The Resonators: Your Built-in P.A System

Electro VoiceHey gang,

Shena Crane here. I want to change gears for this blog and focus on how your body enhances the sound you produce when singing. There are seven resonators in singing, unfortunately only three of them are really effective. But first we need to know what resonation is; it is the process of phonation enhanced in timbre and/or intensity by the air-filled cavities through which it passes on its way out. Personally I think of resonators as an inside microphone. It is a proven fact that a singer’s voice can be heard over an unamplified orchestra. How is this done, you ask? Well with the three main resonators that we are about to talk about.

The first most important resonator is the pharynx, this resonator is effective simply because of its position. It is the first cavity that the vibrations from the vocal folds pass through, and the other cavities have to accept what the pharynx passes on to them. The pharynx is broken down into three parts; laryngopharynx, oropharynx nasopharynx. This resonator is the most flexible and can be adjusted in size vertically and horizontally. The laryngopharynx is the first space that the larynx opens into. The oropharynx acts as the primary resonator for the vocal folds. And the nasopharynx is the highest part of the pharynx.

The next resonator is the oral cavity, which is second most important. The size and shape of the oral cavity can be adjusted with the tongue, soft palate, jaws and lips. This is why it is vitally important for singers to have good diction. It is important to articulate words without altering the sound created by the larynx and resonated by the pharynx.

The third most important resonator is the nasal cavity. This cavity cannot be adjusted in size or shape, it is pretty much set in stone. In the English language there are three sounds that require nasal resonance (m, n, ng). This resonator has the capability to be switched on and off. And if you feel vibrations in your nose and roof of your mouth when you sing, then that is a sign of good vocal tone.

So looking back on what we have learned so far singing can seem a lot more difficult then we realized. We have to think about posture, breathing, diction and tone quality. My question to you is, can you feel the vibration? Which should be felt in what is referred to as your “mask”. The vibration is felt in the teeth, lips, cheekbone and nasal cavity. Feeling the vibration is the result of good tone quality. If you sing with a upside down smile it will force your larynx to stay low, which will place your tone in the right place to cause vibration. So the point is to keep your larynx low when you sing.

Until next time,

Shena

In The Dallas Ft. Worth Area? Why not Book Shena for a private lesson!

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2 Responses to The Resonators: Your Built-in P.A System

  1. ,

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