Voice Coaching Presentation Skills Accent Reduction Team Building Workshops
The Voice Dictionary

Below is a dictionary of terms used with regard to the voice, vocal coaching & the practice of voice. If you would like further details of anything in the dictionary please contact us.

 A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 



A

Abductor: (əˈbdʌktə)
n
A muscle that draws a body part, (a finger, an arm or vocal folds), away from the median axis of the body (midpoint/midline).

Abduction: (æbˈdʌkʃən)
n
(In the larynx) refers to the action of the opening of the vocal folds away from the midline of the body.

Adductor: (əˈdʌktə)
n 
A muscle that draws a body part, (a finger, an arm, or vocal folds), inward toward the median axis of the body (midpoint/midline).

Adduction: (əˈdʌkʃən)
n
1. (In the larynx) refers to the action of the closing of the vocal folds towards the midline of the body. 
2. For effort or protection, full adduction closes the airway. 
3. In phonation, efficient vocal fold adduction creates clear, non-breathy tone. See Bernoulli Effect.

Alimentary Canal: (ælɪˈmɛntərɪ)
The digestive tract.

Alveolar Process: (ælˈvɪələ orˌælvɪˈəʊlə ˈprəʊsɛs)
n
A ridge like portion of the maxilla that houses 16 teeth in an adult.

Alveolar Ridge: (ælˈvɪələ orˌælvɪˈəʊlə rɪdʒ)
n
The alveolar ridge is the u-shaped prominence behind the top, front teeth.

Alveoli: (ælˈvɪəl)
n
1. Pleural for alveolus, meaning a small cell or cavity. 
2. In the lungs, any of the tiny air-filled sacs arranged in clusters in the lungs, in which the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place.

Alveolus: (ælˈvɪələs)
n
A tiny air-filled sac arranged in clusters in the lungs. See Alveoli.

Anatomy: (əˈnætəmɪ)
n
1. The science concerned with the physical structure of animals & plants.
2. The physical structure of an animal or plant or any of its parts.
3. Informal. The human body.

Anchoring: (ˈæŋkərɪŋ)
vb
1. A source of stability or security.
2. The use of larger muscles to gain maximum control of the smaller muscles in the head, neck, & torso.

Angle: (ˈæŋɡəl)
n
The figure or space formed by the meeting point of two lines or planes. This term may be used to name a portion of an anatomical structure (ribs, mandible).

Anterior: (ænˈtɪərɪə)
adj
1. Forward, in front of.
2. Of or relating to the front surface of the body, especially of the position of one structure relative to another. See Ventral.

Anterior Faucial Pillar: (ænˈtɪərɪə fɔːʃəl ˈpɪlə)
n
Muscle of the oropharynx, responsible for depressing the velum. See Palatoglossus.

Apex: (ˈeɪpɛks)
n
1. The highest point.
2.The top of a pyramidal structure. E.g. Arytenoid Cartilages.

Artery: (ˈɑːtərɪ)
n
1. Any of the tubular thick-walled muscular vessels that convey oxygenated blood from the heart to various parts of the body.
1a. Elastic-type vessels that carry blood away from the heart.

Articulate: (ɑːˈtɪkjʊlɪt)
vb
1. To speak or enunciate (words, syllables etc.) clearly & distinctly.
2. To become loosely connected, as in a joint. 

Articulation: (ɑːˌtɪkjʊˈleɪʃən)
n
1. the act or process of speaking or expressing in works.
2a. the process of articulating a speech sound.
2b. the sound so produced, esp. a consonant

Articulator: (ɑːˈtɪkjʊˌleɪtə)
n
1. a person or thing that articulates.
2. Phonetics. any vocal organ that takes part in the production of a speech sound. Such organs are of two types: those that can move, such as the tongue, lips etc. (active articulators), & those that remain fixed, such as the teeth, the hard palate, etc. (passive articulators).

Aryepiglottic Muscle: (ærɪˈɛpɪˈɡlɒtik ˈmʌsəl)
n
1. A band of muscular fibres of the oblique arytenoid muscle that extends from the summit of the arytenoid cartilage to the side of the epiglottis and whose action constricts the laryngeal aperture.
2. Muscle of the laryngopharynx that courses from the arytenoid cartilages to the top of the epiglottis. Credited with pulling the epiglottis down during swallowing.

