Whenever we produce a vowel sound, our voice muscles are immediately flexed into action. The particular vowel that is produced; the pitch on which it is produced; the volume at which it is produced; the speed at which the vowel may move through our range; the areas in our range (i.e., low, medium, high) where the vowel travels; and the intensity level of the emotion that is expressed—all determine how, and to what extent, the voice muscles are flexed. In my work, I have found five particular vowel sounds that flex the vocal muscles to an exceptional degree. I call these sounds “voice building vowels”; they are:
ah, as in the word father.
eh, as in the word set.
ee, as in the word seed.
oh, as in the word ought.
oo, as in the word boot.
These sounds are five of the seven primary vowels of the Italian language. By following voice building principles, each of the five vowel sounds has a particular effect on the behavior of the vocal muscles. For example, when a singer produces a loud oo, the vowel sound has the immediate affect of depressing his larynx to some degree, as well as causing his soft palate to rise (as we shall see, the two movements are always interconnected). The voice building vowel sounds create five distinctive muscular patterns in the larynx and five different configurations in the pharynx, oral cavity, and soft palate. In total, they serve as the muscular framework from which all other vowel sounds are formed—they are, in other words, the muscular building blocks of your voice.
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