quality. Each sang “Happy Birthday” and parts of the “Star Spangled Banner” in six different voice qualities: speech, falsetto, sob (a low larynx with a vocal tract expanded by relaxing the middle constrictors), twang, belting, and opera. Several features were found to be common among the subjects and related to specific qualities. Aryepiglottic constriction was present in all singers in twang, belting, and opera qualities. Spectrographic analysis related the constriction to the presence of the “singer's formant.” The presence of this type of constrictive behavior will require further research to ascertain the possible benefits to those for whom a louder voice is essential and to understand the relationship of this constrictive maneuver to the natural closure functions of the larynx.
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© 1989 Raven Press, Ltd., New York. Published by Elsevier Inc.