Human Voice » Sung Voice » Some aspects of the sung voice » Guttural or pectoral sounds

Guttural sounds or pectoral


The French word poitrinage is often used by artists. Above all, it is a supraglottal activity. The artists using guttural sounds are able to vibrate, besides the vocal folds, the vestibular folds (false vocal folds) along with the arytenoid cartilages, aryepiglottic folds and the root or base of the epiglottic cartilage.


Oleg Kuular:  Tuva, singer emitting a low-pitched guttural sound; the vocal folds vibrate at a frequency of 130.8 Hz - C(2) and the false vocal folds and surrounding areas at 65.4 Hz - C(1), approximately.


In general, in spoken voice during guttural phonation, there is loss of sound intensity. However, in singing, especially women make use of this technique because it increases sound intensity, as observed in this recording by the famous Maria Callas.


Maria Callas (1923-1977):    She sings the end of the aria “Suicídio!” in the opera “Gioconda”, by Amilcare Ponchielli and says: “Domando al ciel di dormir quieta dentro l’avel.” (I pray to heaven for quiet sleeping inside the tomb). The guttural technique starts with the word dentro and reaches an admirable intensity on l’avel. Recorded in 1952.



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