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  • Writer's pictureVOBA

No more pushing up the Notes! (15)

In my last article I conveyed that you can reach up to four octaves of legitimate vocal range with the pull of the Crico-Thyroid Pars Oblique, stretching your voice. The next question, of course, is: how? How to get there? How to do it?

A man pulling up his shoulders in a questioning pose.

There are a few steps involved.

First of all, you have to stop using crutches; namely, the following two:

A) Blowing more air through your vocal tract, so that your vocal cords vibrate faster, because of air pressure from your lungs, as described in this article.

B) Clipping off your vocal cords, creating an aliquote division!

Voba raising his finger to warn about the two crutches that prevent folks from gaining a large vocal range: 1. Aliquote Divisions and 2. Air-Pressure on the vocal cords.

You cannot do these things anymore if you want the real vocal pull!


Now, the clipping off the vocal cords is quite a process to stop doing because you have to learn how to listen carefully and hear it. You need to learn how to identify an aliquot division by ear first. And that is quite the challenge in some cases because it's more subtle than you might think. In some instances, it's very easy to identify an aliquot division, in other instances, it's not easy at all. Therefore, let's start with the simpler thing: learning how to use less, up to no air pushing up through your vocal cords! We'll start with getting a misconception out of the way.


Wind-Instrument

Many people believe that the voice is a wind instrument. They have learned that the voice is activated by the airflow from the lungs.

THAT. IS. WRONG!

The voice is a series of muscles working in tandem to produce sound. It's lots of little muscles working together to (optimally) produce the sound that you want.


Air-Innervation

Here is an important anatomical question that I want you to answer in your mind right now: What muscle in the body is innervated/is activated/is contracted by an airflow or an air blow? What muscle or muscle groups come to mind?

For instance, my biceps: If I blow enough air on my biceps, will it contract? Or my triceps. Will my triceps contract if I blow enough air on it? ...probably not!

Voba's biceps being innervated by an electrical impulse from his brain.
My biceps being innervated by an electrical impulse from my brain.

The same thing goes for the vocal cords: Your vocal cords will not contract (start to vibrate) because of airflow or blowing air through your windpipe! They might flutter, but they will not vibrate. Your vocal cords are muscles! And ALL (!) muscles in your body – no exception – are innervated by electrical impulses from the brain! So if the brain gives the impulse to contract your biceps, it contracts because it sends a bio-electrical impulse into the muscle through the nervous system.

A picture showing the recurrent laryngeal nerve going into the thyroid cartilage from below after crossing the aortic arch first.
The Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve (a branch of the vagus nerve) is the nerve that innervates the vocal cords and makes them vibrate. NOT air-flow, or air-pressure!

The same goes for the vocal cords: They start to vibrate because they receive a bio-electric impulse from the brain through the Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve (a branch of the vagus nerve) that innervates them.


That, however, does not mean that air cannot have an influence on your voice. As I said: You can blow extra air and reach higher notes. That does not constitute really legitimate range (because you won't have any flexibility volume-wise) but it creates a higher pitch... You can kind of reach higher notes by just blowing more air through your windpipe.

A picture portraying how the vocal cords are pushed upwards towards the vestibular folds through air-pressure coming from the lungs.
The vocal cords close to vibrate. Air-Pressure from the lungs pushing against them from below pushes them upwards against the vestibular folds. The friction between the vibrating vocal cords and the vestibular folds irritates the mucous membrane of both and leads to hoarseness, voice loss and edema.

However, I also mentioned (in this article) that blowing air up your throat pushes your vocal cords upwards against the vestibular folds, and that this is what makes you hoarse.


And actually, if you rub your vocal cords against your vestibular folds long enough, it might even give you vocal cord edema (Reinke's Edema) and then perhaps vocal nodules.


We don't want nodules! We don't want edema! We don't want these problems! We want the real vocal pull! The information that all muscles - including the vocal cords - are innervated by electrical impulses from the brain traveling through your nerves, to the muscle and then activating it through an electrical impulse - not a wind impulse – might seem trivial, but it is some very important information that might change your ideas about how to use your voice and what your voice is actually capable of.


Summary

In order to really use the Crico-Thyroid Pars Oblique to stretch your vocal cords, you need to get rid of that extra wind pressure. You can accomplish that by loosening up your belly. (Yes, you need a lose belly, whether you sing, speak or create any other noise involving your vocal cords!)

I will convey in a follow-up article how to support your voice, instead of involving any abdominal muscle action, so stay tuned.

Check out the corresponding YouTube Video to this article by clicking on this picture:

The YouTube Thumbnail with the link to the video corresponding to this article.

Have a beautiful, vocal-wind-free day!




Picture Sources

Pic 15.0 Uncertain Man Image By <a href="https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/uncertain-dark-skinned-man-spreads-palms-with-hesitation-has-doubtful-look-wears-formal-clothing-stands-troubled-questioned_13299324.htm#page=2&query=question&position=23&from_view=search&track=sph">Image by wayhomestudio</a> on Freepik

PIC 15.2 Muscle Innervation from the brain through the nerves to the muscle

Image by

<a href="https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/brain-power-switch-strong-mind-concept_1311038.htm#query=brain%20front%20below&position=45&from_view=search&track=ais">Image by iconicbestiary</a> on Freepik

PIC 15.4 Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve

Image by

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Recurrent_laryngeal_nerve.svg


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