We all have distinctive fingerprints. Each one of us has our own, completely separate, identifying, characteristic pattern.
Our fingers can be dextrous in an amazing variety of ways.
We also have distinctive voiceprints and our tongues can be dextrous in an amazing variety of ways. Let’s take a look at the human voice, how we use it and how we can best access the range of skills it places at our disposal.
Inside each one of us is an enormous energy store.
We take air in and we let breath out, and that exchange takes place inside us every moment of every hour of every day of our lives.
The chest cavity is that store house and as it has expanding walls, floors and ceiling can, when necessary, hold a great deal more air than is needed to keep the body ticking-over.
The only entrance or exit to the store is via a vent about halfway up the front flue of our two-flued ‘chimney-stack’ necks.
Lying from front to back across this vent is a 2.5 CM long valve, the edges of which are capable of sealing the store of air in to give strength for weight lifting, shock absorption, defecation or preparedness for combat or flight.
That valve also controls the outlet of breath for everyday breathing, panting, puffing or blowing – not to mention any sighs we make to relieve tension or those sudden breath intakes that get clamped and held in check when we are shocked.
Very importantly – and probably the first purpose for that valve – is that it also clamps instantly shut to prevent food or liquid being channeled chokingly down the front chute leading to the lungs rather than down the rear chute that leads to the digestive system.
Yet another property of those Teflon-tough valve edges is that – if the brain has so dictated – breath pulses through them in such a finely controlled way that reverberations are set up in the inner structure of the valve seal itself.
When this happens, the edges – no longer merely safety clamps – become undulating sounding cords and the miracle of voice occurs.
Were you to hear voiced-breath the instant it pulsed through those undulating edges, it would be like the squeak created when blowing through a slit in a blade of grass. But as those pulses of squeaky- breath rise upwards over the tongue, through the throat, into the mouth and out through the nostrils and open jaws – a remarkable transformation occurs.
Guided by the brain, the tongue (the arch articulator) manipulates the squeaky pulses into resonant spaces behind the face so as to tone and tune them into vowels. They will then be percussed into consonants by being kneaded by the tongue against any hard-boned surface, or the teeth or between palpating lips.
Once all those pulses have combined to form well-honed words, they get expelled in a voice now fully framed to communicate.
The amount of volume any speaker will have to produce to get that voice heard, depends on the distance the words have to travel before they reach their intended target: plus, the amount of noise that voice has to compete with as it leaves the lips
Now that you know all that, you can easily see, that if you allow your core muscles to sag, and you push and pull your neck and brain-filled head about whilst speaking, the vocal cord edges will be pushed and pulled so out of alignment that they cannot initiate good quality vocal sound.
BUT- if you use core support and hold the BACK of your neck upright so that your head is always firmly centred over your T-Frame shoulder girdle, breath will always be able to pulse unhindered through the valve’s vocalising edges. Then, once articulated by the tongue, it will be able to create the fully formed words and phrases you want to say.
That done, (as long as you make sure your jaw drops down and your lips are open) your voice will fly out carrying your crystal-clear message to any and every listener.
Janet Howd© 21st June 2015