This is the preliminary version of article, and it may contain mistakes,
because you see, I'm not a big expert in anatomy, and may have translated
the Russian terms incorrectly. Corrections are welcome.
The Unknown discovery by a Russian anatomist.
Since the time when people first tried
to understand the process of singing, it is used to consider vocal
cords as the main source for the singing sound. This is however wrong.
The contemporary singing school
teachings are based upon this wrong conception, and the article is
meant to present the contradicting discovery, made by a Russian
anatomist. It is not yet widely known fact, but the conclusion is that
the main source for a proper singing voice is the trachea, and bronchi.
The Russian anatomist Ilya Grusinov in
1812 discovered, that the actual source for a deep and pleasant sound
is the membrane, which is a posterior wall of trachea and bronchi.
Unfortunately, this discovery did not affect the way singers are taught
today, and we only left to wonder how many potential talents get lost.
Ilya Grusinov was anatomizing the dead
bodies during and after the war, and first described the audible
properties of the membrane. Blowing air through, he found it to produce
the sound, very similar to human voice. He describes this best himself:
"Anatomizing the dead bodies, by inflating the windpipe and stretching
the membranous posterior wall of trachea, I have managed to produce a
perfect vocal sound without engaging the vocal cords..." "Human
voice is formed in the chest - in the bottom end of the windpipe
(trachea), by means of the posterior membrane, attached to the
Again, for now the discovery is not
widely known, and did not find a generic application in the vocal
pedagogic. But instead, the singing teachers are building suppositions
and rough assumptions. Still such great singers as Shalyapin and Caruso
did understand the theory very well, and used it to gain the success in
In the 1930-ies a different scientist
L. Robotnov has set a hypothesis by considering the bronchial system to
play the most important role in the vocal formation. He also described
techniques on how singers may use breath effectively by minimizing
physical efforts and maximizing the resonance. As the author's
experience shows, considering the facts above, this is indeed the most
effective practical way to teach and study solo singing. The membrane
itself has a great capability, provided that it is used efficiently.
The great singers could sing as loud as 120-130dB, and we know, that
such volume is impossible to gain using vocal cords.
When the author first read about the
discoveries, he had an opportunity to visit the dissection-room and
carefully examine the tracheae and bronchi of several bodies. Between
VI and VII neck bones larynx transforms into trachea, and below,
trachea changes into the large bronchial tubes (left and right
bronchi). For different body constitutions, the length of tracheae may
vary from 3.5 to 6 inch, width varies from 0.5 to 1 inch. Large
bronchial tubes are asymmetrically going aside. The length of the right
bronchial tube is around 1 to 2 inch, and the left one is 1.5 to 2.5
inch. The membrane serves as the posterior wall of the stack, made of
arched cartilage rings. Its width varies from 0.5 to 1 inch.
By itself, the membrane consists of
plain elastic longitudinal and transverse muscle fibers. The inner
surface of trachea and bronchi is covered by a mucous layer that is
vaguely attached to cartilages. In spite of mucous layer being also
covered with by various glands, the membrane still has enough degree of
freedom to vibrate and form the sound. The large bronchial tubes later
are branching into median and minor bronchi.
Such structure provides the "organic"
organ tubes and elastic membrane muscle, sufficiently strong to produce
bright and resonating sound. It is also necessary to remark that in the
lower parts, those attached to the large bronchial tubes, the membrane
is much thicker and more solid.
The aim of an educated singer is to
learn how to control the vibrations of the membrane intentionally, by
adjusting the respiratory system.
and translated by George Yohng