Phonetics

Types of voice importance male and female voice functions

Voice

We call the voice or human voice the rigid and voluntary sound that is produced when the air contained in the lungs passes through the vocal cords located in the throat, making them vibrate. This is what happens when we talk, sing, laugh or shout. In this article we will describe the types of voice.

Each human voice is different since it responds to the congenital configuration of our speech apparatus, but at the same time, it can be modulated (in its tone) to transmit a varied range of emotions or socially encoded senses.

It can also be articulated through the intervention of the rest of the organs involved in phonation, such as the tongue or the lips.

In contrast, involuntary, inarticulate, or non-vocal cord sounds, such as coughing, are not usually considered part of the voice.

Different types of voice and how to distinguish them

Curiosity is an inherent characteristic of the human being. Among the main questions that arise almost instinctively when delving into the world of singing, is  what kind of voice do I have? In this post we are going to satisfy your curiosity with a detailed explanation about the different types of voice that exist and how to distinguish them.

What variables determine a type of voice?

This is one of the most controversial aspects when establishing a classification, and it is that the nuances can be so subtle that, sometimes, not even the experts in the field seem to agree on how to make these distinctions. What you do have to be clear about is that the types of voice are not organized by categories based on a single criterion, but rather that this classification responds to a set of variables that are the ones that define all the nuances of the voice.

Why is it so important to take them into account?

If any of these variables were discriminated against, one of the most common mistakes made by some schools would be incurred: pigeonholing the student. Although there are categories, voice types should not be understood as something strict and inflexible, but as an orientation with multiple gradations. However, taking into account the nuances that we list below, it is not only possible to define the type of voice of the singer but also to discover its full potential.

  • Range: are all the notes that your voice is capable of producing.
  • Tesitura: those notes in which the voice is most comfortable.
  • Weight: there are voices that are lighter, others darker, some heavy, in other cases brilliant, agile, powerful…
  • Voice timbre: it is the quality, the texture. The color that makes each voice unique.
  • Vocal register: the different groups of sounds that make up the production of the voice.
  • Transition Points: These are the points where the voice changes from chest to middle or head voice.
  • Speech level: the level of the voice when speaking, taking into account its physical characteristics.

Types of voice and characteristics that define them

Now that you know that when you ask yourself the question , what kind of voice do I have? Actually, you are also questioning such important aspects as your vocal register or your voice timbre. We can analyze in more detail the scheme of voice types , always starting from the basis that labeling a singer can be counterproductive for his professional projection if this distinction is not used as a guiding tool.

Of all the variables that determine the type of a person’s voice, one of the most important is the tessitura, since it reflects the tonal amplitude of the voice, that is, the set of notes in which you can sing comfortably without need to strain the vocal cords. The rest of the variables, as we have already mentioned, are used to make additional classifications, but the basic scheme is as follows:

women’s voices

  • Soprano: they are the highest voices, with a register that on a piano keyboard would go from C4 to C6. Within this group there are light sopranos (with a higher register but less body), lyrical sopranos (which have more volume than light ones, but not as much sharpness) and dramatic sopranos (with a deeper voice and a higher timbre). brighter, perfect for dramatic roles).
  • Mezzo-soprano: their voices are always lower than those of the sopranos, but there are also some distinctions to be made that are sometimes too subtle. The light mezzo and the dramatic mezzo are quite similar to the dramatic sopranos, only in lower registers and with a greater capacity for lyrical ornamentation (in the case of the light ones) and with a lot of power (in the case of the dramatic ones).
  • Contralto: these are very rare female voices because they are in a very serious musical range. Also for this reason, her roles in opera are rather scarce and are usually performed by mezzo-sopranos with darker timbres.

male voices

  • Tenor: as is the case with the female classification, these are the highest voices in a relatively short register, from C3 to C4. Also as in the case of the soprano, the tenors are divided into light, lyrical and dramatic, sharing with them practically the same characteristics.
  • Baritone: Baritones are fairly common male voices. Unlike the tenors, they are not capable of executing works with too much agility, but instead they reach those lower and darker notes where the tenors do not reach, and those bright high notes that the basses cannot reach.
  • Bass: the deepest and darkest male voices are those of the basses. A register with a lot of depth that sometimes resembles the lowest notes of a cello. Due to a matter of physical development, it is almost impossible to find this type of voice at an early age.

Organs of the speech apparatus

The speech apparatus is made up of three different groups of organs:

  • Organs of respiration. In charge of accumulating and moving the air that allows the voice to emerge. It involves the lungs, bronchi, and trachea.
  • Speaking organs. Those in charge of conducting air from the inside of the body to the outside, making it pass through the vocal cords. It involves the larynx, vocal cords, and mouth.
  • Organs of articulation. They are in charge of modifying the airflow of the voice, thus forming certain sounds, and that a flow of sound does not simply emerge from the mouth. It involves the tongue, teeth, lips, palate, and glottis.

Voice qualities

The human voice has four fundamental qualities:

  • Joint. The ways in which the voice is modified through the movements of the organs of the speech apparatus, to achieve certain sounds and thus form, for example, words.
  • Tone or intonationThe modulation in the rhythm of voice production, which allows a specific aspect, such as emotion or accent, to be attributed to sounds.
  • Doorbell. The individual and characteristic way in which the voice is produced, which can be low (low) or high (squeaky).
  • Intensity. The amount of force with which the sounds are obtained, being able to fall on some parts of the sound chain, as in the different syllables of a word. Types of voice organ and qualities

How is the voice produced?

The elaboration of the human voice involves different stages:

  • Air is inhaled from outside the body and accumulates in the lungs.
  • Air is exhaled through the pharynx, where it meets the vocal cords, causing them to vibrate and fill with sound waves.
  • The sound-laden air reaches the mouth, where it is modulated and articulated to have the specific characteristics of a word or a specific sound.
  • The voice comes out of the mouth and reaches the ears of those who listen.

What are the functions of the voice?

The human voice serves us for a gigantic range of communicative interactions, such as speaking, singing, laughing, screaming, moaning, etc. It is a fundamental element in the communication of human beings.

Why is voice important?

The human voice is the fundamental socialization apparatus that we have since our species is the only one in the world capable of communicating through articulated verbal language.

Thus, our voice is not only the physical medium (air and sound vibrations) through which we put language into operation, but it is also another element that intervenes in the communicative process.

This is because it can add information to the message, even contradictory information, as does a person who claims to be happy, but with a sad tone.

Voice rhythm

The human voice serves, like many other things, to convey rhythm, just as singers do.

In general, rhythm is the number of words or sounds that can be emitted during the same breath, that is, how fast or slow the voice is produced, as well as the variation intervals with respect to said pattern.

Thus, the rhythm can vary depending on the individuals, but also depending on the culture and society to which they belong. Types of voice organ and qualities

Aphonia of the voice

Aphonia is the term that refers to the loss of voice, that is, to the decrease or attenuation of the ability of the vocal cords to vibrate.

It can be due to different reasons, such as diseases and infections, excessive use of the voice (after shouting a lot or talking very loudly for a long time), or due to alterations in the auditory system that cause loss of voice (when not being able to perceive it).

How can we take care of it?

Some tips for voice care are:

  • Avoid excessive and repetitive use of the voice, without giving the speech apparatus appropriate breaks.
  • Modulate appropriately when speaking, especially for long periods, and try to do so at a slower pace.
  • Avoid cigarettes.
  • Do not clear your throat excessively or in a brutal way.
  • Go to the specialist when perceiving any speech difficulties.

Types of voice organ and qualities

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