Arytenoid Cartilage: (ˌærɪˈtiːnɔɪd ˈkɑːtɪlɪdʒ)
n
1. Denoting either of two small cartilages of the larynx into which the vocal folds attach.
2. Paired laryngeal cartilage, pyramidal in shape. The vocal folds attach to the arytenoids.

Autonomic System: (ˌɔːtəˈnɒmɪk ˈsɪstəm)
n
1. The part of the vertebrate nervous system that regulates involuntary action.
2. The system of nerves and ganglia that innervates the clood vessels, heart, smooth muscles, viscera, and glands and controls their involuntary functions, consisting of sympathic and parasympathetic portions.

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B

Bernoulli Effect/Principle/Law: (bɛrnuji)
n
1. Physics. The principle that in a liquid flowing through a pipe, the pressure difference that accelerates the flow when the bore changes is equal to the product of half the density times the change of the square of the speed, provided friction is negligible.
2. The effect of a change in air pressure depending on the state & position of the vocal folds.
3. The Bernoulli Effect also comes in to play in sailing & aeronautics due the differences in air pressure infront/behind the sail or under/over the wing.

Bilateral: (baɪˈlætərəl)
adj
1. having or involving two sides.
2. affecting or undertaken by two parties.
3. denoting or relating to bilateral symmetry
4. Paired/Both sides.

Blade: (bleɪd)
n
The flat, thin part of an object (shoulder blade, tongue blade).

Blood: (blʌd)
n
1. A fluid that circulates in the body bringing nourishment and oxygen and removing waste.
2. A reddish fluid in vertbrates thatis pumped by the heart through the arteries and veins, supplies tissues with nutrients, oxygen, etc, and removes waste products. It consists of a fluid (plasma) containing cells.

Body of Mandible: (ˈbɒdɪ ɒv ˈmændɪbəl)
n
The horizontal portion of the mandible that extends posteriorly and that houses the lower teeth.

Body-Cover: (ˈbɒdɪ ˈkʌvə)
adj
A model of voice production that describes the relationship of the layered vocal folds.

Bone: (bəʊn)
n
1. Any of the various structures that make up the skeleton in most vertebrates
2. The porous rigid tissue of which these parts are made, consisting of a matrix of collagen and inorganic salts, esp calcium phosphate, interspersed with canals and small holes.
3. A hard connective tissues of which the skeleton is composed.

Bronchi: (ˈbrɒŋkaɪ)
n
1. The first of two subdivisions of the trachea. See bronchus.
2. Either of the two main branches of the trachea, which contain cartilage within their walls.

Bronchial: (ˈbrɒŋkɪəl)
adj
Of or relating to the Bronchi or Bronchioles.

Bronchioles: (ˈbrɒŋkɪˌəʊlz)
n
1. Any of the smallest bronchial tubes, usually ending in alveoli.
2. Finer subdivisions of the bronchi.

Bronchus: (ˈbrɒŋkəs)
n
1. The first of two subdivisions of the trachea. See bronchus.
2. Either of the two main branches of the trachea, which contain cartilage within their walls. 

Buccal: (bʌkəl)
adj
Of or relating to the cheek.

Buccinator: (ˈbʌksɪˌneɪtə)
n
1. A thin muscle that compresses the cheeks and holds them against theteeth during chewing
2. A facial muscle that flattens cheeks and pulls corners of mouth up laterally.

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C

Capillary: (kəˈpɪlərɪ)
adj
1. Of or relating to any of the delicate thin-walled blood vessels that form an interconnecting network.
2. A very small vessel that continues the flow of blood away from the heart.

Carbon Dioxide: (ˈkɑːbədaɪˈɒksaɪd)
n
1. A colourless gas that is a product of the respiratory system and is exchanged for oxygen in the lungs.
2. a colorless, odorless, incombustible gas, CO2present in the atmosphere and formed during respiration.

Cartilage: (ˈkɑːtɪlɪdʒ)
n
Nontechnical name: gristle.  A tough elastic tissue composing most of the embryonic skeleton of vertebrates. In the adults of higher vertebrates it is mostly converted into bone, remaining only on the articulating ends of bones, in the thorax, trachea, nose, & ears.

Cell: (sɛl)
n
1. The smallest unit of living matter that is capable of functioning independently.
2. Teh basic structural and functional unit of living organisms. It consists of a nucleus, containing the genetic material, surrounded by the cytoplasm in which are mitochondria, lysomes, ribosomes, and other organelles.

