Vocal Fold Mass Is Not A Useful Quantity for Describing F0 in Vocalization

Titze, Ingo R.
April 2011
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Apr2011, Vol. 54 Issue 2, p520
Academic Journal
Purpose: Confusion exists about the effect of mass and size of the vocal folds on fundamental frequency (F0) of phonation. In particular, greater vocal fold thickness is often assumed to be associated with lower F0. The purpose here is to show that such a relationship does not exist and that F0 should be conceptualized with quantities other than mass (i.e., length and tissue stress). Method: Arguments are made on the basis of fundamental laws of mechanics (point-mass vs. distributed mass). Conclusion: In speech science, phonetics, and animal vocalization disciplines, instruction should shift away from point-mass descriptions of vocal fold tissue and toward an understanding of mode frequencies in an elastic continuum.


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