Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Titel:
Researches in experimental phonetics
Person:
Scripture, Edward Wheeler
PURL:
https://digitalesammlungen.uni-weimar.de/viewer/image/lit21940/124/
WAVE ANALYSIS IN REFERENCE TO VOCAL ACTION. 
Ill 
was, can be seen from the statement of Helmholtz that, when the edges 
strike together, the sound must be sharp as from striking musical reeds* 
The stroboscopic observations of Rethi, however, show that in the male 
glottis the edges usually strike. Krause reports the case of a tenor whose 
glottal lips looked like two ridges of red flesh and whose tones appeared 
nevertheless unusually sweet and soft. Imhoferf observed a singer with 
hypertrophy of one of the ventricular bands so that the glottal lip appeared 
as only a small edge beneath the heavy mass of the ventricular band resting 
upon it; with this apparently unavailable organ he is a successful tenor 
on one of the largest German stages. Both these cases can be understood 
on the puff theory, according to which the glottal lips in most cases come 
together at each vibration and open only to emit the puff of air. This 
theory will now be discussed. 
According to the “puff theory” of Willis and Hermann the glottis 
emits a series of more or less sharp puffs; each puff, striking a vocal 
cavity, produces a vibration whose period is that of the cavity; a single 
wave-group shows the sum of these vibrations from all the cavities; the 
periods of these vibrations may stand in any relation to the interval at 
which the puffs come, that is, to the fundamental. 
This theory is certainly correct in asserting that the glottal tone (the 
fundamental) consists of a series of more or less sharp puffs. Many of 
the vowel curves (see [a] and [o] in the Depew and Cock Robin plates) 
show groups of vibrations of which the first is slightly larger, as if it 
had resulted from a sudden impulse. The vowel curves can be counter¬ 
feited by apparatus built to apply sharp puffs to damped springs; some 
experiments in this direction will be described in Chapter X below. The 
puff action of the vocal lips has, moreover, been directly observed for 
male bass voices by the laryngo-stroboscope. 
The more sudden the puffs the more unlike they are to a simple sinu¬ 
soid and the more completely they will fail to appear as a fundamental 
in a simple harmonic analysis. The relation between the amplitude of 
the chief cavity tone and that of the fundamental indicated by a simple 
harmonic analysis can be used directly as an index of the sharpness of 
the puffs; a weak first harmonic with a strong higher one indicates a 
strong sharp puff; a strong first harmonic indicates either a smooth puff 
or the presence of a cavity tone of the same period as the puffs. 
As shown by the hundreds of analyses made by Hermann and my¬ 
self, the theory is also correct in asserting that the pitch of a cavity tone 
is to a great extent independent of the interval of the puffs. A sharp 
puff acting on a cavity will arouse a vibration whose period is that natural 
* Helmholtz, Lehre v. d. Tonempfindungen, 5. Aufl., 169, Leipzig, 1896. 
t Imhofer, Die Krankheiten der Singstimme, 25, Berlin, 1904.
        

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