Cervical Vertebrae: (ˈsəˈvaɪkəl ˈvɜːtɪbriː)
adj
1. A segment of the bony spinal column in the neck.
2. Of or relating to the part of the vertebral column in the neck. 

Cartilaginous: (ˌkɑːtɪˈlædʒɪnəs)
adj
Composed of, relating to, or resembling Cartilage.

Clarity: (ˈklærɪtɪ)
n
Clearness of expression, tone & timbre

Clavicle:(ˈklævɪkəl)
n
1. A long bone that forms part of the shoulder and connects to the sternum.
2. Either of the two bones connecting the shoulder blades with the upperpart of the breastbone. 
3. Nontechnical name: collarbone 

Coccygeal Vertebrae: (kɒkˈsɪdʒɪəl ˈvɜːtɪbriː)
n
1. A small triangular bone at the end of the spinal column in man and some apes, representing a vestigial tail.
2. A segment of the bony spinal column in the lower portion of the back. Formed by a fusion of four vertebra. See Coccyx

Coccyx: (ˈkɒksɪks)
n
A small triangular bone at the end of the spinal column in man and some apes, representing a vestigial tail. 

Collarbone: (ˈkɒləˌbəʊn)
n
Nontechnical name for Clavicle

Consonant: (ˈkɒnsənənt)

n
A speech sound or letter of the alphabet other than a vowel; a stop, fricative, or continuant.

Continuant: (kənˈtɪnjʊənt)

n

A speech sound, such as /l/, /r/, /f/, or /s/, in which the closure of the vocal tract is incomplete, allowing the continuous passage of the breath.

Conus Elasticus: (ˈkəʊnəs ɪˈlæstɪkəs)
n
1. Thickened laryngeal membrane that lines the interior of the larynx and extends from the cricoid to the vocal ligaments.
2. The Conus Elasticus connects the cricoid cartilage with the thyroid and arytenoid cartilages. It is composed of dense fibroconnective tissue with abundant elastic fibres. It can be described as having two parts:
- The medial cricothyroid ligament is a thickened anterior part of the membrane that connects the anterior apart of the arch of the cricoid cartilage with the inferior border of the thyroid membrane.
- The lateral cricothyroid membranes originate on the superior surface of the cricoid arch and rise superiorly and medially to insert on the vocal process of the arytenoid cartilages posteriorly, and to the interior median part of the thyroid cartilage anteriorly.
- Its free borders form the vocal ligaments. 

Corniculates: (kɔːˈnɪkjʊˌleɪt)
adj
1. Minor laryngeal cartilages located in the region of the arytenoid cartilages.
2. Having horns or hornlike projections.
3. Relating to or resembling a horn. 

Coronal: (kəˈrəʊnəl)
adj
Division of an object into front and back.

Corpus: (ˈkɔːpəs)
n
The main part of an anatomical organ or structure.

Cranial Bones: (ˈkreɪnɪəl bəʊnz)
n
Bones of the head.

Cricoarytenoid: (ˈkraɪkəʊ'ˌærɪˈtiːnɔɪd)
n
Relating to the cricoid and arytenoid cartilages (cricoarytenoid muscle, cricoarytenoid joint)

Cricoid Cartilage: (ˈkraɪkɔɪd ˈkɑːtɪlɪdʒ)
n
The lower of the two main cartilages that form the larynx. The Cricoid Cartilage is used when shouting & belting.

Cricotracheal: (ˈkraɪkəʊ' trəˈkiːəl)
adj
Relating to the cricoid cartilage and the tracheal rings (cricotracheal membrane).

Cuneiform: (ˈkjuːnɪˌfɔːm)
adj
1. Wedge-shaped
2. A minor laryngeal cartilage in the region of the arytenoid cartilages.

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D

Dental: (ˈdɛntəl)
adj
Of or relating to the teeth. We most frequently use the term dental when discussing phonemes created by using the teeth & another articulators.

Depressor Anguli Oris: (dɪˈprɛsə ˈæŋɡjʊlai ˈɒrɪs)
n
Facial muscle that pulls down the corners of the mouth.

Depressor Labii Inferioris: (dɪˈprɛsə leybaɪ ɪnˈfɪərɪɒrɪs)
n
Facial muscle that depresses the lower lip.

