Role of vertical larynx movement and cervical lordosis in F0 control

Lang Speech. Oct-Dec 1999;42 ( Pt 4):401-11. doi: 10.1177/00238309990420040301.


The role of vertical larynx movement in vocal frequency (F0) change has attracted the attention of many researchers. Recently, Hirai, Honda, Fujimoto, and Shimada (1994) proposed a mechanism of F0 control by vertical larynx movement based on the measurement of magnetic resonance images (MRI). In F0 changes, the larynx moves vertically along the cervical spine, which displays anterior convexity (lordosis) at the level of the larynx. Therefore, the vertical larynx movement results in the rotation of the cricoid cartilage and vocal fold tension changes. The present study reexamines the above mechanism based on a qualitative analysis of midsagittal MRI data using three male subjects with evident cervical lordosis. Tracings of the jaw, hyoid bone, laryngeal cartilage, and cervical spine were compared in high and low F0 ranges. In the high F0 range, the hyoid bone moved horizontally while the larynx height remained relatively constant. In the low F0 range, the entire larynx moved vertically, and the cricoid cartilage rotated along the cervical lordosis. These results indicate that the vertical movement of the larynx comprises an effective F0 lowering mechanism, and suggest that the human morphologies of low larynx position and spinal curvature contribute to voluntary use of the vocal function.

MeSH terms

  • Cervical Vertebrae / anatomy & histology*
  • Humans
  • Larynx / physiology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Spine / anatomy & histology
  • Voice / physiology*