Welcome to Diction For Singers!

The Singer's Voice: Vocal Tract

Additional Information

Authors Joan Wall and Robert Caldwell
ISBN 1934477144
Length 1 DVD
Price $150.00
B. Raymond Fink, M.D.

“The Vocal Folds videotapes explain how the sounds of the singing voice originate and outline the basic principles of training. Simple but quite accurate colored drawings of the larynx are animated to show the way the parts work together. The narrative is lucid, beautifully spoken, perfectly timed and technically accurate, yet easily understandable to the non-specialist.”
University of Washington School of Medicine.

vocal tract MRI from movie about how to sing

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  • vocal tract MRI from movie about how to sing

The Singer’s Voice Vocal Tract departs from Breath and Vocal Folds: its animation is derived from 87 MRIs taken of a singer as she sang different vowels and consonants—a rare set of materials.

video sample from Vocal Tract

These MRIs were then processed with special graphics tools and recorded in different sequences, which then were overlaid with additional animations, to produce vivid animations of how the articulators shape the air column in the vocal tract—the main benefit you give your students rapidly and effectively

Like Breath and Vocal Folds, it is part of the integrated vocal pedagogy multimedia platform, which frees you to intelligently manage your class time.

The film walks your students through each articulator: the tongue, jaw, lips, soft palate, larynx, and head. They can see vividly what is going on because the different parts are colored. 

For example, in the image from the film in the left column, your students can see the tongue—the large magenta area—standing out from the rest. After the shock of seeing how large the tongue actually is, your students then see in the sequence of different vowels just how astonishing the tongue's range of motions are—a mental concept that greatly eases your teaching flexibility.

With Vocal Tract, you deliver a rich understanding of the IPA, the lingua franca of teaching voice, while supporting the underlying premises in teaching diction. You further help your students with a deep understanding underlying all exercises that involve modifying vowels, aligning formants along vowel tracks, and making consonants musical to enliven a vocal line. 

Understanding the articulators and their impact on resonance from Vocal Tract sets up the next two films: Resonance and The Human Voice.


For the accompanying text, see Beginning the Process, the section "The body: The vocal instrument," and the subsection, "Resonance" beginning on page 189.

For further essays and pragmatic applications of the ideas in this film, see Mastering the Fundamentals and the section "Teaching and Learning Flexible Resonance" beginning on page 191.

For further expansion of how the ideas in this film lead to differences in the voice's registers (timbre), see the sample clip of “formants” from the film The Human Voice

These units represent a small example of the integrated "mix 'n match" materials you can draw from the platform to enrich your teaching.


To see how Vocal Tract fits into the larger multimedia platform, you might explore the following links:

overview of the pedagogy multimedia platform

organization of the pedagogy multimedia platform

reviews from across the multimedia platform

why multimedia?

sample chapter 8 “Breath” (from Mastering the Fundamentals)

sample clip of “sound at the vocal folds” (from The Human Voice)

sample clip of “formants” (from The Human Voice)


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