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Vocal folds

The vocal folds, also known popularly as vocal cords, are composed of twin infoldings of mucous membrane stretched horizontally across the larynx.

They vibrate, modulating the flow of air being expelled from the lungs during phonation.

Another name for the airway at the level of the vocal cords is the glottis, and the opening between the cords is called the glottic chink.

The size of the glottic chink is important in respiration and phonation.

Open during inhalation, closed when holding one's breath, and held apart just a tiny bit for speech or singing; the folds are controlled via the vagus nerve.

They are white because of scant blood circulation.

The folds vibrate when they are closed to obstruct the airflow through the glottis, the space between the folds: they are forced open by increased air pressure in the lungs, and closed again as the air rushes past the folds, lowering the pressure (Bernoulli's principle).

A person's voice pitch is determined by the resonant frequency of the vocal folds.

In an adult male this frequency averages about 125 Hz, adult females around 210, in children the frequency is over 300 Hz.

The folds vibrate when they are closed to obstruct the airflow through the glottis, the space between the folds: they are forced open by increased air pressure in the lungs, and closed again as the air rushes past the folds, lowering the pressure (Bernoulli's principle).

A person's voice pitch is determined by the resonant frequency of the vocal folds.

In an adult male this frequency averages about 125 Hz, adult females around 210, in children the frequency is over 300 Hz.

Note:   The above text is excerpted from the Wikipedia article "Vocal folds", which has been released under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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September 4, 2015

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