The Chemistry of Singing

Introduction

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Singing is an art form in which a person uses their vocal folds, diaphragm, lungs, tongue, and larynx together to create different pitches and tones. The combination of all of the muscles create a melodious sound known as singing. Each muscle is used in different ways to produce the sound. For example, the lungs provide the air that causes the diaphragm to expand and contract, the air then flows through the vocals folds located inside the larynx causing the folds to vibrate which makes the surrounding air particles vibrate which our ears perceive as sound. The vocal folds separate and come together to create different pitches, along with expanding and contracting. The tongue, cheeks and lips are used to help with annunciation which creates words. With all muscles used together sound is produced, although some people's sounds are better than others.


The main reason I chose this topic to research is because I myself have been singing for as long a I can remember. Singing has proven to make people happy and even reduce stress. As for me singing is one of my many hobbies and I see it as an escape for the harsh world around us. I truly believe that everyone can sing. We all have the essential body parts used in singing, so there for everyone can sing, it’s all in deciding to participate.


I sing everyday, so singing affects my life a lot! I sing to express emotions for example when I'm sad or even happy. It is proven that when you sing your body releases endorphins that affect your mood. Endorphins are chemicals that physically block cells that are responsible for certain emotions including pain, so when you singing your body actually feels better. Also when the body lacks the endorphins it can increase your chances of OCD and your stress. So whenever I'm feeling down is sing to improve my mood. Without singing or music throughout the day I would constantly be grumpy.


Composition of ...

Many muscles and body parts are used to sing including the larynx, vocal folds, lungs, diaphragm, tongue, and even cheeks.

  • Larynx

    • a.k.a. The voice box is where the vocal folds are held, the vocal folds are small mucus covered flaps that vibrate when air passes through them to create sound. The Larynx is made of different forms of cartilage, and is located at the top of the trachea.

  • Vocal Folds

    • Mucus covered folds, also known as Lamina propria, that vibrate when air passes past them. Located within the Larynx the folds open and close and even hit together to create sounds whether it be singing or even talking.

  • The lungs

    • Provides oxygen to all parts of the body along with the fact that when you inhale through your lungs the air passes through your larynx and vocal folds. Thus, the lungs are responsible for creating the sound because they direct the air that causes the folds to vibrate.

  • The diaphragm

    • Helps transfer the air from the lungs to the larynx. It is responsible for the speed and force of the air as well. as we inhale our diaphragm contracts making the lungs expand and air to flow in, as we exhale the diaphragm relaxes allowing the lungs to reduce in size and release air. Your diaphragm also controls the speed of the air and also the amount of force behind the air. This creates different aspects in the sound produced when singing.

  • The Cheeks and Tongue

    • They are responsible for the annunciation of the words when singing and also help with tone. Without the cheeks and tongue, you wouldn't be able to pronounce any words. These are known as the articulators.

Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components

The two Main components of singing are the Larynx, and the vocal folds

  • Larynx-

    • The Larynx, also known as the voice box, is the passageway for air, food and liquids, its is located behind the nose and mouth and connects them to the breathing passages. Composed mainly of laryngeal cartilage, it is made of four kinds of cartilage the cricoid, epiglottis, paired arytenoids, and shield like thyroid cartilage.

      • Cartilage-  is a flexible connective tissue located between bones and joints

      • cartilage is composed of cells called chondrocytes that produces large amounts of collagenous extracellular matrix

      • major extracellular matrix is collagen type 2, and the aggrecan protein.

      • collagens element structure is:C2H5NOC5H9NOC5H10NO2

      • Protein element: NH2CHRCOOH (aq) + H (aq) = NH3CHRCOOH (aq)

      • The Larynx is the expanding opening to the trachea

    • The epiglottis closes the Larynx in order for us to swallow without choking

    • The vocal folds are located within the Larynx

  • Vocal Folds-

    • located within the Larynx, air passes through these folds allowing them to vibrate thus creating a sound that we perceive as sound.