Depressor: (dɪˈprɛsə)
n
Any muscle that lowers a part.

Diaphragm: (ˈdaɪəˌfræm)
n
Anatomy. Any separating membrane, esp. the dome shaped muscular partition that separates the abdominal & thoracic cavities in mammals.
Diaphragmatic adj, Diaphragmatically adv

Dorsum: (ˈdɔːsəm)
n
The upper or posterior surface of any part (tongue).

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E

Elevator: (ˈɛlɪˌveɪtə)
n
Any muscle that raises a structure.

Enunciate: (ɪˈnʌnsɪˌeɪt)
vb
To articulate or pronounce (words), esp. clearly & distinctly.
Enunciation n

Epiglottis: (ˌɛpɪˈɡlɒtɪs)
n
A thin cartilaginous flap that covers the entrance to the larynx during swallowing, preventing food from entering the trachea.

Erector Spinae: (ɪˈrɛktə spī'nē)
n. pl.
Posterior thoracic muscles that may have anchoring benefits.

Estill Model: (ɛstl mɒdl)
n
1. Named after Jo Estill, who pioneered research into the function of the larynx & their constituent parts.
2. The only model of vocal function that is based in scientific research, anatomy & physiology.

Ethmoid: (ˈɛθmɔɪd)
adj
Denoting or relating to a bone of the skull that forms part of the eye socket and the nasal cavity.
n
A small, cranial bone located behind the eye orbits and nose.

Eustachian Tube: (juːsteɪʃən tjuːb)
n
The tube leading from the middle ear to the nasopharynx.

Exhalation:(eks'hə-lɑː’shən)
n
Breathing Out

Expiratory Reserve: (ɪkˈspaɪərətərɪ rɪˈzɜːv)
n
The amount of air exhaled beyond that of a normal tidal volume cycle.

External Intercostal: (ɪkˈstɜːnəl ˌɪntəˈkɒstəl)
n
Muscles of forced inspiration whose action elevates the ribs.

External Oblique Abdominis: (ɪkˈstɜːnəəˈbliːk æbdɒmɪnɪs)
n
Muscles of forced expiration whose actions flex the vertebral column, compress the abdomen, and rotate the trunk.

Extrinsic: (ɛkˈstrɪnsɪk)
adj
Generally refers to a structure originating outside of the part where fund or upon which it acts.

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F

Facial Bones: (ˈfeɪʃəl bəʊnz)
n
Bones of the face.

False Ribs: (fɔːls rɪbz)
n
Ribs that are connected o the sternum via a cartilaginous extension of the rib.

Falsetto: (fɔːlˈsɛtəʊ)
n
1. a form of vocal production used by male singers to extend their range upwards.
2. Estill Model. A vocal setting used by both men and women. Commonly referred to as 'head-voice' in female singers. 

False Vocal Folds: (fɔːls ˈvəʊkəfəʊldz)
n
1. The folds above the true vocal folds found within the larynx.
2. Fleshy structures that lie superior and lateral to the vocal folds. These can be adducted to create sound. See Ventricular Folds.

Filter: (ˈfɪltə)
n
Includes structures in the throat, nose, and mouth. The filter is responsible for shaping the tone that is produced during phonation.

Fissure: (ˈfɪʃə)
n
A deep furrow/slit (cranial).

Floating Ribs: (ˈfləʊtɪŋ rɪbz)
n
Ribs that are attached to the vertebral column and not to the sternum.

Frequency: (ˈfriːkwənsɪ)
n
The number of times a periodic phenomenon occurs within a specified time (cycle). The frequency of phonation is measured as the number of times the vocal folds vibrate per second and is the acoustic equivalent to pitch. See Hertz.

Fricative: (ˈfrɪkətɪv)

n
A continuant consonant produced by partial occlusion of the air stream, such as /f/ or /z/.

Frontal bone: (ˈfrʌntəl bəʊn)
n
The cranial bone that defines the forehead and the eye orbits.

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G

Genioglossus: (dʒiːnəʊɡlɒsəs)
n
One of the paired muscles pertaining to the tongue. Retracts, protrudes and depresses the tongue.

Glossopalatine: (ɡlɒsəʊpælætaɪn)
n
Muscles of the oropharynx responsible for raining the back of the tongue and for depressing the velum. Forms the anterior faucial pillar. See Palatoglossus.

