Supralaryngeal muscle activity during sustained vibrato in four sopranos: Surface EMG findings

Shimon Sapir, Kristin K. Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Four classically trained sopranos, aged 22-41 years, sustained a vibrato at a comfortable loudness level, and at different vowels (/u/, /i/, or /a/) and pitch levels (220, 277, 349, 440, 554, 698, or 880 Hz). Pairs of surface electrodes were placed on each singer's right side over the submandibular region, the thyroid cartilage, mandibular ramus, and upper lip to record electromyographic (EMG) activity from the anterior suprahyoid (ASH), extralaryngeal (ELAR), massetter (MAS), and perioral (PER) muscles, respectively. A headset-mounted miniature microphone transduced the voice, and a Kay Visi-Pitch extracted the voice fundamental frequency (F0). The output of the Visi-Pitch, a voltage analog of the F0 (VF0), and the EMG signals were digitized, the EMG signals rectified and smoothed, and the VF0 and smoothed EMG signals were subjected to Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) analysis. Spectral peaks in the FFT records indicated vibrato-related activity in the ASH and ELAR muscles, with occasional vibrato-related activity in the MAS and PER muscles. The role of supralaryngeal muscles in vibrato is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-218
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Voice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1993
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgment: The authors wish to thank the reviewers for their helpful comments, and to Drs. Anat Kei-dar and Charles C. Larson for their contribution to this study. This research was supported in part by an NIH/ NICD grant (# 1 R29 DC00591-01A1) and by a grant from the Northwestern University Research Grants Committee, both awarded to S.S.


  • Electromyography
  • Sopranos
  • Supralaryngeal muscles
  • Vibrato

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing
  • LPN and LVN
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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