    • Composed of twin unfolding a made of mucous membranes stretched horizontally

    • The folds are controlled by the vagus nerve

    • Located in the larynx attached at the top of the trachea and at the back of the arytenoid cartilage, they are a part of the glottis

    • The outside of the folds are attached to the larynx muscles while the interior are free

    • Composed mainly of epithelium but there also have muscle fibers in them called the vocalis muscles which tightens the folds at the front of the thyroid cartilage

    • Flat triangular pearl colored flaps

    • Male vocal folds are thicker than women there for their voices are lower, different thickness of the folds cause different pitches when talking or singing, children's folds are very thin and grow thicker with growth

    • False vocal folds: thick folds of mucous membranes that protect the folds and sit superior in relation to the real vocal folds, they are responsible for screaming voices, and lower tones

    • Lamina propria: moist lining known as mucus membranes of mucosa that lines different parts of the body

    • The mucus ensures flexibility and moisture to the folds

Chemistry's Role

In order to sing, the air we breath passes through the lungs past the trachea and between the vocal folds located within the larynx, which vibrate to create a sound. The larynx is made of cartilage composed of collagen: C2H5NOC5H9NOC5H10NO2  and the aggrecan protein:NH2CHRCOOH (aq) + H (aq) = NH3CHRCOOH (aq). The pitch of the sound created depends on the thickness and distance apart of each vocal fold. The vocal folds are made of mucus membranes that are stretch horizontally over the larynx. Composed mainly of epithelium, and muscle fibers, the folds tighten and release with flexibility due to the mucus. That vibration that is produced disturbs the surrounding particles in the air which cause our ears to pick up the disturbance and transfer it to sound. Although singing is not man made, when listened to it does release endorphins that are proven to decrease stress and even improve a person's mood.

Background Research

Some background information is when you sing endorphins are released. Endorphins are chemicals that physically block cells that are responsible for certain emotions such as pain. It is proven that in the absence of endorphins a person is more susceptible to OCD and stress. There for singing actually improves your mood! This is the reason I sing. More background information includes how the sound is created when the vocal folds vibrate. Sound is a mechanical wave that happens from vibrations (back and forth motion) of particles of the medium through which the sound wave is moving. The reason wavelengths are created is because particles are pushed forward in compressions and rarefactions. When the air passes through the folds it causes them to vibrate which moves the air particles in the back and forth motion thus creating a wavelength that our ears perceive as sound.

Resources

http://www.sciencemadesimple.co.uk/curriculum-blogs/biology-blogs/the-science-of-singing

When singing it makes you happy because endorphins are released such as oxycontin

endorphin is a chemical that physically blocks cells that are responsible for certain emotions and pain

endorphin means morphine inside the body

lack of endorphins may cause OCD

oxycontin increases the feeling of love and trust in a person


http://ideas.time.com/2013/08/16/singing-changes-your-brain/

The vibrations of your singing affects your physical and emotional landscape

the release of the endorphins cause you to lessen anxiety and stress

lowers levels of cortisol, lowering stress level

heart rates may sync when singing in large groups

seen as guided group meditation

there are therapeutic choir sessions to improve depression


http://thesingingvoice.com/about/vocal-anatomy

as we inhale our diaphragm contracts making the lungs expand and air to flow in

as we exhale the diaphragm relaxes allowing the lungs to reduce in size and release air

the exhaled air is passed by the trachea and through the vocal folds making them vibrate

this makes sound

the pitch of the sound is created through the different position of the tongue and the larynx

articulators: cheeks tongue teeth lips

resonating chamber of the voice: sinus chest larynx-the hollow muscular organ forming an air passage to the lungs and holding the vocal cords in  pharynx- the membrane-lined cavity behind the nose and mouth, connecting them to the esophagus

the control of the vocal chamber and diaphragm is how a singer trains their voice

the vocal folds (cords) are connected to the front of the larynx at the adam's apple (thyroid cartilage), and the back of the larynx at the cricoid cartilage- the ring shaped cartilage of the larynx,

these folds come together and move apart causing vibrations causing sound

ended after the top title of the LARYNX


http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1948995-overview

vocal cords-vocal folds located within the larynx at the top of the trachea

they are open during inhaling and close during swallowing, they open and close and vibrate to create sound


http://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/sound/Lesson-1/Sound-is-a-Pressure-Wave

sound is a mechanical wave that happens from vibrations (back and forth motion) of particle of the medium through which the sound wave is moving

the reason wavelengths are created is because particles as pushed forward in compressions and rarefactions, therefore compressions are particles packed tightly and rarefactions are loosely packed together.