Glossophobia: (glô'sə'fəʊbɪə)
n
Fear of Public Speaking; also known as Stagefright (click here to read more)

Glottal: (ˈɡlɒtəl)
adj
1. Of or relating to the glottis
2. Phonetics. Articulated or pronounced at or with the glottis. See Onset & Offset

Glottis: (ˈɡlɒtɪs)
n
Part of the vocal apparatus of the larynx, consisting of the two true vocal folds & the opening between them.

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H

Head: (hɛd)
n
1. The top part of a human or the foremost part of an animal that contains and protects the brain, eyes, mouth, and nose and ears when present.
2. May also pertain to the foremost part of a structure (ribcage).

Hertz: (hɜːts)
n
1. A measure of cycles per second. See Frequency.
2. The derived SI unit of frequency; the frequency of a periodic phenomenon that has a periodic time of 1 second; 1 cycle per second (Hz). 

Hyoepiglottic Ligament: (haɪəʊɛpɪˈɡlɒtɪk ˈlɪɡəmənt)
n
The ligament that connects the hyoid bone and the epiglottis.

Hyoglossus: (haɪəʊɛɡlɒsəs)
n
A muscle of the tongue. Pulls the side of the tongue down and back.

Hyoid Bone: (ˈhaɪɔɪd bəʊn)
n
The bone from which the larynx are suspended. The root of the tongue is connected to the Hyoid bone above & the larynx below. 

Hypernasal: (ˈhaɪpəˈneɪzəl)
n
Excessive nasality (when the velum is habitually maintained in a 'mid' position, allowing air & sound to escape into the nasal cavity during voicing).

Hyponasal: (ˈhaɪpəʊˈneɪzəl)
n
Deficient nasality (then the velum is habitually maintained in a heightened position, stopping air from entering the nasal cavity during nasal phonemes; m, n & ng).

Hypopharynx: (ˈhaɪpəʊˈfærɪŋks)
n
The portion of the pharynx pertaining to the larynx. See Laryngopharynx.

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I

Ilium: (ˈɪlɪəm)
n
The thin, win-like projection of the hipbone.

Inferior: (ɪnˈfɪərɪə)
n
Situated below.

Inferior Longitudinal: (ɪnˈfɪərɪə ˌlɒndʒɪˈtjuːdɪnəl)
n
An intrinsic muscle of the tongue. Pulls the tip of the tongue downward and assists in retracting the tongue.

Inferior Nasal Concha: (ɪnˈfɪərɪə ˈneɪzəˈkɒŋkə)
n
A paired bone of the nose that contributes to the nasal filtering system. See Turbinates. Plural: Conchae (ˈkɒŋkiː)

Inferior Pharyngeal Constrictor: (ɪnˈfɪərɪə ˌfærɪnˈdʒiːəl kənˈstrɪktə)
n
The most inferior (lowest) and strongest of the pharyngeal constrictors. The inferior portion of this muscle becomes the cricopharyngeus.

Inflection: (ɪnˈflɛkʃən)
n
Modulation/Change (through variation of pitch) of the voice.

Infrahyoid: Muscles that attach on the lower part of or below the hyoid bone (sternothyroid).

Inhalation: Breathing In

Inspiration: Breathing In

Inspiratory Reserve: The amount of air inhaled beyond that of a normal tidal volume cycle.

Interarytenoid Between the arytenoid cartilages (interarytenoid muscle).

Internal Intercostal: Muscles of respiration that run parallel to the innermost intercostals.

Internal Oblique Abdominis: A muscle of respiration that rotates and flexes the trunk and compresses the abdomen.

Intertracheal Membrane: the continuous fibroelastic membrane that blends between each tracheal ring.

Intonation: (ˌɪntəʊˈneɪʃən)
n
1. The sound pattern of phrases & sentences produced by pitch variation in the voice.
2. The act or manner of intoning

Intonation Pattern:
n (Linguistics)
A characteristic series of musical pitch levels that serves to distinguish between questions, statements, & other type of utterances.  

Intrapleural Space: The invisible space that exists between the visceral pleura and the parietal pleura.

Intrinsic: On the inside of the anatomical part.

Ischium: the lower and posterior part of the hipbone.

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J

Jaw: (dʒɔː)
n
Also known as the mandible. The part of the skull of a vertebrate that frames the mouth and holds the teeth. In higher vertebrates it consists of the upper jaw (maxilla) fused to the cranium & the lower jaw (mandible).

