In linguistics, modal voice is the only phonation found in the vowels and other sonorants (consonants such as m, n, l, and r) of most of the languages of the world, though a significant minority contrast modal voice with other phonations. Among obstruents (consonants such as k, g, ch, j, s, and z), it is very common for languages to contrast modal voice with voicelessness, though in English many supposedly voiced obstruents do not have modal voice in most environments.
In speech pathology, the modal register is one of the four identifiable registers within the the human voice, lying above the vocal fry register and overlaping the lower part of the falsetto register. This view is also adopted by many vocal pedagogists, although some vocal pedagogists may view vocal registration differently. In singing, the modal register may also overlap part of the whistle register. A well trained singer or speaker can phonate two octaves or more within the modal register with consistent production, beauty of tone, dynamic variation, and vocal freedom. The modal register begins and ends in different places within the human voice. The placement of the modal register within the individual human voice is one of the key determining factors in identifying vocal type.
On the lower pitches in the modal register the vocal cords are thick and wedge-shaped. Because of this thickness, large portions of the opposing surfaces of the vocal cords are brought into contact, and the glottis remains closed for a considerable time in each cycle. The glottis opens from the bottom first before it opens at the top; this imparts a fluid, wavelike motion to the cords. The modal voice has a broad harmonic spectrum, rich in overtones, because of this rolling motion of the cords. It is comparatively loud to the other vocal registers because of the vibratory energy present, but is capable of dynamic variation.
For the lowest tones, only the thyroarytenoid muscles are active, but as the pitch rises, the cricothyroids enter the action, thus beginning to lengthen the folds. As longitudinal tension increases, the glottis tends to develop a gap in the middle. To counteract this tendency, the lateral cricoarytenoids are brought into action, pulling forward on the muscular process of the arytenoids. This process is sometimes referred to as medial compression.
In addition to the stretching of the vocal folds and the increasing tension on them as the pitch rises, the opposing surfaces of the folds which may be brought into contact becomes smaller and smaller as the edges of the folds become thinner. The basic vibratory or phonatory pattern remains the same, with the whole vocal fold still involved in the action, but the vertical excursions are not as large and the rolling motion is not as apparent as it was on the lower pitches of the modal register. The physical limits of muscular strength of the internal thyroarytenoids or vocalis muscle are being approached. In order to sing or speak above this pitch level the voice must adopt a new phonatory pattern-to change registers.
Multi-Modal Voice Applications in the Food & Beverage DC: GS1 and Traceability Demands Are Driving Adoption
Aug 01, 2013; The traditional distinction between voice and RF applications is disappearing as old school voice-directed warehouse applications...