The Science behind the Voice Straw

Background

Ingo TitzeBased on exceptional science and peer-reviewed studies, including pioneering work by voice scientist, Dr. Ingo Titze, we realized the Voice Straw would be the most important tool in a singer’s toolbox.

The straw is a training and rehabilitation tool. It is all about pressure and resistance in the throat. There are plenty of straws out there but The Voice Straw offers a few unique features that truly leverage the science it is founded on.

 

What does the straw do?

  • Trains the posturing of the vocal folds
  • What does the straw do to change the posture of the Vocal Tube-  It lengthens the Epi Laryngeal Space. 

 

Why does this matter?

Straw Phonation

The straw is all about pressure equalization. The opening of the straw diameter is just smaller than the approximation of the average opening of the vocal folds. The smaller the opening the more resistance (aerodynamic pressure) you are getting.  

When the vocal folds vibrate there are varying ranges of open phases and close phases. What we want is to get the average of the opening of the vocal fold movements.  Whatever that average opening your vocal folds are doing it should be very similar to the diameter of the straw, which is why you need to play around with the size.  The idea is that you wouldn’t want a huge diameter in the straw because that would not help with your vocal efficiency. That is why graduating to smaller straw sizes make sense because you are actually closing the vocal folds and putting them in a squared-up position.  

Because there is so much back pressure happening it makes it so you cannot over squeeze. What you are doing is targeting the muscles that put the vocal folds in a squared-up position which then is lowering your phonation threshold pressure.  We are re configuring the posturing of the vocal tract.  

When using the straw, If you try to cough or squeeze, hard glottal attack, you can’t because the back pressure is counter acting.  If you have a breathy voice, then you would get no sound, so you know the straw is bringing it together.  The degree at which it brings the vocal folds together is determined by the diameter of the straw.  

The back pressure does two things:

  1. Lowers the larynx
  2. Increase the epi laryngeal space.  Most likely in in length because it is pushing back the false vocal folds and it’s allowing the larynx to come down. 

So we are looking at the ratio between the Epi Laryngeal Tube and the Pharynx.  The nice things about what the straw does is it lengthens the tube.  You get the feeling of a long narrow tube (long narrow tube of the straw) and a feeling of what inertance (acoustical pressure) does. When you take the straw out hopefully it has trained the muscles to give you a better ratio in the pharynx

Our Thoughts

We believe that the muscles that are activating in straw phonation is the TA.  The LCA muscle is the muscle that does the posterior squeeze so the LCA will be aiding in the un-press and the TA would be in charge of the squaring up.  

Who wouldn’t want to target the TA muscle to tone it up and square up the vocal folds? The straw is a perfect instrument to target the TA muscle and keep the other muscles coordinated.   TA activation is what is need if you experience:

  • Bowing
  • Aging
  • Breathy Sound

If someone is experience crazy TA activation, we are NOT trying to overly activate that muscle or lift weights for the TA.  We are trying to coordinate the muscle balance between the TA muscle and the CT, LCA, and IA to get the best configuration possible.

This is all about training.  The straw is a training tool.

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