Below are images of a normal larynx, offered as a point of comparison for all of the examples of laryngeal diseases and disorders elsewhere on Laryngopedia. One can reasonably call the vocal cords, “laryngeal lips.” Thinking of a trumpeter’s lips as an analogy, he or she separates them to take a breath, and then pinches them together to “buzz” into the mouth piece of the trumpet. Similarly, the laryngeal lips separate for breathing, though in a V-shaped opening, and then press together in a line to “buzz” into the vocal tract. One could almost play the trumpet using the laryngeal lips!

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Vocal cords (1 of 7)

The line of sight is from directly above these open (for breathing) vocal cords, and downward in the line of the trachea. The difference in vocal cord width is not real, but a function of the angle of viewing. This is the position of the vocal cords while breathing.

Vocal cords during voice (2 of 7)

Here the vocal cords are producing sound at G2 (98Hz). Under standard light, vibration is so rapid that it is perceived as a blurring of the margins.

Vibration in rubber bands (3 of 7)

Twang a thick rubber band and you will see the same kind of blurring phenomenon because vibration is so rapid.

Phonation under strobe light (4 of 7)

During voicing (phonation), under strobe light, to provide apparent slow motion view of vibration. This is the closed phase of vibration at A2 (110 Hz, or 110 vibration cycles per second).

Open phase of vibration (5 of 7)

The open phase of vibration, also at A2. For emphasis: This cycling between open and closed phases of vibration occurs 110 times per second at A2!

Clodes phase of vibration (6 of 7)

Now at A4 (440 Hz), this is one of 440 closed phases of vibration per second.

Open phase (7 of 7)

One of 440 open phases of vibration that occurs per second, again as seen under strobe light.
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