Evidence for Distinguishing Pressed, Normal, Resonant, and Breathy Voice Qualities by Laryngeal Resistance and Vocal Efficiency in Vocally Trained Subjects


Publication Year


Laryngeal resistance



  • Elizabeth U. Grillo
  • Katherine Verdolini and


Summary The purpose of this study was to determine if pressed, normal, resonant, and breathy voice qualities can be distinguished from one another by laryngeal resistance (LR; cm H2O/l/s) and/or vocal efficiency (VE; dB/cm {H2O} × l/s) in vocally, trained subjects. The experimental design was a within-subjects repeated measures design. Independent variables were pressed, normal, resonant, and breathy voice qualities. Dependent variables were {LR} and VE. Participants were 13 women of age 18–45 years with established vocal expertise. After a brief training phase, subjects were asked to produce each of the voice qualities on the pitch {A3} (220 Hz) at a constant, individually identified comfortable dB level (±1 dB), during a repeated consonant-vowel utterance of /pi pi pi pi pi/. Results indicated that {LR} but not {VE} reliably distinguished pressed, normal, and breathy voice. Neither of the measures, however, distinguished normal from resonant voice, which were distinguished perceptually. The results suggest that {LR} may provide a useful tool for studying the coordinative dynamics of pressed, normal, and breathy voice qualities.

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