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K

Kinaesthesia/Kinaesthetic Awareness:  (ˌkɪnɪsˈθiːzɪə)
n
The sensation bu which bodily position, weight, muscle tension & movement are perceived & monitored. Also called Muscle Memory

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L

Laryngeal: (ˌlærɪnˈdʒiːəl)
adj 
Of or relating to the larynx (see below).

Laryngitis: (ˌlærɪnˈdʒaɪtɪs)
n
Inflammation of the larynx.

Larynx: (ˈlærɪŋks)
n 
A cartilaginous & muscular hollow organ [found in the neck] forming part of the air passage to the lungs: it contains the vocal folds. The larynx is commonly known as the 'voicebox'. 

Linguistics: (ˌlærɪnˈdʒaɪtɪs)
n
The scientific study of language. 

Lung/Lungs: (ˈləŋ)
n
Either of the two saclike organs of respiration that occupy the pulmonary cavity of the thorax and in which aeration of the blood takes place. It is common for the right lung, which is divided into three lobes, to be slightly larger than the left, which has two lobes.

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M

Mandible: (ˈmændɪb ə l)
n
Also known as the jaw.

Maxilla: (mækˈsɪlə)
n
The upper jawbone.

Muscle Memory:
n
See Kinaesthesia

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N

Nasal: (ˈneɪz ə l)
adj
1. Of or relating to the nose.
2. Phonetics. pronounced with the soft palate lowered allowing air to escape via the nasal cavity instead of or as well as through the mouth.
3. A nasal speech sound.
Nasality n. 

Nasal Passages:
See Sinuses.

Nasopharynx: (ˌneɪzəʊˈfærɪŋks)

n
The part of the pharynx behind & above the soft palate, directly continuous with the nasal passages.

Nodule/Node(ˈnɒdjuːl / nəʊd)
n
A bulge, protuberance or swelling. Vocal fold nodules are caused due to prolonged trauma. See the Vocal Health section for more information.

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O

Occlusion:
n
Phonetics: The complete closure of the vocal tract at some point, as in the closure prior to the articulation of a plosive.

Oesophagus: (iːˈsɒfəɡəs)
n
The part of the alimentary canal between the pharynx & the stomach. Also known as the gullet.

Offset: (ôf'sět')
n
1.The ending of something.
2. Phonetics. The end of a set of vocal fold vibrations.
3. Phonetics. Glottal Offset - The end of a cycle of vocal fold vibrations caused by closing the vocal folds & stopping both sound & the flow of air from the lungs.

Onset: (ˈɒnˌsɛt)
n
1. The beginning of something.
2. Phonetics. The beginning of a cycle of vocal fold vibrations.
3. Phonetics. Glottal Onset - The beginning of a cycle of vocal fold vibrations caused by holding the vocal folds together prior to making sound & the releasing the closure into immediate sound. 

Oral: (ˈɔːrəl)
adj
Of or relating to the mouth or oral cavity.

Oral Stereognosis:
The ability to change the natural pronunciation of both vowels & consonants to affect a change in accent. Often known by actors as 'a good ear for accents'.

Oropharynx: (ôr'ō-fār'ĭngks) 
n. 
The pharynx between the soft palate & the epiglottis.

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P

Pharynx: (ˈfærɪŋks)
n
The part of the alimentary canal between the mouth & the oesophagus.

Pharyngeal: (ˌfærɪnˈdʒiːəl)
adj
Of or relating to the pharynx

Phonate: (fəʊˈneɪt)
vb. 
To articulate speech sounds, esp. to cause the vocal folds to vibrate in the execution of a voiced speech sound. In other words, to create spoken sound. 

Phoneme: (ˈfəʊniːm)
n
Linguistics.
One of the set of speech sounds in any given language that serve to distinguish one word from another. A phoneme may consist of several phonetically distinct articulations, which are regarded as identical by native speakers, since one articulation may be substituted without any change of meaning. Thus /p/ & /b/ are separate phonemes in English because they distinguish such words as pet & bet, whereas the light & dark /l/ sounds in little are not separate phonemes since they may be transposed without changing meaning.

Phonetics: (fəˈnɛtɪks)
n 
The science concerned with the study of speech processes, including the production, perception & analysis of speech sounds from both an acoustic & a physiological point of view. Click here for a key to British RP Phonetic Symbols.

