Anatomy for Singers

It is very important to know well different parts of your body that are used to sing, so you know which one is working when you are singing or speaking! 😀

Here are some of the most important vocal organs…

1. Larynx (pronounce it as LAIR-inx, not LAHR-nix 😉 )
the larynx is also called voice box. The vocal folds (also called vocal cords) are part of the larynx and are membranes that vibrate about 100 times per second when speaking normally; letting air pass trough to make sounds. The vocal folds vibrate to create the sound of the voice.

Vocal folds are the same as vocal cords. The two terms refer to the exact same part of the body performing the exact same functions. The term “vocal cords” is less technically correct but more often used among singers and laypersons.

Why, then, do voice scientists and otolaryngologists refer to them as vocal folds? Years ago, vocal folds were thought of as being two cords stretched across the airway, like strings on a piano from which they got the name of ‘chords’. Now we know that vocal folds are multilayered folds of tissue that are continuous with other tissues in the throat.

To see how the vocal folds vibrate, purse your lips and blow; this is similar to vocal fold vibration. Or, hold two pieces of paper so close together that they almost touch, and blow through them. Surprised? They don’t blow apart — they vibrate together.

2. Pharynx (pronounced FAIR-inx)
The pharynx is the throat. It goes up from the larynx and divides into the laryngopharynx (just above the larynx), oropharynx (going into the mouth) and nasopharynx (going into the nose).

3. Trachea (pronounced TRAY-key-ah)
the trachea is your windpipe. It’s the tube that connects your lungs to your throat. The larynx sits on the top of the trachea

4. Diaphragm

The diaphragm is underneath the lungs, inside the rib cage. It’s shaped like a dome. The diaphragm is your main muscle for controlling respiration (breathing). It relaxes going upwards when your lungs empty and stretches downwards when your lungs fill with air.

Even if they are not very important when you sing, you can find these organs nearby 😀 …

5. Esophagus
The esophagus is your food pipe. It’s just behind the larynx and trachea. Your pharynx carries both air and food/water. The air goes through the larynx and trachea, and food and water go into your esophagus. It doesn’t have an actual role in producing sound.

6. Spinal column

The spinal column is behind the esophagus. You can feel it by pressing the back of your neck. Careful: it has nothing to do with singing or producing sound! 😉

Pretty easy…huh? 😀


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