Pressure wave- a repeating pattern of high pressure and low pressure, regions moving through a medium



http://www.mediacollege.com/audio/01/sound-waves.html

vibrations caused by an object which cause the air around it to vibrate

the vibrating air causes the eardrum to vibrate which your brain interprets as sound

the waves are three dimensional


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vit

Composed of twin unfolding a made of mucous membranes stretched horizontally

The folds are controlled by the vagus nerve

Located in the larynx attached at the top of the trachea and at the back of the arytenoid cartilage, they are a part of the glottis

The outside of the folds are attached to the larynx muscles while the interior are free

Composed mainly of epithelium but there also have muscle fibers in the called the vocalis muscles which tightens the folds at the front of the thyroid cartilage

Flat triangular pearl colored flaps

The epiglottis closes off the larynx in order for swallowing

Male vocal folds are thicker than women there for their voices are lower, different thickness of the folds cause different pitches when talking or singing, children's folds are very thin and grow thicker with growth

False vocal folds: thick folds of mucous membranes that protect the folds and sit superior in relation to the real vocal folds, they are responsible for screaming voices, and lower tones

Composed of layers

Topmost layer is the stratified squamous epithelium bordered by the ciliated pseudostratified epithelium

Inner lining of the squamous epithelium is coated with a mucus layer( composed of two layers muck nous layer and the serious layer

Ensures flexibility and moisture to the folds

Epidermis layer is secured deeper to the connective tissue it supplies a lot of support due to the fact that it is made primarily of amorphous fibrous, and nonfibours proteins in the lamina propria: collagen IV, VII used to secure the hemidesmosome of basal cell to the lamina propria

Lamina propria: moist lining known as mucus membranes of mucosa that lines different parts of the body

newborns have a monolamina propria, no vocal ligament made of hyaluronic acid,  fibronectin, fibroblasts, elastic fibers, and collagenous fibers

fibronectin binds extracellular matrix components such as collagen, fibrin, and heparan sulfate proteoglycans

hyaluronic acid is a viscous fluid that binds connective tissue and is present in the human eye

fibroblasts are a cell in connective tissue that produces collagen

high in HA hyaluronic acid

very shock absorbant and elastic

the extra HA is the newborns is believed to be a factor of why babies cant articulate words at young ages


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_voice

The action of singing is in fact divided into three different important components the lungs, vocal folds and the larynx

The muscles of the larynx adjust pitch and tone of the singing

The lungs provide air the amount

The vocals folds are vibrated in relation to the amount of air being produced by the lungs


http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0925443904000328

Larynx composition

laryngeal cartilage is composed of four kinds of cartilage the cricoid, epiglottis, paired arytenoids, and shield like thyroid cartilage.

major extracellular matrix of cartilage are collagen type 2, and the aggrecan protein  


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lung

Lung composition

found in mammals near the back bone

the are responsible for the respiratory system transferring oxygen to the blood stream, and taking away CO2

cartilage- is a flexible connective tissue located between bones and joints

cartilage is composed of cells called chondrocytes that produces large amounts of collagenous extracellular matrix


http://www.singwise.com/cgi-bin/main.pl?section=articles&doc=VocalTractShaping

the Larynx is the passageway for air, food and liquids, its is located behind the nose and mouth and connects them to the breathing passages.

AKA the voice box

its is a grouping of cartilages such as the thyroid cricoid and arytenoid

it is the expanding upper opening the the trachea (windpipe)

it can be seen when we swallow from the outside of our necks


http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK26810/

extracellular matrix is a combination of proteins and polysaccharides that bind together in a mesh form


http://www.rsc.org/Education/Teachers/Resources/cfb/proteins.htm

Protein element:NH2CHRCOOH (aq) + H (aq) = NH3CHRCOOH (aq)  


http://creationwiki.org/Collagen

collagen element:C2H5NOC5H9NOC5H10NO2



About the Author
April Kimmel is a junior at Senior High School. She enjoys dancing listening to music and most of all singing. She currently participates in Varsity choir at Senior high and sings at any opportunity she gets. Along with singing she spends most of her time dancing competitively at Diversity Dance Studio. Since her life consists mostly of music, she wishes to continue it into her future in hopes of one day living in Seattle around the amazing music culture. Though April isn't sure what her future holds she hopes to incorporate all of her passions.
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