Pitch: (pɪtʃ)
vb (Music)
1. The auditory property of a note that is conditioned by its frequency relative to other notes: high pitch; low pitch.
2. An absolute frequency assigned to a specific note, fixing the relative frequencies of all other notes. The fundamental frequencies of the note A-G, in accordance with the frequency A = 440 hertz, were internationally standardised & accepted in 1939. 

Plosive: (ˈpləʊsɪv)

n
Phonetics: a consonant sound characterized by the momentary blocking (occlusion) of some part of the oral cavity.

Projection: (prəˈdʒɛkʃən)
n
The act of producing a focused & relatively loud vocal sound. 

Pulmonary: (ˈpʌlmənərɪ)
adj
1. Of or relating to the lungs.
2. Having lungs or lunglike organs.

Pulmonary Cavity:
n
Of or relating to the area in the thorax that houses the lungs.

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Q

 

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R

Received Pronunciation (RP): (rɪˈsiːvd prəˌnʌnsɪˈeɪʃən)
n
the pronunciation of British English considered to have the widest geographical distribution & the fewest regional peculiarities, originally the pronunciation of educated speakers in southern England & traditionally that used in the public schools & at Oxford & Cambridge universities, adopted by many speakers elsewhere in England & widely used in broadcasting.

Respiration: (ˌrɛspəˈreɪʃən)
n
1. the process in living organisms of taking in oxygen from the surroundings & giving out carbon dioxide (external respiration). In terrestrial animals this is effected by breathing air.
2. the chemical breakdown of complex organic substances, such as carbohydrates and fats, that takes place in the cells and tissues of animals & plants, during which energy is released & carbon dioxide produced (internal respiration)

Rhetoric: (ˈrɛtərɪk)
n
1. The study of the technique of using language effectively.
2. The art of using speech to persuade, influence, or please; oratory.

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S

Sing: (sɪŋ)
vb
1. To produce or articulate (sounds, words, a song, etc) with definite & usually specific musical intonation.
2. To perform (a song) to accompaniment
3. To tell a story or tale in song
Singing adj, n. 

Soft Palate:
n
See Velum.

Speech: (spiːtʃ)
n
1. The act or faculty of speaking, esp. as possessed by persons.
2. That which is spoken; utterance.
3. A talk or address delivered to an audience.
4. A person's characteristic manner of speaking.
5. A national or regional language or dialect. 

Stagefright:
See Glossophobia or click here.

Syllable: (ˈsɪləb ə l)
n
A combination or set of one or more units of sound in a language that must consist of a sonorous element (a consonant or vowel) & may or may not contain less sonorous elements (consonants or semivowels) flanking it on either or both sides: for example "paper" has two syllables.

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T

TemperVox: n
Temper (ˈtɛmpə) Verb

  • To make more temperate, acceptable or suitable by adding something else; moderate: he tempered his criticism with kindly sympathy
  • To strengthen or toughen
  • Music
    • To adjust the frequency differences between the notes of a scale in order to allow modulation into other keys.
    • To make such an adjustment into the pitches of notes.
  • A rare word for adapt.
  • An archaic word for mix. 

Vox (vɒksNoun

  • Voice
    • Found in Act V, Scene I of Twelfth Night. Feste says to Olivia. “You must allow vox”

Temporal Bone:
n
Either of two compound bones forming part of the sides & base of the skull: they surround the organs of hearing & are also the point at which the jaw is joined to the skull by the temporal mandible joint (TMJ)

Thorax: (ˈθɔːræks)
n
The part of the human body enclosed by the ribs. 

Thyroid Cartilage:
n
A major component of the larynx. The front of which protrudes from the front of the neck & the protrusion is often referred to as the 'Adam's Apple' in adult males.

Timbre(ˈtɪmbə, ˈtæmbə, French  tɛ̃brə)
n
1. Phonetics - the distinctive tone quality differentiating one vowel or sonant from another.
2. Music - tone colour or quality of sound, especially a specific type of tone colour. 

TMJ - Temporal Mandible Joint:
n
The joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull. The TMJ can be found by placing your fingers just in front of the ears & opening & closing the mouth.

