VOICE, an audible sound produced by the larynx, and effected by its passage outward through the mouth and other cavities. When so modified in particular ways it becomes speech or song. The main difference between these two latter are that speech is more limited in com pass or pitch, that it is less sustained in respect of pitch, and is not confined to the notes of a musical scale, that it is associated with a less clear or open pas sage for the breath, and that it presents certain utterances (consonantal, as pirate, guttural, etc.) which have not a purely musical character. The larynx is the organ by which the so-called vocal sounds (or primary elements of speech) are produced; and it was in former times keenly debated to which class of musical instruments the larynx might best be compared. Dr. Witkowski says ("Mechanism of Voice, Speech, and Taste") : "Galien compares it to a flute, Majendie to a hautboy, Despiny to a trombone, Diday to a hunting horn, Savart to a bird catcher's call, Biot to an organ pipe, Malgaigne to the little instrument used by the exhibitors of Punch, and Ferrein to a spinet or harp sichord. The last named compared the lips of the glottis to the strings of a violin; hence was given the name vocal chords, which they still retain. The cur rent of air was the bow, the exertion of the chest and lungs the hands which carried the bow, the thyroid cartilages the points d'appui, the arytenoids the pegs, and, lastly, the muscles inserted in them the power which tensed or re laxed the chords." In different larynxes much depends on the relative sizes of the vocal chords; thus a man with a bass voice has longer vocal chords than a child or woman; but as between basses and tenors, tenors and contraltos, or contraltos and so pranos, the higher voice may sometimes appear to have the longer vocal chord; on the other hand, slenderness of structure makes up for greater length, and when the vocal chords are long and slender, the voice is "flexible," for the chords readily enter into vibration. Further, a narrow larynx is conducive to high pitch, and so is not only the size but also the form of the female larynx, in which the upper part, above the false vocal chords, and between them and the hyoid bone, is comparatively flat. In children the larynx is small, and the voice high-pitched; but the larynx grows very rapidly at puberty; and as its dif ferent parts do not then grow with pro portionate rapidity, the muscular con trol is uncertain, and the voice, espe cially in boys, breaks.
Modifications in the form of the res onating cavities result, by resonance, in those modifications of timbre which we call vowels. In pronouncing u (=oo or Italian u) we round the lips and draw down the tongue, so that the cavity of the mouth assumes the form of a bottle without a neck; if the lips be opened somewhat wider and the tongue be somewhat raised, we hear o; if the lips be wide open and the tongue in its natural flat position, we hear a; if the lips be fairly open and the back of the tongue raised at the same time, the vowel produced is e; and if we raise the tongue still higher, and narrow the lips, we hear '1. Each of these resonance chamber forms has its own dimensions and its own resonance pitch; and of these u has the lowest pitch, as may be heard by whispering the vowels, or by means of a series of tuning forks suc cessively re-enforced by the cavity of the mouth as a resonator; for which reason it is easier to sing u and o on low than on high notes. Diphthongs are produced by continuing the laryngeal sound during the transition from one vowel-mouth-form to another. Conso nants are produced by various interrup tions, total or partial, of the outflowing stream of air. If the air be completely stopped by the lips and soft palate, we have p when the obstruction is suddenly removed; the same action, accompanied by a certain continued sound in the larynx, and a heavier air pressure with in the mouth, gives b; if the air be checked by the lips but not by the soft palate, so that it passes through the nose alone, we have in; if it be checked by the soft palate and by bringing the point of the tongue to the front of the palate, or to the gums, we have t; the same with continued laryngeal sound and greater air pressure gives d; the action for d, modified by allowing a little air to escape over the soft palate through the nose, gives n; if the air be checked by the soft palate and by bring ing the middle or back of the tongue to the arch of the palate, we have (silent) k and (if there be laryngeal sound) g; the latter, but with the nasal passage open, gives ng.