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Our voices are all unique, and no two voices are the same. Voice production stems from the larynx of the lower respiratory system. Folds of the laryngeal epithelium branch into the glottis, and covers the vestibular and vocal ligaments. “Air passing through the glottis vibrates the vocal folds and produces sound waves. The pitch of the sound produced depends on the diameter, length, and tension of the vocal folds”(Martini, 2017 p. 631). The tension is determined by the contractions of skeletal muscles. Another factor that determines the differences in voices would be the voluntary movements one makes with their tongue, lips, and cheeks.
Children tend to have higher pitched voices because of the length and shape of their vocal folds. “Children have slender, short vocal folds, so their voices are high-pitched”(Martini, 2017, p. 631). Overtime, the length and shape of their vocal folds will change, thus creating a new voice. In males, during puberty the larynx enlarges more than a females would. “The true vocal cords of an adult male are thicker and longer, and they produce lower tones than those of an adult female”(Martini,2017, p. 631). We have our larynx to thank for our unique voices.
Martini, F. H., Tallitsch, R. B., & Nath, J. L. (2017). Human Anatomy (9th ed.). The Sympathetic Division. Glenview, IL: Pearson.
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Throughout my life, I’ve paid close attention to the gradual changes in vocal pitch exhibited by my younger brother. I remember as a child, his voice was similar to mine: high-pitched, airy, and not particularly powerful. This was due to my brother’s “slender, short vocal folds” which aided in “creating a high-pitched sound” (Clark, 2018). Differences in vocal pitch are hugely determined by the “diameter, length, and tension in the vocal cords” (Clark, 2018).
In the case of my brother, when he reached early high school his voice began to change dramatically. His “vocal folds… [became] thicker and longer thus producing a deeper voice” (Clark, 2018). My voice, which had leveled off and remained the same since puberty, was noticeably higher than my brother’s. This suggests that as a female, my vocal folds are not as thick and long as my brother’s, which accounts for differences in vocal pitch between males and females.
Each person’s anatomy is unique, therefore, each person’s expression of vocal pitch will be unique. This is why a cross-sectional study of vocal pitch in mature males and females would conclude in a vast variety of results spanning the spectrum from very high to very low.
Clark, R. J. (2018). Chapter 24: the respiratory system. Mira Costa College.