14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999


X-Ray Study of a Case of Postural Compensation for Singing in the Upper Register

Nicole Scotto Di Carlo

Laboratoire Parole et Langage, Université de Provence, France

This paper presents a case study of a professional soprano with reduced laryngeal mobility caused by substantial calcification of the laryngeal cartilage. Unlike other singers, she lowers her head when singing high notes. A cephalometric analysis revealed a compensatory posture in the upper register consisting of moving the occipital bone backwards and upwards in such a way that the styloid and mastoid processes are also tipped in those directions. This in turn causes the hyoid bone, which is connected to the styloid and mastoid processes by the lesser cornua, to move up and back. Becoming more vertical, it pulls on the superior cornua of the thyroid cartilage to which it is connected by the hyothyroid membrane. This considerably tilts the thyroid cartilage on the cricoid. In reality, this soprano does not lower her head to sing in the upper register; she moves her occipital bone upwards and backwards in order to achieve greater and thus more effective tilting of the thyroid cartilage.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Scotto Di Carlo, Nicole (1999): "X-ray study of a case of postural compensation for singing in the upper register", In ICPhS-14, 2549-2551.