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January 1957

Male and Female Voices

AMA Arch Otolaryngol. 1957;65(1):7-10. doi:10.1001/archotol.1957.03830190009002

It is an interesting fact that the only difference between the male and female larynx is one of size, and, further, that within each voice category marked differences in size are to be observed. The cords of a soprano are shorter than those of a contralto, and the cords of a tenor are shorter than those of a bass. In this they follow the parallel of instruments such as the violin, viola, cello, and bass fiddle. The larger the instrument and the longer the string, the lower the tone which can be produced. Conversely, the shorter the string the higher the tone the instrument can yield.

Taken at its face value this would appear to be a very simple proposition. All that is necessary would be to examine the larynx and the length of the cords would indicate in which category a singer belongs. Unfortunately, however, the laryngoscope is hardly

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