Tone: (təʊn)
n
1. Sound with reference to quality, pitch or volume.
2. Linguistics - any of the pitch levels or pitch contours at which a syllable may be pronounced, such as high tone, falling tone etc.
3. The quality or character of a sounds: a nervous tone of voice
Also see Timbre 

Trachea: (trəˈkiːə)
n
Anatomy. Also known as the windpipe. The membranous tube with cartilaginous rings that conveys inhaled air from the larynx to the bronchi.

Tracheal Pull:
n
The effect (researched by Johan Sundberg) of taking a very deep & 'low pitch' breath on lowering of the position of the larynx. Causing a 'pull' on the larynx & making sound production less efficient. 

True Vocal Folds:
n
Found within the larynx. Used for vocal production. The folds vibrate together when air is passed between them to create voice/voiced sound.

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U

Uvula: (ˈjuːvjʊlə)
n , pl -las , -lae
A small fleshy finger-like flap of tissue that hangs in the back of the throat & is an extension of the soft palate.

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V

Velum: (ˈviːləm)
n
The posterior fleshy portion of the roof of the mouth. It forms a movable muscular flap that seals off the nasopharynx during swallowing & speech.

Vocal: (ˈvəʊk ə l)
adj. 
1. Of, relating to, or designed for the voice.
2. Produced or delivered by the voice.
3. Connected with an attribute or the production of the voice. 

Vocal Cords:
See Vocal Folds.

Vocal Folds:
n
Either of two pairs of mucomembranous folds in the larynx. The upper pair (False Vocal Folds) are not concerned with vocal production; the lower pair (True Vocal Folds) can be made to vibrate & produce sound when they are engaged whilst air from the lungs is passed between them (Glottis).

Voice: (vɔɪs)
n.
1. The sound made by the vibration of the vocal folds, esp. when modified by the resonant effect of the pharyngeal (Pharynx), oral and/or nasal tracts & the articulators.
2. The natural and distinctive tone of the speech sounds characteristic of a particluar person.
3. The ability to speak, sing etc.
4. Phonetics. The sound characterising the articulation of several speech sounds, including all vowels or consonants, that is produced when the vocal folds make loose contact with each other & are set in vibration by the breath as it passes between them, through the glottis.
5. To articulate (a speech sound) with voice.
6. A means of expressing your innermost thoughts & feelings. 

Voicebox:
n
See Larynx.

Vowel: (ˈvaʊəl)

n
Phonetics: a voiced speech sound whose articulation is characterized by the absence of friction-causing obstruction in the vocal tract, allowing the breath stream free passage. The timbre of a vowel is chiefly determined by the position of the tongue & the lips.

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W

Windpipe:
See Trachea.

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X

Xiphoid: (ˈzɪfɔɪd)
adj
Of or relating to the xiphisternum. Also called Xiphoid Process.

Xiphisternum: (zĭf'ĭ-stûr'nəm)
n
(anatomyzoologythe cartilaginous process forming the lowermost part of the breastbone (sternum). Found in the solarplexis. Also called xiphoid, xiphoid process

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Y

Yawn(jɔːn)
n
The act of opening the mouth widely, whilst taking a deep inhalation of breath, often as an involuntary reaction to tiredness, sleepiness or boredom. It has frequently been used as an exercise in singing & is associated with 'opening the throat' for in order to aquire more pharyngeal space (however it can also induce tracheal pull which is counter to effective vocal production). 

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Z

Zygomatic Arch: (zaɪɡəʊˈmætɪk ɑːtʃ)

Zygomaticus Major: (zaɪɡəʊˈmætɪkəs meɪdʒə)
n
The zygomaticus extends from each zygomatic arch (cheekbone) to the corners of the mouth. It raises the corners of the mouth when a person smiles. Dimples may be caused by variations in the structure of this muscle.

Zygomaticus Minor: (zaɪɡəʊˈmætɪkəs maɪnə)
n
The zygomaticus minor is a muscle of facial expression. It originates from malar bone and continues with orbicularis oculi on the lateral face of the Levator labii superioris and then inserts into the outer part of the upper lip. Do not confuse this with the Zygomaticus major, which insets into the angle of the mouth. It draws the upper lip backward, upward, and outward (used in making sad facial expressions). Like all muscles of facial expression, it is innervated by the facial nerve (CN VII).The zygomaticus minor is sometimes referred to as the "zygomatic head" of the Levator labii superioris muscle.

Zzz:
vb
Sleep & rest is essential to healthy & effective vocal production.

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© TemperVox Ltd - April 2011
Updated May 2015

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